Saudi Arabia and Medical Examinations

 

Everyone that is sponsored into the Kingdom due to employment will be required to take a medical exam. In fact, if you are not yet in the Kingdom you should be aware that you will likely be taking two medical exams. That’s right. Your first exam will be taken while still in your home country and required in order to obtain your visa. Then the majority of employers in the Kingdom will require their new employees to take another medical exam after arriving in the Kingdom. Part of the reason for this is to confirm that the findings of the first exam were true and correct. That a new employee has no communicable diseases; is not infected with HIV; does not have hepatitis and is not pregnant. Speaking from my own experience, I had to take an exam after I was hired by King Faisal Specialist hospital and then when I switched to the National Guard, I had to have another exam. And this is in spite of being sponsored by my husband since I’m married to a Saudi. It varies on whether or not the employer will pay for the medical exam that is conducted within the Kingdom. The medical will include general physical, chest xray, EKG, lab work along with stool and urine specimens. And not to feel isolated, even foreign spouses married to Saudis are required to get a medical in order to obtain their visa. Dependents of expat workers accompanying into the Kingdom are also required to have exams too. This is one of the few areas where there do not seem to be exemptions.

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67 Responses

  1. The medical exam was the main reason for the hold up of my visa when I accompanied my husband to KSA.
    It was very involved and we had to wait weeks for blood and stool tests to come back from labs in cali. Also, I ended up developing pneumonia when it was time for my chest Xray:( so that held me up too.
    The test when I got here was nothing…just blood, urine, stool and a chest xray. Nothing crazy, and it went much faster…about 30 minutes as opposed to the hours I spent in the Dr’s office in the USA.
    Also, for those planning on comming to Saudi, you may want to get an early start on the process by finding a qualified place to do the test. Find a doctor who is used to doing it. Mine was done in my regular Dr’s office, but he and his staff had no experience in preparing these things, so it took forever. They hadn’t even heard of some of the tests. And don’t forget…the medical has to be within the last few months, so don’t get too ahead of yourself :)
    Sorry for rambling!

  2. Umm Sumayah – excellent advise and thanks!

  3. This is a wonderful resource for people coming to KSA! I’ve been following for a while, but this is my first reply.

    I just received the last of my medical tests last week and am now waiting for my visa. I too went to my regular doctor and found that they didn’t know what some of the tests were. It seemed like such a waste of time, money and resources for all involved to test for so many things that it’s obvious I don’t have or have ever even been exposed to.

    My advice for anyone who still has to go through it is to definitely get started on the tests as soon as you can. I knew they had to fall within 3 months of leaving for KSA but thought it would just be a couple of blood tests, not an entire sheet of tests including blood, urine, stool (ew) and an x-ray! I hadn’t heard anything about what to do from the company doing all the work for my visa and it was about a month and a half from when I was supposed to leave. I sent an email asking what the deal is, and that’s when I got the form. Of course by that time the doctor didn’t have any appointments available for a few weeks so it was a little stressful to go for the appointment 1 month before I was supposed to leave and have her tell me some of them would take 2 weeks to get results and that she didn’t know what some were! Ack!

    Hopefully it all works out now and I will be in Saudi by the end of the month!

  4. Good luck Amanda and sorry to hear of the challenges you’ve had. Sounds like you are now on the downhill slide and almost here!

  5. I did the medical examines and tests before leaving for Saudi but never had to renew them after entering that just seems like over kill to me.

    Amanda,

    Hope everything goes smoothly for you and that your travels are safe :)

  6. I used to work with National Guard Health Affairs expats recruitment for some time back. For any new hires, Saudi included, a Medical screening is mandatory. Most of the time it all goes okay and the Test might seem redundant for expats.. but it’s necessary for the recruiting process.

    I remember we had to drop one case, where the candidate worked locally, when the screening showed he had Hepatitis B which was deemed to be against policy for his position.

    How often after recruiting process do Expats have to take medicals?

  7. DW,

    That’s a good question… I believe employers are required to have periodic physicals but not sure after what length of period. I’ll have to check. But I don’t think recurring physicals should be limited to the expats only.

    Ohhhhh….if you meant after arrival how long do they need to take medicals…. well, I was hired through local recruitment since I’m not sponsored by NGHA and a satisfactory medical was a requirement of my hiring process. Most individuals recruited internationally usually have the physical within a week of arrival.

  8. My guess at why they retest you after entering the Kingdom, is due to the high amount of Fraud in some of the countries that send laborers. For starters most of the 3rd world nationals come on fake passports, with fake docs, and don’t even use their real name. Everything is forged including the medical records. If someone shows up positive for a disease the agencies in those countries have their own ‘doctors’ they send you to to ensure you are accepted. Then once they get to Saudi they get retested.

  9. I’d also like to point out that anyone who has sponsored a housemaid or a driver must also have them undergo a physical as part of the process in getting their iqama.

  10. Iam working in Military Hospital (RKH), all staff whether local or international have to do some blood test in renewing iqamas.I think its a good way of knowing if staff are still healthy to be of service to patients.

  11. there is one exception to this medical exam rule. if you are under 16 years old you do not have to have the examinations done. the night before I had my hiv test done I had been sick and “saluting the porcelin god” all night so I was pretty pale when I had to have the test done the nurse took one look at me and had me lie down. that was my second blood test ever and I have to say that it went pretty well and that the nurse knew what she was doing.

  12. Don’t people going to the KSA need some special immunizations? And what about folks returning to the States in the middle of winter – don’t they need their flu shots?

  13. When traveling abroad there are always certain immunizations recommended and these can be viewed from the World Health Organization. Flu shots are optional. For example I have also chosen NOT to take a flu shot myself.

  14. Even Saudis are required to take medical exams in many jobs. I had to take one before workin in King Faisal Specialist Hospita. Had to take another one before working for Riyadh Bank. Hubby had to take one before going to SAMBA.

  15. Overall I think it is a good practice and one way of promoting preventive health care rather than reactive.

  16. Informative and entertaining. I’ve added your blog to my “reading material.” Keep me updated!

  17. @Nurse Scrubs: Thank you and glad that you enjoyed!

  18. Does anyone know what EXACT diseases are being tested for?

    Thanks

  19. @Arabia Bound – I know that HIV/AIDS is certainly among the diseases being tested for and I think others include Hepatitis. Also the exam is to ensure that an individual does not have a medical condition that can put them or others in a risk situation.

  20. Hello,
    this is shakeel did my MBA i have gud percentage and gud at communicaton skills but i have a problem with testis, der is slight diff in size and i am worried abt medical examinations but my desire is to work for gulf could u suggest me in this regard.

  21. I see that everyone shares the same experience about all the vast medical test to be done. Everyone says how their doctor has never heard of some of these tests. But, no one says how they finally got their tests done. I too went to the doctror and even a lab itself and was told they didn’t do such tests. Where do I go?

  22. My advice Kimberly would be to call the nearest Saudi embassy or consulate to you and ask them for a recommendation on a doctor or clinic which would perform the tests. I have found that clinics accustomed to doing processing for outgoing military are usually familiar with the requirements.

  23. This is a truly wonderful resource on KSA! I have one question for all the knowledgeable readers here. My husband and I may be moving to Saudi Arabia next year and we’re also thinking of starting a family. Would anyone know what happens if a woman is pregnant at the time of the initial medical exam and cannot have the X-rays taken? The main visa applicant will be my husband, not me anyways. Thanks in advance for any advice!

  24. Thanks a lot. Would you like to send me a set of questions paper of KSA licencing exam.IT will help me for my preparation. I want to appear next february as a GP

  25. hi….i did my pharm-D 4rm pakistan……..my blood report said that i have HCV positive bt PCR report said that i didnt have hepatitis……kindly tell me can i apply 4 visa?

  26. Are they considering leukoderma(depigmentation of skin) a decease which is enough for rejecting visa for Saudi ?

  27. Hi all,

    I’m supposed to be moving to Saudi by end of next month. My husband is a German and has been working in a German company in Riyadh since early January this year and he got an Iqama. A serious problem came as I took a medical check-up here in Germany. The blood test gave me a result that I am a HBV carrier. Could anyone inform me whether I still can get visa/residence permit? In case I managed to enter the country, will they deport me if they found out my hepatitis test is “POSITIVE?”. If yes, do I have to be in quarantine or escorted by policed during the deportation. I’m sorry, my last questions might sound silly, but I read too much forums regarding this matter and I am really afraid to be deported. Thank you so much in advance and any answer will be appreciated.

  28. @Yappler – I do not have an answer to your question. What I would suggest is that your husband check with his human resources department in Saudi. Alternately, you could contact the nearest Saudi embassy and inquire with their consular section.

    good luck!

  29. @American Bedu: Thank you so much for your advice. I will try to contact Saudi Embassy to get some information. Again, many thanks.

  30. You’re welcome, Yappler.

  31. Hi,
    i will be moving to saudi arabia. i want to know if my blood result shows
    HCV, will there be any problem.

  32. hi ,

    i am an xray technician here in jeddah. I would like to ask if there wil be a problem of getting my husband a spouse visa considering His medical condition (scar on his lung). thank you.

  33. hi there,

    My husband went for a medical exam for saudi as part of their processing. All his blood tests are normal. No communicable diseases. The only thing that the doctor questioned was his chest Xray, they found a small “dot” which they said they were not sure about. For this reason, this particular doctor cannot sign off my husband.. now Im really confused? if this is not something to worry about then why are they giving him a go signal?

  34. @Graal,

    I am not sure if I understood your comment properly. Are you saying that in spite of a small “dot” seen on the chest x-ray your husband has been medically cleared to travel to Saudi Arabia?

    Regardless, I would suggest seeing another doctor to get a second opinion on identification and significance of the “small dot.” One should never take chances with health!

  35. @american Bedu.. thank u for your advise. I meant my husband was not cleared for his medical exam because of of this “small dot” on his lungs. They just told him that he cannot travel to any arab countries? This is what i dont understand.. they dont even know what is it nor can support their rejection by his blood results. anyway, he trying to get a second opinion now ..

  36. @Graal,

    I can understand your confusion. I am NOT a medical professional but it sounds like there is some “anomaly” on the xray which prohibits the clearing physician from declaring your husband medically fit. Sadly, if the physician’s contract is solely to declare individuals cleared or not, he may not be in a position to provide further information. I’m very glad to hear your husband is getting a second opinion.

    All the best, Carol

  37. . I am going to join a govt. university in KSA shortly as a faculty.

    does any one know whether a person who has gilbert syndrome (slightly high bilirubin and sgpt) can work at Saudi govt. university. I do not have any other disease,

    PLEASE HELP

    anxious

  38. Sayed Karim – I wanted to acknowledge your comment but I apologize in that I do not have the answer to your question. I hope someone with more knowledge can answer you.

  39. Hi, I wanted to apply as a Nurse in Saudi. I would like to know what are the possible medical exams that should be undertaken before leaving. Thank You.

  40. If I may comment @ hopefully nurse.. I think almost everything! I mean all blood tests, like CBC blood typing, coag, renal, liver profiles and obviously all tests that will detect communicable/infectious diseases from blood, urine, and stool. and chest X-ray. To get more accurate details, maybe its better for you to ask your agency. Otherwise nothing to worry about if you think your healthy. Goodluck!

  41. @ graal.. do you know what do they test for iqaama after arrival in KSA

  42. I know they test again for HIV/Aids, Heptatis, pregnancy if a woman and a few other other tests with escape my memory at the moment.

  43. what if you’ll be working in ksa & your vision is 20/70 would it be ok?thanx

  44. Just wanted to get some information… Tht myself I got scoliosis in ths case if I go fr a medical test to apply fr employment or job visa do u thnk is thr any chances tht thy will unfit me… Pls if u got any personal knwldge on ths do let me knw

  45. Salman,

    I am not an expert so can not offer a valid opinion to your query.

    Cha,

    Your vision impairment would depend on the job you are performing. Can your vision be corrected?

  46. hi i want to ask are there cases of scoliosis applying for saudi can be given fit to work with their medical exam?

  47. Zumba,

    I do not know what scoliosis is and therefore am not qualified to answer. The local Saudi embassy in your area can probably tell you.

  48. I’ve problm of testicles,one is lagging behind the other. What i’ve to do,i want to work in Saudi

  49. I think depending on what type of position you are applying for, that should not be an issue…but I am NOT a medical expert.

    On Thu, Dec 20, 2012 at 3:47 PM, American Bedu

  50. I am in the process of finding a job in Saudi and I am worried about the medicals not because I have diseases but I might be pregnant; one month roughly (recent discovery). Will that ruin my chances of being offered a job? I have submitted all the documents with my application and the agents reckons I have a better chance of getting a job. Anyone has heard of anyone being turned down because they are pregnant? Even early stage pregnancy?

  51. Hi Matilda,

    It may depend on circumstances and the type of job for which you have applied. Are you married? Is your offer for a married or a single contract? What type of work? I’m sorry that I can not give you a clear defined answer.

  52. I am in the process of finding a job in Saudia but i got a problem that in my lab test i found non reactive virus of Hepatitis B.Dr said me that no need of treatment.this virus is not active n not communicable i cleared all other test.but i am worried about this non reactive virus.its still in my body.n i heard that there is no cure to this.

  53. Hi yappler. I was wondering if you ever did get a visa to Saudi. My situation is kind of the same as yours. My husband is offered a job in KSA and we are deciding whether to accept or not. It all depends on whether I’m given a visa since I am a hep B carrier. Hope to hear from you. Thanks!

  54. hi yappler and pula. i am in the same situation that the 2 of you. i would be grateful to you if you could report whether you have gotten the visa or not, in the end. thank you?

  55. I just got my medical result for Iqama renewal recently, the result was HBs Ag positive, how it will affect the renewal of my iqama?

  56. Do you know if Herpes is tested for in the medical exams in the UK and then more importantly in Saudi? Would they deny the visa/iqamah because of it? I have just found out I have it and that means my husband must also have it.

    Please advise – its stressing us out!

  57. I am not an expert on this matter but depending on what type of position you or your husband will hold, one of you would likely have to undergo another medical in Saudi….if the one in the UK which indicates herpes does not disqualify one from employment. Because herpes is a type of STD it could impact on employment.

    On Thu, Mar 14, 2013 at 1:17 PM, American Bedu wrote:

    > ** > Umm Sulaim commented: “Do you know if Herpes is tested for in the > medical exams in the UK and then more importantly in Saudi? Would they deny > the visa/iqamah because of it? I have just found out I have it and that > means my husband must also have it. Please advise – its stres” >

  58. Jzk for your response. He will be working as a teacher and I will be his dependent. There does not seem to be clear information on this. We have just found this out and from what we have learnt and heard from our GP this is very common and most people dont even know they have it. Would be very surprising if Saudi didnt grant an iqamah due to this but I will try finding out more in sha Allah.

  59. i have groin scolosis …and i have got a job offer frm saudi arabia ..so do u think i can go thrgh medical test ..is thr any chances of passng it …plz do reply

  60. Sohail,

    I hope that someone with more knowledge than me can respond on this topic. I truly don’t know.

  61. i will be going under a spousal visa I am american already got my visa acceptance. do they drug test? for marijuana?

  62. Hi, delighted I found your web page. Very informative. Could you please tell me -is it mandatory to complete a 2nd medical (having already completed one at home) to get the iqama? Or is it at the discretion of the employer? And if it is at the enployer’s discretion can they just say that they are satisfied that the employee is medically fit and they don’t require him to do a second medical and hence apply for the iqama?

  63. I am going to KSA
    does any know who many bilirubin required for work at Saudi.

    PLEASE HELP

  64. Great thread very interesting info. It’s very possible that I may get a job offer in KSA. Anyone heard of someone with MS getting denied a visa or is it just transmittable diseases that are of concern? Thanks!

  65. When is the medical exam before going to saudi arabia? or applying for visa. Thanks

  66. How long is the validity of the medical exam? I had all my test results in 9-months back. Can I apply for a work Visa using these results? Many Thanks.

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