Are you moving to KSA soon and you are feeling anxious and you are worried about adjusting to a new culture. One of the biggest concerns is usually a culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia because these two countries are very different. Starting from laws and religion to tradition and lifestyle. As soon as you start preparing for moving, the better. Our advice is to start before moving. You can get a lot of tips online and to explore things about this foreign country.

Culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia – what to know?

What to expect after moving to Saudi Arabia? International relocations were never easy and simple. Don’t panic, that is the key. Keep it together and stay organized and focused.

A view of Riyadh at night.

Saudi Arabia is a big country, and you should explore it’s couture, tradition, and history – you might experience culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia

Religion is a big part of life

Religion is part of everyday life and part of law too. Everything is related to religion and sharia (Islam law). After all, Islam was born here, so this country is a center of the world for Muslims. If you are not a Muslim, this will be one of the biggest shocks and differences. You will see a different type of clothing (modest and covering). It is because of religion and also high temperatures. No one wants to burn the skin. Changing the way of dressing will be a culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia.

Call to prayer

Muslims are praying 5 times a day, every day. When the prayer time comes, everything stops working and you will hear a prayer from the mosque.

Makkah in KSA - religion as one of the biggest culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia.

Learn about their lifestyle and religion because it is a huge part of it


Ramadan is the most important month when Muslims are fasting. During the day, you will see a few people on the streets because they are not allowed to drink water or to eat. When the night comes, they can, so the streets are crowded, and everyone’s eating. It is like a holiday. Try not to eat during Ramadan in front of people that are fasting.

The climate shock

The temperatures are very, very hot. Daytime temperatures can rich at 50°C. If you are coming from colder places such as New York, Washington, Massachusetts, you will need some time to adjust. Take advice from locals on how to handle temperatures that high in a desert. They know the best.

Different laws and regulations

Make sure to research the laws. Many things that are normal in the USA, are forbidden in Saudi Arabia. For example:

  • you are not allowed to talk to women (if you are a male) unless you are married to her or it is your mother or sister.
  • Alcohol and pork meat are forbidden.
  • You cannot wear uncovering clothes such as mini skirts, shorts, etc.
  • Women can drive now, but before a couple of years, it was forbidden.

Importing restrictions

Yes, goods can be easily delivered from your home country, but you should know that some items are forbidden. You cannot import the items you want. Furniture, clothing yes, but before packing, ask your company about those restrictions. Don’t lose time by packing things you cannot transport from the USA to Saudi Arabia.

How to move from the USA to Saudi Arabia

If you didn’t choose a moving company yet, you should do it ASAP. Choosing s company for relocations like this is not easy. You must completely trust the company you hired. Four Winds Saudi Arabia is one of the companies that can move you from the States to Saudi Arabia. Research a lot before you make the final decisions.

Desert and a camel.

Travel across Saudi Arabia and use this opportunity to try new things, such as spending a night in a desert

Tips to adopt to Saudi Arabia lifestyle

How to prepare for this big change in your life? It is a big step to take. Moving to KSA from the USA is a huge decision, and besides packing and preparing the documents, you need to prepare mentally.

  • Be open-minded – KSA is a country with a totally different lifestyle than you used to. The key is to be open-minded. If you close yourself, it will be just harder to adjust. If you are moving with kids, prepare your children for moving too.
  • Ask about things you don’t know – after arriving in Saudi Arabia, better ask if you don’t understand something. If it is legal stuff, then ask the embassy or a lawyer, if it is something about the culture ask locals, etc. Especially if it is about law, you can do something wrong, that is normal to you (for example, drinking alcohol or living with a partner without being married).
  • Find the American community in Saudi Arabia – there are American expats in KSA, try to connect with them even before you arrive. After moving, choose a neighborhood with expats and it will be easier to adjust. They will help you prepare for a culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia because they have been there. 
  • Talk to locals – besides talking to Americans and Britains, talk to locals too. You can learn a lot from them, including the language. Make friends after moving, this will help.
  • Explore the country – you can read a lot online, but it is different when you experience it on your skin. After moving, travel, visit museums, galleries, Saudi Arabia has a very long history and many beautiful places to see.


You will experience culture shock when moving from the USA to Saudi Arabia for sure, but, you should try to prepare for what’s coming. Preparing will start before moving and expect to last a couple of months after moving. You might feel sad and nostalgic, but it is all part of the moving process, especially when moving overseas to a totally different country.