Three Countries Oil & Gas Companies Need Work Visas For the Most

The global oil and gas industry is the driving force behind much of the world’s economic activity and energy production, employing millions of people worldwide. Oil and gas companies routinely send skilled workers abroad to support their international projects, whether drilling, production, or otherwise. Thus, obtaining the correct work visas and immigration documentation is crucial for ensuring these projects progress smoothly and compliantly.

 

The concentration of major energy reserves in regions like the Middle East and Asia means work visas in these regions are increasingly in demand. However, while each nation has unique and often complex visa requirements, there are some that oil and gas workers need to procure much more often. And navigating the specific immigration requirements, document requests, and processing timelines can present significant challenges for companies and individuals. 

 

Indeed, major projects often hinge on the timely mobilization of skilled labor, so reliable visa and immigration services have become an integral part of the industry’s operational landscape. 

 

We’ll discuss some of the countries where oil and gas workers are in the highest demand, why obtaining work visas for these countries can be complex, and how to navigate these issues to avoid delays. 

 

 

Popular countries for oil and gas work assignments

Even with the green energy boom, global oil demand remains on track to cross the 100 mbpd (thousands of barrels per day) mark for the first time in history. Looking at the data from working with our oil and gas clients, we see that those working in this sector are in increasingly high demand, especially in those countries that are currently experiencing rapid development. 

 

Whether that’s for long or short-term oil and gas assignments, here are the top three countries that we are helping obtain work and business travel visas for oil and gas companies.

 

 

Saudi Arabia / KSA

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a heavyweight in the global energy landscape. It has the world’s largest proven crude oil reserves and ranks as a leading producer and exporter. The kingdom’s oil and gas industry is the backbone of its economy, spurring growth across numerous sectors.

 

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has implemented an ambitious economic reform plan, Vision 2030, aimed at diversifying its economy and reducing dependence on hydrocarbons. This national transformation has opened doors for increased foreign investment and business travel as the kingdom modernizes and expands non-oil industries.

 

Despite these diversification efforts, the oil and gas sector remains a cornerstone, with ongoing mega-projects like the Marjan and Berri field expansions driving demand for specialized labor and expertise. Saudi Arabia has a very specific legalization process for diplomas, so it’s essential for oil and gas companies to look into these rules to secure proper work visas for their international workforce.

 

 

Kuwait

As a smaller but affluent Gulf nation, Kuwait punches above its weight in the energy sector. It’s a leading OPEC producer and holds approximately 7% of the world’s proven crude oil reserves. The oil and gas industry is the pillar of Kuwait’s economy, contributing a significant portion of its GDP and government revenues.

 

In recent years, Kuwait has sought to ramp up oil production and invest in developing its northern fields, leading to increased demand for skilled foreign workers in the energy sector. Stringent visa regulations and sponsorship requirements make it crucial for oil and gas companies to navigate Kuwait’s immigration landscape compliantly.

 

 

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

The UAE, particularly Abu Dhabi, has firmly established itself as a global energy hub. Beyond its substantial oil and gas reserves, the UAE is a major player in refining, petrochemicals, and emerging sectors like renewable energy and is among the world’s ten largest oil producers.

 

The nation’s business-friendly policies, strategic geographic location, and ambitious economic diversification efforts have spurred immense growth across various industries, including oil and gas. Major projects like the offshore Ghasha Concession and Ruwais Industrial Complex continue to drive demand for international expertise and specialized labor. The UAE has complex visa requirements, particularly with accepted qualifications and sponsorship, making it difficult for even well-established oil and gas businesses to remain compliant.

 

While Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE represent our top destinations for oil and gas visa requests, we’ve also facilitated visas for industry-related activities in countries like South Korea, Canada, China, and others. The reach of the oil and gas sector is truly global, necessitating reliable visa and immigration services worldwide.

 

 

Navigating work visa requirements for oil and gas workers

Obtaining work visas for oil and gas assignments is rarely a straightforward process. These specialized roles often involve stringent qualification criteria, extensive documentation, translation, and other requirements that can quickly become overwhelming for companies to manage independently. 

These are some of the hurdles that our clients usually run into when navigating business visas:

 

Credential procurement and legalization

One common hurdle is diploma and other credential evaluation. Many host nations mandate a rigorous vetting process to ensure foreign workers possess the necessary skills, experience, and qualifications to perform their designated tasks safely and competently. This may involve submitting academic transcripts, professional certifications, and employment histories for third-party evaluation and verification. These will need to be legalized, often need to be translated by a certified translator, and may also need to be approved by local authorities — such as in Saudi Arabia

 

The process can also change depending on whether that country is a member of the Hague Convention or a Non-Hague Convention country

 

Third-country nationals 

Matters can be further complicated when deploying third-country nationals — foreign workers without citizenship or permanent residency status in the nation where the oil and gas project is located. In such cases, document procurement and visa acquisition typically involve a multi-step process, with the employee first securing proper documentation from their home country before applying for the host nation’s work visa. 

 

Medical and police clearances

In addition to document procurement and legalization, visa applicants may still face additional requirements like comprehensive medical examinations and police clearance certificates. These documents frequently demand precise formatting, translation into the host country’s language, and a complex legalization process involving governmental authentication at various levels.


The sheer volume of documentation and the potential for shifting regulations or unforeseen delays can quickly derail visa acquisition timelines. A minor oversight can cause lengthy delays or even visa denial, impacting project schedules, revenue, and contractual obligations.

 

This is why many companies choose to partner with an experienced visa and immigration services provider that is well-versed in the oil and gas sector’s unique requirements. As the industry continues to globalize its workforce, companies are recognizing the importance of working with an expert document partner who can help navigate the bureaucracy of immigrant visas. 

 

A trusted partner who is used to liaising with embassies and consulates, with feet on the ground and one point of contact, can be invaluable. Whether that involved going to the embassy in another country to collect a document or handling translation and police checks.

 

 

Lex Documents can help procure work visas for oil and gas clients

If you’re an oil and gas company that deploys skilled workers in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, or internationally, Lex Documents can handle document procurement, legalization, translation, and liaise with embassies and consulates. This means wherever you are and wherever you need to go, the entire work visa process will be taken care of with one point of contact.

 

We have offices and staff across Europe, North America, and Latin America, and we have expertise in international administration and local and international document management for immigration and global mobility needs. 

 
Contact us to learn how our globally connected service can help you with your oil and gas visa and documentation needs, ensuring a smooth and successful application process.

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