All Information about Saudi Arabia Visa
If you are travelling to Saudi Arabia then it is important to understand the Saudi visa requirements before you plan your trip. Non-Saudi Arabian citizens must apply for a visa in order to enter the country, with certain country’s citizens being able to apply for an eVisa. This allows applicants to send their applications through an online form, rather than visiting their nearest embassy.
As of 28 September 2019, visitors to Saudi Arabia can apply for a tourist visa through an online form to issue an eVisa, provided that they are citizens of one of the 51 countries that are eligible for the eVisa (see list below).
Saudi eVisa: Application Form & Requirements
The online form is quick and easy to complete and requests details regarding personal information such as name, address, DOB, your passport details and your plans for travelling to Saudi Arabia.
There are also numerous security related questions that the applicant must complete, which will determine the eligibility for the eVisa. You must be a citizen from a country that is eligible for a Saudi Arabia eVisa (see list of countries below).
Your passport must be valid for at least six months when you apply for Saudi Arabia visa, to ensure that it will not expire during your visit.
The details you provide in your application will be checked and if approved, you will receive your eVisa confirmation. If your eVisa is declined then you should contact your Embassy to discuss your visa options.
Who needs a visa for Saudi Arabia?
Citizens from UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Oman are visa-exempt and therefore would not require a visa to visit Saudi Arabia. However, other travelers visiting the country will require a form of visa to enable them to enter Saudi. The eVisa is for tourists that will be visiting Saudi Arabia for no longer than 90 days.
Citizens from the following countries are able to apply for an eVisa:
China (including Hong Jong and Macau)
How long is an eVisa valid for?
When you apply for a Saudi Arabia eVisa, you can visit for up to 90 days from the date of issuance. Multiple entry visas will usually be valid for 360 days but no more than 90 consecutive days and no more than 180 days in a single year in total.
Do I need to visit the Embassy?
Applicants that complete the eVisa online form will not be required to visit their Embassy, as the Saudi government have introduced this easier process to encourage more tourism to Saudi Arabia.
However, if your tourist visa application is refused, or you do not meet the eligibility criteria for a tourist visa then you will need to apply for an alternative type of Saudi visa, which will usually require you to apply through your Embassy.
How long does a Saudi visa take to process?
The processing times can vary depending on the type of visa and how busy the Embassy is at the time of application. An eVisa application can usually be processed fairly quickly if there are no issues with the details provided. It is really important that applicants are careful to provide all the correct details, as any error can cause the application to be refused or delay the application.
Is there a fee for a Saudi visa?
Yes, all visas for Saudi have an application fee that must be paid, the fee varies depending on the type of visa that you are applying for. Your fee will need to be paid using a debit or credit card before you submit the application.
How long must my passport be valid for traveling to Saudi Arabia?
Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you are entering the country.
What happens if I overstay my visa limit?
Daily fines are issued for days overstayed and overstaying your visa limit will harm your chances of being approved for future visa applications. It is important that you do not overstay your visa limit and also that you do not take part in an activity that is not granted by your visa e.g. you cannot work unless you have an employment visa, and you cannot study unless you have a student visa.
When should I apply for a Saudi visa?
You are able to apply three months prior to your intended date of travel to Saudi, which should provide adequate time to process your application and to deal with any issues that arise during the application. The sooner that you apply for your visa, the more time you will have to re-apply if necessary.
Can I re-enter Saudi multiple times?
If you want to be able to re-enter Saudi then you will need to apply for a multiple entry visa. The standard visas are all single entry only.
Types of Saudi Visa
If you are not visiting Saudi Arabia for a short tourist trip then there are other visa options that you may apply for, including:
If you are visiting Saudi Arabia for a short business trip, such as a meeting/conference representing your company, or travelling as an investor. This does not cover gaining employment in Saudi Arabia, just visiting the country to conduct work for your employer who is based in the country you are working in.
In this type of visa application, you will need to provide proof that you have been invited to Saudi by a Saudi based business partner or a letter from your employer explaining the purpose and additional details of your visit.
Your application for a business/commercial Saudi visa would be processed through your nearest Embassy or Consulate.
Diplomats and Officials can apply for a specific visa provided they have a letter from their Embassy to confirm their position and purpose of the visit. It is essential that the applicant has at least six months validity remaining on their passport.
For those looking to take up work in Saudi Arabia, an employment visa must be granted. The applicant must already have a job set up in Saudi to acquire a Saudi employment visa.
Your application must include evidence that you have arranged employment, such as a copy of your employment contract, a letter from your employer which must be certified by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, certificates of your academic or professional qualifications etc.
Additionally, you must provide details regarding any criminal records through a police report and a medical report issues by a licensed physician/doctor.
- Escort Visa/Companion Visa(for the spouse and children of the principal traveler)
Where the main traveler has been approved for a visa such as employment or business visa, their family may be able to travel to Saudi with them under an escort or companion visa. Proof of the relationship to the main traveler will be required e.g. birth certificate for children and marriage certificate for spouses.
The application must be processed through the Embassy or Consulate and the applicant must have a passport with at least six months validity remaining. This type of visa does not permit the visa holder to work in Saudi.
This type of visa enables applicants to visit their family members who are living in Saudi Arabia. Your family member in Saudi must complete an invitation request (MOFA – Ministry of Foreign Affairs Government Invitation) to initiate the application process. The invite will be reviewed and if approved, it will be sent on to your Embassy where you will complete the application.
For this type of visa, you must have an invitation from a Saudi Arabian Government Department or Institution. You must provide evidence of this invitation i.e. letter of authorization from Saudi Arabia Foreign Ministry. This will then be processed through your Embassy.
People who are planning on moving to Saudi Arabia must obtain a residence visa. A new residency permit has been approved by Saudi Arabia’s Council of Ministers that enables qualified international expatriates to reside in Saudi in exchange for a large permit fee (currently SAR800,000).
If you are attending a university institution in Saudi Arabia for studies, then you will require a student visa. You must first submit your university application and if you are accepted onto your chosen course, you can then apply for the Saudi student visa. You will usually be required to pay tuition fees and will need to provide evidence with your visa application that you have an offer to study at the university.
You will also need to provide documents such as birth certificate, police report and medical certificate as part of your application.
This type of visa is for Muslim travelers who want to visit Mecca for religious pilgrimage. The application form must be completed and sent to your Saudi Consulate or Embassy.
Travel guidance for visitors to Saudi Arabia
If you are visiting Saudia Arabia, you are required by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia to have medical insurance that has been provided by one of their approved medical insurance providers.
Local laws and customs
Before traveling to Saudi, foreign nationals should research the local laws and customs to avoid offending. Islamic law is strictly enforced in Saudi Arabia and there are different laws in place compared to many other countries around the world such as the UK or US. The public practice of any religion other than Islam is illegal in Saudi Arabia.
There are also public conduct laws such as not displaying public affection and using profane language is forbidden, as is taking a picture or video recording without permission. You should also check the local laws in regards to clothing, and possession of alcohol is not allowed. Homosexuality and extra-marital sexual relations are illegal and can be severely punished.
There are many other local laws and customs that you should make sure that you are familiar with before deciding to travel, to ensure that you do not offend or break the law during your visit.
If you need further information and guidance before you travel to Saudi Arabia, you should check your government’s website for travel advice and they will usually publish warnings if they recommend not travelling to a certain country or area.