The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been mostly closed off to the world in the past, and the only foreigners who could successfully get a Saudi Arabia visa were Muslim pilgrims, business travelers, or foreign workers and their family members.

However, recently Saudi Arabia started issuing Tourist eVisas to foreigners from several countries through a facilitated online procedure. The Saudi Arabia eVisa was launched in an effort to boost tourism and branch the country’s economy away from oil.

Visa policy of Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has a relatively strict visa policy, only allowing visa-free access to a handful of neighboring countries.

Citizens of the following countries are exempt from visa requirements for Saudi Arabia:

  • Bahrain
  • Kuwait
  • Oman
  • United Arab Emirates

If you are from one of these four countries, you can enter Saudi Arabia with just your ID card.

Who is eligible for a Saudi Arabia eVisa?

But since the launch of the Saudi Arabian eVisa, passport holders of over 40 countries can enter the Kingdom through a facilitated process online.

Anyone who is not exempt from visa requirements or eligible for an eVisa visa will have to apply for a Saudi Arabian visa at an Embassy or Consulate.

Only nationals of the following countries are eligible to receive the Saudi Arabia eVisa:

Andorra Australia Austria
Belgium Brunei Bulgaria
Canada China (including Hong Kong and Macau) Croatia
Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark
Estonia Finland France
Germany Greece Hungary
Iceland Ireland Italy
Japan Kazakhstan Latvia
Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg
Malaysia Malta Monaco
Montenegro Netherlands New Zealand
Norway Poland Portugal
Romania Russia San Marino
Singapore Slovakia Slovenia
South Korea Spain Sweden
Switzerland Ukraine United Kingdom
United States Holders of Schengen visas, US visas, or UK visas

In addition to the nationality requirements, to be eligible for the Saudi Arabia eVisa, you have to:

  • Be at least 18 years old (minors have to travel accompanied by an adult)
  • You must have a valid email address.
  • Your passport has to be valid for at least another six months.
  • You must enter Saudi Arabia with the same passport with which you applied.

How to apply for a Saudi Arabia Visa?

The process for a Saudi Arabia visa application depends on your nationality:

  • Apply online or on arrival (if eligible for an eVisa)
  • Apply at an Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia in your country (if not eligible for an eVisa)

Applying for a Saudi Arabian Visa online

If you are eligible for an eVisa, you have to apply through the official tourism website of Saudi Arabia (here).  The application process for a Saudi Arabia eVisa is pretty simple and straightforward. You have to:

  • Access the eVisa application website
  • Click on the “Apply Now” button
  • Complete the Saudi Arabia Visa application form
  • Pay the Saudi Arabia visa fee
  • Wait for the eVisa to be processed (it usually only takes about 30 minutes)
  • After you receive the eVisa, you can print it out and use it to enter the country within 90 days.

The Immigration at the airport in Saudi Arabia will check your visa before they allow you to enter the country.

Note: There are other non-official websites that offer to process eVisas for Saudi Arabia. While some are legitimate others may not be, so be careful when submitting an application. If you apply through one of these websites, you also have to pay for an additional service fee on top of the eVisa fee.

Required documents for Saudi Arabia eVisa

You do not have to upload any documents when you apply for the Saudi Arabia online visa. You just have to give your correct passport information and answer several security-related questions.

You must give your passport details and answer all the questions truthfully, because you will be screened, and if it is revealed you gave misinformation, you will be denied entry.

The validity of a Saudi Arabia eVisa

The Saudi Arabia eVisa is valid for one year and allows multiple entries in the country. You can stay up to 90 days each entry but no more than 180 days per year.

See also: All You Need to Know About the New Saudi Arabia Tourist eVisa

Applying for a Saudi Arabian Visa at an Embassy/Consulate

If you are not eligible for a Saudi Arabian eVisa, you will have to apply at an Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia nearest to you.

  • When you apply at an Embassy/Consulate, you will have to submit several supporting documents, as requested by the consular staff.
  • You likely have to appear in person, although some offices may accept visa application submissions by mail or through an authorized travel agency.
  • Once you submit the completed application, you have to wait 1-2 days for the application to be processed, although it may take longer depending on the specific Embassy/Consulate.
  • After your application has been processed, you can pick up your visa during the pick-up hours.

Since different Embassies or Consulates may have their own rules and requirements, it is always advisable to contact them first. You will learn about whether you need to make an appointment, their opening hours, and their specific requirements. Find the diplomatic missions of Saudi Arabia here.

Documents required when applying for a Saudi Arabia visa at Embassy/Consulate

The documents you have to submit if you apply for a Saudi Arabia Visa at an Embassy or Consulate change depending on the specific diplomatic mission as well as the reason you request the visa. However, this includes:

  • Saudi Arabia Visa Application Form, completed and signed. You can usually find it at the Embassy or Consulate offices or on their website.
  • Passport-size picture(s) with the following specifications:
    • Dimensions: 2 inch x 2 inch
    • Recent (no older than six months)
    • While background, without any patterns
    • You must be staring straight ahead
    • Your face must be fully visible
  • Proof of sufficient financial means to cover the duration of your stay (bank statements)
  • Your passport, which must be valid for at least another six months
  • Proof of accommodation in Saudi Arabia (eg. hotel reservation)
  • A booked return flight ticket
  • Travel itinerary
  • Proof of employment, such as:
    • Letter from employer (if you are employed)
    • Business registration (if you are self-employed)
    • Letter from your school (if you are a student)
  • Any other additional documents, as requested. See the specific visa types below to learn about any specific additional documents you have to submit.

Saudi Arabia Visa types

Saudi Arabia issued visas for the following purposes:

  • Tourism
  • Business
  • Family Visit
  • Transit
  • Hajj/Umrah
  • Work/Employment
  • Studying

Saudi Arabia Tourist Visa

The Tourist Visa for Saudi Arabia is issued to foreigners who will enter the country for tourism purposes. As detailed above, the Tourist Visa for Saudi Arabia is issued online or on arrival to citizens of several countries.

Everyone who is not eligible for an eVisa/Visa On Arrival must apply at an Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia instead.

Saudi Arabia Business Visa

Foreigners traveling to Saudi Arabia for business-related purposes can enter the Kingdom through an eVisa, as detailed above.

If not eligible for an eVisa you can apply for a regular Saudi Arabia Business Visa at an Embassy/Consulate of Saudi Arabia near you, in which case you have to provide the following supporting documents:

  • A letter addressed to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia where you are applying by your employer confirming you are taking this trip for business.
  • Letter of Invitation from the Saudi company
  • Company registration documents by both the inviting company in Saudi Arabia and the company you work for in your country of residence.

Saudi Arabia Visit Visa

A Visit Visa to Saudi Arabia is issued to foreigners who want to visit a family member in the Kingdom or for a personal visit.

eVisas can be used if you will travel to Saudi Arabia for a family visit, provided that you are from one of the permitted countries. If you are not, you have to apply for a Saudi Arabia Visit Visa at an Embassy/Consulate.

Saudi Arabia Transit Visa

If  you are transiting through Saudi Arabia on your way to a third country of destination, you must have a Saudi Arabia Visa, unless:

  • You are traveling via Dammam (DMM), Jeddah (JED) or Riyadh (RUH) international airport
  • You have a confirmed onward flight ticket a third country within 12 hours
  • You do not leave the international transit area of the airport
  • You have the required documents for the next country (eg. a visa)

Saudi Arabia Hajj Visa/Umrah Visa

The Saudi Arabia Hajj Visa is issued to Muslim Pilgrims from around the world who want to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah. The Hajj Visa is issued free of charge at the Embassies or Consulates of Saudi Arabia abroad.

The requirements to receive a Saudi Arabia Hajj Visa are:

  • You must fulfill the standard visa-issuing requirements:
    • Valid passport with at least six months’ validity
    • Proof of accommodation in Saudi Arabia
    • A round-trip flight ticket
    • Passport-size picture(s)
  • You must be vaccinated for meningitis.
  • For children up to 15: Vaccination for polio and meningitis
  • For children over 15: Vaccination for seasonal flu and meningitis
  • You have to submit two certified checks or cashier’s checks to the ‘Unified Agents Office’ in Jeddah for the pilgrimage services such as for housing at the Holy sites, guides, transportation, etc).
  • For women: You must travel with a Mahram and submit proof of kinship.
    • A woman over the age of 45 may travel alone if she is traveling with an organized group and presents a letter of approval from her husband, brother, or son.
  • You cannot have received a Hajj Visa in the past five years.

Note: Those eligible for a Saudi Arabia eVisa can also use it to enter the Kingdom to perform Hajj/Umrah.

Saudi Arabia Work Visa

If you are traveling to Saudi Arabia to work, then you have to apply for a Saudi Arabia Work Visa (also referred to as an Employment Visa) from one of its Embassies or Consulates. However, before that, your employer in Saudi Arabia must also procure a work permit for you. The process is:

  • Your employer applies for your Work Permit at the Ministry of Labor
  • If the application is approved, the Ministry of Labor notifies the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the decision, who then issue a Visa Authorisation Number.
  • You apply for a Saudi Arabia Work Visa at the nearest Embassy or Consulate.

The Saudi Arabia Work Visa requirements depend on the specific case, but will usually include:

  • Proof of Work Visa Authorization issued by the Saudi Ministry of Labor or the branched of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Letter of Sponsorship from the company in Saudi Arabia, certified by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Copy of your employment contract
  • Medical report issued by a certified medical practitioner which states you are not infected with any contagious diseases. The report must have been issued within the last three months.
  • Police clearance, issued within the last six months
  • Academic qualifications/diplomas

After your Saudi Work Visa is issued and you enter the Kingdom, you also have to apply for a Residence Permit from the Ministry of Labor.

Saudi Arabia Student Visa

To receive a Saudi Arabia Student Visa, you must first get accepted in an educational institution in Saudi Arabia. The school then has to apply at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for authorization for your Student Visa. if the Ministry of Foreign Affairs authorizes the visa, you can then apply at one of the Embassies or Consulates of Saudi Arabia near you by submitting the following documents:

  • Proof of authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (eg. Visa Authorisation Number)
  • Your Birth Certificate
  • Your high school diploma or other previous academic qualifications
  • Medical report issued by a certified medical practitioner which states you are not infected with any contagious diseases. The report must have been issued within the last three months.
    • Applicants under the age of 16 don’t have to submit a medical report.
  • Police clearance, issued within the last six months
  • If you are under the age of 18: Authorization to travel from your parent(s) or legal guardian(s).

Saudi Arabia visa fee

The visa fee a Saudi Arabia eVisa is SAR 440 (appx. US$ 117), but the visa fee can change at any time. In addition, you also have to pay VAT at the applicable rates.

When you apply at an Embassy or Consulate, the fee depends on the country from which you are applying, as does the preferred payment method.

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