Do you need a Saudi Arabia visa? Saudi Arabia is a dream destination for Muslims who visit Saudi Arabia for religious purposes. The country is home to two of Islam’s holiest sites – Mecca and Medina-which attract millions of pilgrims annually. And apart from these two tourist destinations, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a rich culture and history dating back thousands of years. Saudi Arabia tourist visa may be required to gain legal entry into the country for tourism. Visitors from different parts of the world come to see the ancient ruins, learn about the culture, and experience the unique desert landscape.
In addition, Saudi Arabia has strict entry visa requirements for foreigners who wish to visit the country. As such, few foreign nationals are eligible for visa-free entry to Saudi Arabia. At the same time, nationals from certain countries are eligible to apply for a Saudi Arabia evisa and a visa on arrival and the Embassy or Consulate.
Therefore, in this article, you will find out the various types of Saudi Arabia visas. And the eligibility requirements for each type of visa and how to apply.
Who does not need a visa to Saudi Arabia?
Before you apply for a Saudi Arabia visa, consider whether your country is among the eligible countries or not.
Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are exempted from applying for a visa if they hold a valid passport or only need an Identity Card.
Who can apply?
Indeed, not all nationals are exempted from applying for a visa to Saudi Arabia. However, nationals from some countries may be eligible for an evisa or tourist visa on arrival. Whereas the rest other nationals who are neither eligible for a visa-free entry nor evisa may need to apply for a visa at the Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the following lists of countries are eligible for a Saudi Arabia evisa and on arrival.
All European Union countries, Andorra, Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Iceland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, Holders of Schengen visas, US visas, or UK visas, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Malaysia Malta. GCC residents with certain occupations are also eligible for Saudi Arabia evisa.
Types of Saudi Arabia Visa
There are different types of visas a foreigner visiting Saudi Arabia could obtain. And before applying for any visa, foreigners should consider the purpose of their visits and the length of their stays.
And below are the types of visas foreign nationals can apply to Saudi Arabia:
- Tourist visa
- Business visa
- Family Visit visa
- Transit visa
- Hajj/Umrah visa
- Work/Employment visa
- Study visa
Saudi Arabia Tourist visa: is strictly for tourist activities, like hiking and visiting famous places in Saudi Arabia. It’s a short-stay type of Saudi Arabia Visa. You can apply for a Saudi Arabia Tourist visa online or in person at the Embassy or Consulates of Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia Transit Visa: allow you to stay for a short period in the country while on transit to another destination. And your onward flight tickets must prove that you will exit Saudi Arabia within 24hrs.
Saudi Arabia Family Visit Visa: this allows you to visit your family members who reside in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia Hajj/Umrah Visa: This is for Muslims who want to visit Saudi Arabia for pilgrimages or to observe Hajj or Umrah. The Hajj/Umrah visa is unique because it is free of cost. And thus, you don’t need to pay a fee.
Saudi Arabia Business Visa: this allows you to visit Saudi Arabia for business meetings, seminars, training, conferences, and close business deals.
Saudi Arabia Work Visa: this is a long-term visa to Saudi Arabia for work or employment purposes. And just like any other work visa, your employer is responsible for procuring your work permit and residence permit.
Notwithstanding, you might be required to submit the requirements of the following documents online, on arrival, or at the Embassy:
- The evidence of your work permit from the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Labor.
- Your educational qualifications.
- Certified sponsorship letter from the organization that has offered you employment.
- Proof of your employment such as employment letter, etc.
- A medical certificate demonstrates your health status.
- Police clearance with at least six months validity demonstrating you are not a criminal.
Saudi Arabia Study Visa: allow international students who wish to study in a designated institution in Saudi Arabia to gain legal entry into the country for academic purposes. In addition, students have to procure an authorization letter for a study visa. Afterward, students may need to proceed to the Saudi Arabia consulate/Embassy to obtain a student visa.
What are the requirements?
Requirements for Saudi Arabia visa application may depend on the means of application for which the national is eligible.
For instance, nationals eligible for an evisa or visa on arrival may need to upload certain documents online and answer a few security questions. Whereas nationals not eligible for an evisa or visa on arrival may obtain a visa at the Embassy or Consulate by submitting the following documents:
- A passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- Visa application form, duly signed and completed.
- A 2-inch x 2-inch white background passport-sized picture. Which should be no old than six months
- Proof of employment, such as a letter from your employer or business registration (if you are self-employed). If you are a student, provide a letter from your school.
- Proof of travel itineraries, such as airline tickets or hotel reservations.
- Hold a bank statement or credit card showing enough financial funds to support your stay in Saudi Arabia.
- Provide Medical insurance that covers your stay in Saudi Arabia.
- A Clearance certificate demonstrates you are free from any criminal convictions.
- Medical certificate demonstrating that you are free from any contagious diseases.
The application process for a Saudi Arabia visa depends on your nationality. However, if you are eligible for an evisa or a visa on arrival, you can apply for a Saudi evisa.
Otherwise, you may need to apply at the Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia if you are not eligible for a visa on arrival on an evisa.
To apply for a visa to Saudi Arabia, you may need to consider your eligibility for visa-free entry to Saudi Arabia. Again there are two other means of application for a Saudi Arabia visa which are as follows:
- Online application (evisa) or obtaining a visa on arrival.
- Apply at the Embassy or Consulate of Saudi Arabia.
Whatever means of application you are eligible for, you will need to complete a visa application online or at the Embassy.
And by chance, you are not eligible for an evisa; you may need to apply at an Embassy or consulate. The application processes are similar to that of an evisa. However, you may also need to submit additional documents, including a copy of your passport and a completed application form.
Applying at the Embassy/Consulates
It is pertinent to note that not all foreign citizens can get an evisa for Saudi Arabia. For example, only 40 countries are eligible for an evisa. Thus when you are not qualified to obtain the evisa, the implication is that you apply in person at the Embassy or Consulate.
To obtain a Saudi Arabia visa at the Embassy or Consulate, you need to:
- Contact the ministry of foreign affairs in Saudi Arabia and book an appointment. When you attend the appointment, ask questions that pertain to the document requirements and how you can get them. And how you complete the Saudi Arabia visa application form.
- Meet the visa requirements by arranging the required documents that become handy. The required documents may include a valid passport, two passport-sized photos, a completed application form, and proof of travel plans.
- Once you have all documents ready, submit them yourself at the Saudi Arabia consulate or Embassy in your home country. You also need to pay the visa fee at this time.
- After submitting all the required documents and paying the fee, you must wait for three to five working days while your visa is being processed. Sometimes, additional documents may be required for the visa application. Then processing a Saudi Arabia visa can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks and a month maximum.
How to apply for a Saudi Arabia evisa
It is better to visit the official website of the government of Saudi evisa if you want to apply for a Saudi Arabi evisa.
Meanwhile, arrange all the required documents before beginning the visa application online. And then, you will receive a confirmation email within 42 hours to 72 hours when your application is complete and submitted.
To obtain a Saudi Arabia evisa:
- First, visit the official website of Saudi evisa; you will be directed to the home page, where you will click on the ‘Apply Now tab.
- Then carefully follow the instructions to create an evisa account. Enter your details to ‘log in’ if you already have an existing account.
- Fill out the online application form with your details and home address.
- Answer some security questions truthfully.
- Upload all the required documents
- And pay the visa fee online.
- After which, you wait for a day or two for feedback via email.
- GCC residents with certain approved professions can apply for a Saudi evisa for tourism. (page is written in Arabic)
Keep in mind:
- The online application process for a Saudi Arabia visa is simple and can be completed in just a few minutes. And there is a non-refundable processing fee associated with the application.
- Once the vis application is submitted, it can take up to 10 business days to receive a decision. If the application is approved, the applicant will receive an email notification with instructions on how to collect their visa.
The cost of a Saudi Arabia visa varies depending on the country of residence and the type of visa you are applying for.
Hence, obtaining a Saudi evisa will cost SAR 440 (appx. US$ 117)for a single entry. At the same time, multiple entries may cost you more depending on the visa type and the duration of the visa.
It is no secret that applying for a visa can be stressful and time-consuming. It may take about five days (working days) to process a Saudi Arabia visa application, and the price is $170.49. Service charges may apply.
Duration and validity
The duration of a Saudi Arabia visa for tourism, visiting, and transit is 90 days at most, six months of 180 days but not more than one year.
Extension of evisa
Saudi evisa is valid for 90days (tourist visa) with multiple entries. Unfortunately, you can not extend a Saudi Arabia e visa obtained for tourism.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Us citizens need Saudi Arabia visas?
All United States citizens require an evisa to Saudi Arabia for tourism. Although there are different types of visas available, choosing the right one for your trip is better. A tourist visa, for instance, may not be valid for business or work purposes.
Are visas open for Saudi Arabia?
Yes, Saudi Arabia is now open for visas for tourism, business, work, study, pilgrimages, etc.
However, citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar can enter Saudi Arabia without a visa.
Can you get a Saudi visa at the airport?
Nationals of 49 countries can obtain a visa on arrival (VOA) to Saudi Arabia. The VOA is valid for 90 days from the date of issue and allows multiple entries into the country.
To apply for a VOA, visitors must have a passport valid for at least six months from the date of arrival in Saudi Arabia. They must also have proof of onward travel and sufficient funds to support their stay in the country.
Visitors who obtain a VOA must go to immigration upon arrival in Saudi Arabia and present their passport, application form, and photographs. They will also be required to pay a visa fee of SAR 440 (approximately US$120).
How long can I stay with an evisa for Saudi Arabia?
In as much as a Saudi Arabia, evisa is valid for one year from the date of issue and allows holders to enter multiple times within a 30days period. However, for each entry, foreigners cannot exceed stays up to 90 days. This applies to all holders of visas for Saudi Arabia, regardless of nationality or purpose of travel.
So if you are planning a trip to Saudi Arabia on an evisa, be sure to factor in the 90-day limit when making your plans.
It’s also worth noting that overstaying your visa in Saudi Arabia can result in serious penalties, including fines and jail time.
Can you get a tourist visa for Saudi Arabia?
Yes! If you are planning to visit Saudi Arabia for tourism purposes, you must apply for a Saudi evisa, if you are eligible.
Saudi Arabia has opened doors to visitors who wish to visit from all over the world with its evisa program. The evisa program allows visitors to acquire a single-entry visa for tourism purposes with a validity of up to one year. Tourists can apply for the evisa online through the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
With an evisa, you can explore all that Saudi Arabia has to offer, from its stunning natural landscapes to its rich cultural heritage. So what’s the wait for?
Hence, a tourist visa is available for those wishing to explore the cultural and historical sites that Saudi Arabia offers.
On the contrary, you can not use a tourist visa to visit Saudi Arabia for religious purposes. However, if you want to visit for religious purposes, you may consider applying for Hajj/Umrah visa. So long as you meet the requirements and have a valid passport, you can easily apply for a tourist visa online.
How long can I stay in Saudi Arabia with a tourist visa?
Saudi Arabia tourist visas are valid for 90days from the date of issue. After which it can be renewed for an additional three months.
Is Saudi evisa valid for Umrah?
Yes, if you are a pilgrim can travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah using an evisa. Umrah pilgrims can complete an application for an evisa on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. The website provides detailed instructions on how to apply for the evisa. After submission of the online application, the applicant will receive an email with further instructions on how to proceed with the visa application process.
Can I get a Saudi Arabia tourist visa on arrival?
Only eligible visitors can get a tourist visa on arrival without applying in advance.
So, Yes, you can get a Saudi Arabia tourist visa on arrival if you are:
- US, UK, or EU permanent residents.
- Holders US, UK, or Schengen visa, which is very much valid for business or tourism, used at least once. It must have an entry stamp from the issuing company.
- Other countries eligible for a Saudi evisa
In addition, a visa on arrival is strictly for a 12months of tourism and can not be used for religious visits.
Although Saudi Arabi visa policy is strict and only permits a few foreigners for tourism annually, a good number of people mostly visit the country for religious purposes.
And as a result, this article has provided some of the various types of Saudi Arabia visas. So, follow the application instructions and the external links we have provided to apply for any kind of Saudi Arabia visa, online or at the Embassy.