Saudi visa types
There are several different Saudi visa types you can apply for, depending on your purpose for visiting Saudi Arabia. The different Saudi visa types vary, according to whether you are traveling to Saudi Arabia for tourism, business, education, work, family visit, official visit, pilgrimage, or other temporary purposes. Saudi entry requirements may vary according to which Saudi visa type is being applied for.
If you wish to visit Saudi Arabia for short-term tourism activities and are not eligible to enter Saudi Arabia visa-free, then you should apply for a Saudi tourist visa. Saudi tourist visa applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis, and applicants are not given a choice as to stay duration or number of entries into Saudi Arabia. Normally, Saudi tourist visas are issued as a multiple-entry visa valid for 1 year, allowing a 90-day stay each visit. But, in some cases, Saudi tourist visas may be issued as a single-entry visa valid for 90 days, allowing a shorter 30-day stay.
Please note that the Saudi tourist visa applies to Umrah, except during Hajj season. It is also important to note that the Saudi tourist visa is not extendable. Saudi tourist visa holders should check their visa information and plan their trip accordingly, in order to avoid possible overstays in Saudi Arabia.
If you wish to visit Saudi Arabia for employment opportunities, then you should apply for a Saudi work visa. Eligible applicants should meet a set of requirements, including sponsorship, invitation letter, employment contract, medical screening, educational certification, security check, among other criteria. The application process involves the Saudi employer applying for a Saudi work permit, or Iqama, on the foreign employee’s behalf. The foreign employee should then apply for a Saudi work visa, which will allow the foreign employee to visit Saudi Arabia for 90 days, during which time the foreign employee should apply for a Saudi residence visa, in order to work and live in Saudi Arabia long-term.
The Saudi residence visa allows foreign nationals, already in Saudi Arabia on a short-term visa, to stay in Saudi Arabia for longer periods of time. For example, a foreign employee in Saudi Arabia on a Saudi job visa is only permitted a 90-day stay in Saudi Arabia. Within those 90 days, foreign worker should apply for a Saudi residence visa, in order to legally work and live in Saudi Arabia for 1 year, or as long as the visa and occupation persist.
Saudi citizens wishing to host friends in Saudi Arabia for a short-term visit that is non-family and non-business related should apply for a Saudi personal visit visa. This Saudi visit visa can be issued as single or multiple entry. The Saudi personal visit visa can be issued as a single-entry visit visa valid for 90 days, allowing a 30-day stay (extendable), or as a multiple-entry visit visa valid for 6 months or 1 year, allowing a 90-days stay each visit (non-extendable).
If you wish to accompany someone on their trip to Saudi Arabia, then you should apply for the Saudi companion visit visa. Only spouses and children under the age of 18 years are eligible for the Saudi companion visit visa. Among the requirements for this Saudi companion visa is proof of kinship and a letter from the principal traveler.
Foreign employees and their dependents wishing to travel to and from Saudi Arabia for a specific time period should apply for a Saudi extension of exit/re-entry visa. Certain requirements should be met, including passport and Saudi work permit (Iqama) validity status.
All Muslims wishing to visit Saudi Arabia for Hajj pilgrimage purposes are required to apply for the Saudi Hajj visa, except GCC nationals, who can enter Saudi Arabia visa-free during Hajj, but are still required to apply for the Hajj permit.
Muslims wishing to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah pilgrimage purposes should apply for the Saudi Umrah visa, except during the Hajj season, which requires pilgrims to apply for the Saudi Hajj visa. Please note that the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah allows holders of all types of visas and those coming for the purpose of tourism and visits to perform Umrah during their stay in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi visa FAQ
Which visa is best for traveling to Saudi Arabia?
How long is a Saudi visa valid for?
Can I live in Saudi Arabia permanently?
In order to become a Saudi resident, you must meet a set of Saudi Arabia entry requirements, as well as be sponsored through a local Saudi host for long-term activities in Saudi Arabia, such as employment and education. In an effort to attract talented and wealthy foreign nationals, Saudi Arabia now offers self-sponsored long-term and permanent residence visas for professionals wishing to live and invest in Saudi Arabia.