If you’re wanting to travel to Saudi Arabia you should know that it is one of the few countries that does not issue any kind of tourist visa. This is set to change next year when the Kingdom launches its first online Tourist Visa for Saudi Visa scheme, which is seen by many as almost revolutionary.
Prior to this, travelers were not able to obtain a Saudi Visa or a Saudi Visa online. Not only is this going to change the availability of tourists who want to experience Saudi Arabia, but it will open a world of opportunity for Saudi Arabia to bring in tourism revenue.
The Saudi visa scheme will operate online. Providing you are from an accepted country, you will be able to give personal details, passport information, and travel plans, and answer security questions to apply for one.
Once submitted and approved, you will receive your Saudi visa via email and be all set for your trip to the country. But before you start, there are a few things to know about travel to Saudi Arabia with regard to their traditions.
How to Travel to Saudi Arabia
Visa Types You Available Now
Currently, if you want to travel to Saudi Arabia you can only enter on either a business visa or one of the two religious visas.
A business visa to Saudi Arabia is a type of visa that allows foreign nationals to enter the country for business-related purposes, such as attending meetings, conferences, or exhibitions. This visa is typically issued to individuals who are not Saudi Arabian citizens and who do not have a work permit or residency permit in the country.
To obtain a business visa to Saudi Arabia, an applicant must provide a letter of invitation from a Saudi Arabian company or organization, which must be approved by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The applicant must also have a valid passport and may need to provide additional documents, such as a business license, proof of financial support, or a health certificate.
The length of stay permitted on a business visa may vary depending on the individual circumstances and the type of visa issued. Some business visas may allow for multiple entries, while others may only allow a single entry.
It is important to check the specific requirements and restrictions of the visa before traveling to Saudi Arabia for business purposes.
It is possible to enter the country on a religious visa to make a pilgrimage to Mecca, Hijaz. Visas are issued either for the Umrah which is a pilgrimage that Muslims can make at any time of year, or the Hajj which Muslims make during the last months of the Islamic calendar (August to September).
Here is some further information about these religious visas:
This visa is issued to Muslims who wish to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca. The Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam and is mandatory for all able-bodied and financially capable Muslims to perform at least once in their lifetime.
This visa is issued to Muslims who wish to perform the lesser pilgrimage of Umrah to Mecca. While Umrah can be performed at any time of the year, it is not mandatory and is considered a voluntary act of worship.
Both the Hajj and Umrah visas are issued by the Saudi Arabian government and are subject to strict regulations and requirements. In order to obtain either visa, applicants must provide proof of their Muslim identity and meet certain criteria, such as having a valid passport, being in good health, and having sufficient financial resources to cover their travel expenses.
If you are a citizen of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, or the UAE you can enter the country without a visa. To apply for either the Umrah or Hajj visa, you need to apply via the nearest embassy or consulate.
There are specific requirements to fulfill before Saudi Arabia issues a religious visa. Here are the requirements:
First, you must have held a valid passport for at least six months before travel and you must have a completed, signed application form for the relevant visa. Then, you must provide a recent passport-size color photograph taken against a white background. Full face view is required.
You must show a non-refundable return ticket to your country of origin and have a certificate of vaccination against meningitis issued not more than three years and not less than ten days before travel.
Finally, you must have a certificate from a mosque or Islamic center stating that you are a Muslim. This is especially important if you do not have a Muslim name.
There are specific rules surrounding Women to which women travelers must adhere too. They are:
Women and children must be accompanied by a husband, father, or Mahram (male relative). Proof in the form of birth certificates of parents or marriage certificates must be shown before the visa will be issued.
The Mahram must travel at the same time as the woman to Saudi Arabia. This is not a country that will allow solo female travel. This can make travel to Saudi Arabia very expensive.
However, women over the age of 45 can travel as part of an organized group provided they can show a letter of no objection from their Mahram.
If you’re not comfortable with the customs, you may want to think it over before you travel to Saudi Arabia. You really have to dive into the rules there in order to be respectful of their culture and way of life.
Again, this is not a country that allows solo female travel. Maybe one day, things will change, but where it stands now this is a very strict destination to explore.
The Tourist Visa to Saudi Arabia (updated 2/21/23)
The tourist visa for Saudi Arabia opens up the country to tourists and promises to be exciting for travelers. It is a country that few people outside of the Middle East have visited.
Its cultural treasures and way of life are undoubtedly intriguing to many. If you plan to travel to Saudi Arabia, then you should always have the most up-to-date information on visa policies, laws, and customs.
Saudi Arabia began issuing tourist visas in 2019 as part of its efforts to diversify its economy and promote tourism. Here are some key points to know about the tourist visa to Saudi Arabia:
The tourist visa is available to citizens of certain eligible countries, which include the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many other countries. The eligibility criteria may vary depending on the country of the applicant.
The tourist visa is valid for 90 days from the date of issue, and the maximum stay allowed is 90 days per year.
The tourist visa is designed for individuals who wish to visit Saudi Arabia for tourism or leisure purposes, such as sightseeing, visiting historical sites, or attending cultural events.
The application process for the tourist visa can be completed online through the Saudi Arabian government’s visa portal. The applicant will need to provide personal and travel information, as well as a passport photo and a copy of their passport.
The cost of the tourist visa varies depending on the country of the applicant and the type of visa. The fee is generally around $80 USD.
Tourists visiting Saudi Arabia are expected to adhere to the country’s conservative social and cultural norms, such as dress codes and restrictions on public displays of affection. Alcohol is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, and there are restrictions on certain activities and behaviors.
It is important to note that the tourist visa requirements and eligibility criteria are subject to change, and it is advisable to check the most up-to-date information from official sources before applying for a visa.