Do you intend to travel to Saudi Arabia? Then what are the formalities to be filled in? Find out in this article.
Despite being a world famous country for its economic prosperity and many other reasons, Saudi Arabia remains quite closed regarding expatriation. In fact, less foreigners are likely to be authorized to settle there due to many rigid laws and regulations. However, the country still attracts thousands of young professionals across the globe, especially for its developed economy, various opportunities available there, as well as for the quality of education provided by its universities. Moreover, Saudi Arabia also attracts religious visitors.
Hence, some specific visas have been designed for foreigners wishing to travel there. But you are strongly advised to inquire on all related conditions and formalities beforehand, whether you intend to make a short stay, a professional or business trip there.
Types of visas
As tourism is prohibited in Saudi Arabia, you are not likely to apply for a tourist visa to travel there. However, you can choose among different types of visas for both long and short stays in the country. There are, namely, the:
- business visa
- work or residence visa
- transit visa
- family visit visa
- student visa
- visa extension
- service visa
- religious visa.
Visa applications have to be made at the Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country. But first of all, you are required to register on the Enjazit (Saudi Government's) website.
Travelers in Saudi Arabia must have a sponsor to be authorized on the Saudi territory. This sponsor may be a Saudi national or a foreigner living in the country. Note that you will not be allowed into the country if your passport bears traces of any trip to Israel.
Religious pilgrims in Saudi Arabia will be authorized to access to Jeddah, Medina and Mecca. Note that these are considered as sacred places and are prohibited to non-Muslims.
As regards your passport's validity requirement, it should be confirmed with the Saudi representation in your home country.
Women wishing to travel to Saudi Arabia should first obtain a permit from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once the visa has been issued, the applicant should travel to Saudi Arabia only by air as access by land is not authorized.
All applicants are required to indicate their religious beliefs on their visa application form. Statements such as None or Nil, or even Atheist will automatically disqualify you.
If you have a sponsorship or guarantee letter to travel to Saudi Arabia, you are advised to request your sponsor to specify the maximum of days you are authorized to stay in the country. In fact, the visa validity period starts as at the date of issuance of the visa.
If you are going to work in Saudi Arabia, you will have to produce an HIV screening test result as well as a copy of your clear criminal record. Note that this requirement does not apply to all foreign nationals. Therefore, you have to inquire about it with the Saudi embassy or consulate in your home country.
While traveling to Saudi Arabia, you are strictly forbidden from carrying the following products: pornographic materials, alcoholic beverages, pork and all related products, prohibited drugs, firearms, explosives, knives. Medication must be accompanied by a prescription.