Traveling to Saudi Arabia


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.

Important information

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.

 Useful links: - Saudi Arabia Forum
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Customs

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.
Recommend Your favourite team
Member since 01 June 2008
Small earth, Mauritius
Write a comment

See also

Business & Social norms play a very important part of life in Saudi and Riyadh is the most formal and conservative of the Saudi States, so these lists of Etiquette is particularly applicable for those who live in Riyadh and may be slightly relaxed in other Saudi areas.
If you are moving to Saudi Arabia, you will probably want to drive. Most foreigners have to apply for a national driver's license.