How to be compliant in Saudi Arabia – Visas

Saudi Arabia places a strong focus on compliance for businesses and individuals that are looking to have a presence in the Kingdom. When we talk about compliance, we are referring to businesses and individuals, adhering to the laws and regulations of the country they are operating in. In this article we look at how to be compliant in Saudi Arabia, focusing on visas. We will be covering compliance in other aspects of business such as company set up, recruitment and Saudization in later posts. 

For businesses operating in Saudi Arabia, visa compliance is essential to maintain positive relationships with the numerous Ministries and Chambers, and to operate without interference in their core business operations. There are three main types of visas that business visitors to Saudi Arabia can obtain; commercial visit visa, work visit visa and a female pre-approved visit visa. It is important to have clarity on the difference between the commercial and work visit visas.

Commercial visit visas are issued to those travelling to Saudi Arabia for business purposes; such as a meeting, providing non-technical consultations, negotiations, conferences, exhibitions, trade shows or sales presentations. To obtain this type of visa, the applicant must obtain a Letter of Invitation from their Saudi sponsor or a host company and apply for the visa at the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the country of their residence. They will also need to provide additional, documents, more information on the documents on the visa checklist form here. Duration of the visa and multiple entry allowance is determined by the reason for the visit, and once the visa has been obtained, then the applicant can travel to Saudi.

Work visit visas are issued to individuals who are going to the Kingdom for a temporary assignment. These visas differ in duration of stay and number of entries and are dependent on the reason for the visit. Same as above, the work visit visa also requires a Letter of Invitation from the sponsoring company in Saudi and the steps to obtain the visa are more comprehensive as qualifications and other certificates will need to be notarized before a visa can be obtained. For a confirmation of the documents specific to your industry, please contact our visa team on

Female visit visas are also available for women who are visiting the Kingdom. For a female to apply to visit the Kingdom, she must be a minimum of 30 years old and hold a commercial job title.

Individuals that wish to visit the Kingdom, must remain compliant with the Saudi laws, and with all visit visas there are restrictions. Travelers are not able to obtain their visas on-arrival and visit visas do not make an individual eligible to obtain a driving license, lease a residence or open a bank account. Visit visas also restrict individuals from sponsoring family members to come to the Kingdom or for their children to obtain schooling.

To remain compliant during your stay, ensure that you monitor your visa validity, duration of stay, number of entries into the country that are allowed and carry your passport with you at all times. Conduct your due diligence when deciding on a third party sponsor and ensure that the details of your visa are clear and suitable for your visit type.

For support on visas and information about eligibility into Saudi Arabia, contact Proven on +966 (11) 411 1127 or

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