With the recent Saudi Arabia visa changes leaving some companies unprepared, it is essential to check the countries visa requirements before you travel to avoid any disruption.
Saudi Arabia issues a number of different types of visa depending on your reason for travel to the Kingdom. It is important to note that all of the visas except first time pilgrimage visas fall under the new fee scheme. For more information on the new Saudi Arabia visa fees, please see our previous article. If you require additional support on entry into the Kingdom then please contact our team on +966 11 411 1127 or [email protected]
All travellers wishing to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should have a valid passport with at least six months remaining, an appropriate visa if required and at least two facing pages.
Exceptions are made to the requirements for the following travellers;
A visit visa requires an LOI from an individual or company sponsor. The invitation should be provided in the form of a letter certified by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It needs to contain a visa number to show the embassy that the applicant has obtained a visa through the sponsor. The applicant should attend their local Saudi embassy with the visa number along with their passport and fee to have the visa stamped in the passport. A visitor’s visa is valid up to 3 months.
These are for individuals who are working in Saudi Arabia and hold an Iqama. For an Iqama holder to obtain a family visit visa, they must have either a valid Saudi Iqama, an employment contract with Saudi company or a foreign organization licensed to do business in Saudi Arabia.
A Family Residence Visa permits an Iqama holder to sponsor their spouse and children ( as long as the children are below 18 years of age). However, family visas can only be applied for if you have a valid Iqama along with an attested degree.
Work visa, also known as Iqama should only be applied to an individual who intends to work in Saudi Arabia. The employment contract, academic or professional credential documents, and the results of a comprehensive medical examination must be presented to the Saudi embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country or to the authorities in Saudi Arabia via their sponsor (person or company), known as kafeel. This allows for a visa number to be granted and the issue of the applicant’s visa.
Business visas in Saudi are issued to: businessmen, investors, representatives of US companies, managers, sales managers, sales representatives, accountants, production managers, administrative managers and consultants and some other visitors who are travelling for the express purpose of visiting the country on a business basis.
Business visitors to Saudi Arabia are required to have a valid sponsor in the country, from an acknowledged Saudi Arabia business, to provide their LOI.
Commercial visas can be multiple or single entry and can be applied for 30, 60, 90 and 180 days. They are issued to: managers, consultants, assistants, sales personal, marketing or HR personnel, project managers and representatives of companies. All commercial travelers should apply for a Commercial Visa. It is only valid for commercial visits such as negotiations, investment talks, other meetings etc. Commercial visitors are not allowed to work on any project that is paid work and separate from their reason stated for visiting.