VISA Information

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Saudi Arabia Visa Information

A passport valid for at least six months and a visa are required for entry.

Visas are issued for business and work, to visit close relatives, and for transit and religious visits by Muslims. Business visas DO NOT grant the applicant the right to work or to reside in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. All visas require a sponsor, can take several months to process, and must be obtained prior to arrival: visas are not available at airports, land borders, or seaports.

In May 2008, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs agreed to issue five-year multiple-entry visas to U.S. visitors and students. All Saudi Embassies have the authority to issue the 5-year visas, but only the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C., and Consulates in the United States appear to do so with some consistency for business visas. Women visitors and residents must be met by their sponsor upon arrival. Women who are traveling alone and are not met by sponsors have experienced delays before being allowed to enter the country or to continue on other flights.   Women who are under their husband’s sponsorship and entered the Kingdom as “housewives” are not permitted to work and may have difficulty in transferring sponsorship to an employer. Male children reaching age 21 may be able to transfer their own sponsorship to an employer to work and continue to reside in the Kingdom.

Travelers should carefully read and understand the limitations of their visas. People planning to enter Saudi Arabia by land should be sure that their visas are not limited for entry via air. For example, some first-time travelers to Saudi Arabia who have flown into Bahrain and expected to drive across the Causeway have been turned back when it was discovered that their Saudi visas were annotated “via air.”

Visitors who overstay their visits in the Kingdom are subject to a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals (or $2,667) and incarceration pending deportation proceedings. You should request clarification from Saudi immigration authorities upon arrival as to your permitted length of stay.