UPDATE 9 MARCH 2020: As a precaution against the spread of the new Corona Virus, Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended travel to and from 14 countries. Countries listed in the latest update are Bahrain, Egypt, France, Germany, Lebanon, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Oman, Spain, South Korea, Syria, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Saudi Arabia has enacted new tourist visa regulation that allows visitors from all over the world to visit the kingdom. This is one of many other steps from the government to open up to the world and realize the socio-economical reforms of SaudiVision2030.
The new Visa process is quite advanced and in most cases it is fully electronic, which means that applicants do not even need to go to a consulate or an embassy in person for the tourist visa for Saudi Arabia
Who can apply for the visa?
Almost everyone in the world!
First you need to know which group is your country part of.
The first group (Group A) includes: Switzerland, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Monaco, Andorra, Russia, Malta, Montanegro, San Marino, Ukraine, UK, Portugal, Poland, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Norway, Luxembourg, France, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, Netherlands, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Brunei, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea, Kazakhstan, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The second Group (Group B) includes all other countries that were not mentioned in (Group A)
Update 1 January 2020:
- All regular residents/expatriates of Kuwait, UAE and Bahrain can enter Saudi Arabia during Saudi’s festivals period through a number of border outlets, and the competent authorities have been instructed to give them a free visa in the name of “attending an event”.
- Citizen of almost all countries around the world holding a TOURISM or BUSINESS VISA for USA, UK or the Schengen Zone will automatically be eligible of entering KSA as Group A. They will be able to obtain their Visa from the airport upon arrival to Saudi Arabia. A traveller must have entered the country that issued the Visa (USA, UK or Schengen zone) before coming to Saudi Arabia. It only includes those who have a tourism or Business visas from UK, USA or Schengen zone. Same rules for the citizens from the 49 countries, who are already eligible of obtaining their Saudi Visa online Group A, will apply to those of the new regulation. Airlines have been notified about the new regulation. [source: Saudi Commision for Tourism and National Heritage @scthksa] This does not mean that Entry to the country became Visa-Free. Travellers still have to get a tourism visa, which became much easier now. Note: if you have a citizenship that enables you to enter USA, UK or the Schengen visa-free, It doesn’t mean that the new regulation applies for you. You still need to go through the normal Visa process as Group B.
For Group A:
- Group A can apply for the visa online throught visa.visitsaudi.com or upon arrival using one of the self service visa machines at the airports or land ports.
- Applicant must be 18 years old or above.
- Passport must be valid for at least 6 months.
- Visa will be valid for one year, it‘s a multiple entry visa that allows applicant to stay up to 90 days in the kingdom. If the number of days exceeds 90, the applicamt has to pay a charge of 100 Saudi Riyals for each extra day.
- Visa fee is 440 Saudi Riyals (includes health insurance) and can be payed in Saudi Riyals, Credit cards (mastercard, Visa, UnionPay, Apple pay, American Express)
- Tickets and hotel reservation are NOT required to apply for the visa.
- Issuing the visa would only take 5 to 30 minutes.
For Group B:
- Visa can be applied for at a Saudi embassy or consulate in a foreign country (Search for the nearest one to you here)or by visiting vfstasheel.com offices, which allows citizens from group B to submit their form electronically. (Update: As of 30 September 2019, most saudi embassies were not aware about the new visa regulation. We truly regret to inform you about that. However, applying for the visa through Vfstasheel was very successful, visit their website for more details vfstasheel.com)
- Applicant must be 18 years old or above.
- Passport must be valid for atleast 6 months.
- Applicant must provide: ticket, hotel reservation, a document, which proves that applicant has a job in their country, a bank statement. Identification document, home address and a traveling route in the kingdom.
- Issuing the visa would take 1 to 2 working days.
- Visa will be valid for one year. It’s a multiple entry Visa and allows applicant to stay up to 90 days. If number of days exceeds 90, applicant has to pay 100 Saudi Riyals charge for each extra day.
- Visa fee is 440 Saudi Riyals (includes health insurance)
- Can women travel alone? – Yes
- Does this visa allow me to visit Mecca and Medina? – For muslims only but not during Hajj season.
- Is it possible for non-muslims to apply for the visa? – Yes, visa is open for all.
- As a women, do I need to wear Abaya? – Women are not required to wear Abaya by law, however, many people in the kingdom would appreciate it when foreigners wear it.