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Updated February 2024
In line with the objectives of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which aims to boost the tourism sector’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) to 10 percent, the Kingdom has introduced various visa options for global visitors to avail.
Below is the comprehensive guide by Wego about the Saudi Arabia tourist visa, including eligible recipients, necessary documents, application procedures.
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Saudi tourist visa 2024 news & updates
Saudi Arabia instant e-visa
The Ministry of Tourism in Saudi Arabia has announced that people holding a tourism visa to the UK, US, and Schengen nations and permanent residents from any EU country will be eligible to receive an instant e-visa to the Gulf nation.
However, there is an exception wherein business or tourism visa holders for the UK, US, or EU country must have visited the respective place before applying for the new visa.
Close family members of those with the mentioned visas will also be allowed entry and can obtain a visa-on-arrival. Furthermore, It’s important to note that this instant e-visa does not permit applicants to perform Haj or Umrah during the pilgrimage season.
However, for those planning to visit Saudi Arabia for Umrah, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has announced that they can obtain an e-visa or a visa on arrival, among the following options.
For more details on Saudi instant visa, consider going through our dedicated article on the topic.
Saudi Arabia new e-visa program
In a significant development concerning visa regulations, Saudi Arabia has recently announced the expansion of its e-visa program to eight new countries. Earlier, the Kingdom announced a major visa reform, implementing the issuance of e-visas to visitors from 12 countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, and Lebanon, among others. Now, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Tourism has expanded this policy to include eight more countries, including Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
For more details on these visa reforms, consider going through our dedicated article below.
What is a Saudi tourist visa?
The Saudi tourist visa, also known as the Saudi e-visa, allows foreign nationals entry into Saudi Arabia for non-essential and non-religious purposes. It is valid for one year with multiple entries, allowing tourists to stay for up to 90 days per visit. The visa covers tourism-related activities and Umrah (excluding Hajj season), but not studying. It can be obtained through e-visa, visa-on-arrival, or consulate visa options.
Saudi tourist visa types
You can apply for the Saudi e-visa if you are from one of the following countries:
North America: Canada, US.
Europe: Andorra, Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom,
Asia: Brunei, China (Including Hong Kong And Macau), Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan
Africa: South Africa
Oceania: Australia, New Zealand
For GCC residents: eVisa is only permitted to GCC residents with certain requirements, as mentioned above.
The following guidelines apply to the Saudi tourist visa:
- the minimum age requirement for applicants is 18 years old
- underaged applicants must have an individual above 18 years old acting as their guardian
- when applying, the passport must be valid for at least 6 months at the time of entering Saudi Arabia. For US citizens, an extended validity of 6 months after the passport expiry date is acceptable for the application
Additional information regarding the visa:
- refunds are not possible in case of rejection, as visa fees are non-refundable
- overstay fees amount to SAR 100 per day when the visa expires without leaving Saudi Arabia
To obtain a Saudi tourist visa, all applicants must possess a passport with a validity of at least 6 months at the time of entering Saudi Arabia. The following documents are not required for obtaining this visa:
- return ticket
- booking accommodation (only the address is required)
- a hard copy of the visa, although it is advisable to have a soft copy available
The e-visa issuance typically takes 5-30 minutes in most cases. Prior to boarding flights to Saudi Arabia, airlines conduct visa eligibility pre-checks for all passengers.
To be eligible to apply for the Saudi eVisa, GCC residents must meet the following conditions:
- the residency document must be valid for three (3) months
- the passport must be valid for at least six (6) months
- a parent application is mandatory for children under the age of 18
Visa on arrival
A 12-month tourism visa can be obtained upon arrival in Saudi Arabia without the need for prior application. This option is available for countries eligible for an eVisa, as well as for permanent residents of the US, UK, or EU, and holders of US, UK, or Schengen visas, provided that the below conditions apply to them.
- the US, UK, or Schengen visa must be valid and have been used at least once, with an entry stamp from the issuing country
- the US, UK, or Schengen visa must be either a business visa or a tourist visa
Residents of the UK, US, and EU can apply for a visa on arrival in Saudi Arabia. Holders of a valid tourist or business visa from the UK, US, or any Schengen Agreement country are eligible for a visa on arrival, provided that the visa has been used once to enter the issuing country. Additionally, Umrah can be performed under this visa, allowing travelers to experience a spiritual journey during their visit.
Nationals of Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan are also eligible for an e-visa on arrival at any of Saudi Arabia’s ports.
Visa through embassies
If you do not meet the requirements mentioned above, you can obtain your visa through the nearest Saudi embassy. The eligibility for acquiring this visa is as follows:
- the minimum age of applicants is 18 years old
- underaged applicants require an individual above 18 years old to be the guardian
- when applying, the passport validity must suffice for at least 6 months at the time of entering Saudi Arabia
- refund in case of rejection is not possible, visa fees are non-refundable
- overstay fees: SAR 100 for each day of overstay
- a sponsor is not required for the visa application.
To obtain the visa through embassies, the following documents are typically required:
- proof of accommodation
- return ticket
- proof of employment
- financial solvency/Bank statement
- flight itinerary
- complete personal information; home address
The visa-issuance process typically takes 1-2 business days in most cases. Prior to boarding flights to Saudi Arabia, airlines conduct visa pre-checks for all passengers.
Umrah using Saudi tourist visa
The Saudi tourist visa is a multiple-entry visa that can also be used for Umrah, which is an Islamic pilgrimage to Makkah that can be undertaken at any time of the year. Please note, however, that the Saudi tourist visa does not allow visitors to perform Umrah during the peak seasons of Ramadan and Hajj. Additionally, the Saudi tourist visa also allows visitors to explore other parts of Saudi Arabia, such as its historical, cultural and natural attractions.
How to apply for Saudi tourist visa?
If you are residing in one of the eligible countries mentioned above, you can apply for the Saudi Tourist Visa through the official online portal. To begin the process, create an e-visa account using the provided link. Follow these steps:
- fill out the application form
- make the payment for the visa fee
- receive your online visa
However, if your country is not included in the eligible list, you should contact the nearest Saudi Arabia Embassy to request a visa. Holders of US, UK, or Schengen visas have the option to apply for the visa upon arrival.
The visa fees for all visit visas, including e-visa, visa-on-arrival, and consulate visa, amount to SAR 300. Additionally, there is a cost of SAR 180, inclusive of tax, for the new comprehensive medical insurance that covers COVID-19 treatment. The total cost, including the medical insurance, is SAR 480.
Validity and extension
The validity of the Saudi tourist visa varies based on its type. A single-entry visa allows a stay of up to one month (30 days), while a multiple-entry visa permits a stay of up to three months (90 days) in Saudi Arabia. The multiple-entry visa remains valid for a maximum of three months, irrespective of exits and re-entries during that period.
Additionally, recent updates to the visit visa policies have extended the stay duration for single-entry visas to three months, and transit visas now allow a maximum stay of 96 hours within a three-month validity period. Multiple-entry visas continue to be valid for 90 days, while single-entry visas for family visits have a validity of 30 days. These changes offer visitors increased flexibility when visiting Saudi Arabia.
Regarding visa extension, the following requirements must be met:
- the visa to be extended should have a remaining validity of one week or less
- the visitor must not have any traffic violations
- the visitor must currently be in the Kingdom
- a valid passport is required
- payment of extension fees is necessary
To extend your visa, follow these straightforward steps online:
- log in to the Absher platform
- select “Passport Services” from the list of e-services
- choose the “Visit Visa Extension” service
- enter the necessary information and attach the required documents
- complete the payment of SAR 100 fees
- submit your application for processing