saudi arabia visa

Saudi Arabia Visa - Definitive Guide

Saudi Arabia, or officially known as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the home of one of the largest annual religious gatherings in the world. Being the world’s largest exporter of oil, the petroleum industry accounts for about 45 percent of Saudi’s GDP. Along with other industries such as agricultural, and tourism, Saudi Arabia attracts a large number of people. However, to enter the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, you will need a Saudi visa

What is a Saudi Visa?

A Saudi Arabian visa is a mandatory endorsement you require, to enter the country. Unless you belong to the list of visa-exempt countries for Saudi Arabia, you require a valid visa along with your passport. Whatever the purpose of the visit, the visa is essential. The visas are categorized into various types based on the nature of the visit, and the duration and number of entries of the visa depend on them. 

How to Get a Visa for Saudi Arabia

The process of getting a Saudi visa is fairly straightforward. Based on the type of visa required, there are different processes. For visa application information on Saudi Arabia, the general steps are as below -

  1. The first step involves finding out the type of visa you require, and if you are eligible for it.
  2. You must then collect the necessary documents as per the Saudi Arabia visa requirement for Indian citizens.
  3. Visit the website of the Saudi Arabia MOFA (Ministry of Foreign Affairs), and create an account for visa application.
  4. Fill in the details on the form.
  5. Pay the visa fee online and download the form with the MOFA number/reference number.
  6. Attach your visa documents with the form.
  7. Send the application to the nearest Saudi Arabian Embassy through a registered agent.

The Saudi government is extremely strict regarding the visa applications, and as a result, you have to complete the process accurately and genuinely. Any mistakes may cause in your visa rejection or delay. A rejected visa is not something you would want in your history as this may cause a lot of problems in the future visa applications.

Saudi Arabia Visa Types

There are several types of visa which permits you to visit Saudi Arabia. However, the main common types are - 

  • Tourist visa - This category is issued for people travelling to Saudi Arabia to take part in tourism. Although since it has been only recently introduced, only 49 countries can apply online. The rest will have to apply offline.

 

  • Business visa/Commercial visa - The Saudi Arabia business visa is issued as a short term visit, for an individual whose sole purpose is to take part in business endeavours in the country. This can include taking part in business meetings, sales representatives, enquiring about potential business prospects, etc. The visa is normally issued for a period of up to 3 months. However, depending on a single entry, or multiple entries, it might also be issued for 6 months.

 

  • Family visit visa - This visa is issued if the individual is visiting to meet a first-degree family member. For this, you will need an invitation letter from your family member in Saudi, as well as a few other documents. Similar to the other short stay visa, this is also issued for a duration of 3 months. However, the validity is 6 months.

 

  • Work visit visa - For people visiting the country for the purpose of work for a short duration, a work permit is issued. Unlike the work permit, the work visa only has a limited time. Keep in mind that you can only do non-commercial work while you are on this. 

 

  • Religious tourism visa - Also known as the Hajj/Umrah visa, these visas are only for the religious pilgrimages of Hajj and Umrah.

Unfortunately, as per Saudi visa information, the country does not issue a visa for Saudi Arabia tourism to individuals at the moment. This is due to several political reasons, and the fact that the vast majority of tourists visiting the country are for religious tourism in the name of Hajj and Umrah. However, the Saudi government will implement a Saudi visa for tourists in the near future. 

Saudi Arabia Visa Fees

The fees for the Saudi visa depends on the type of visa, and the country you are applying from. It also depends on the visa duration. The Saudi visa fees, however, has to be paid online and not in cash at the embassy.

Entry Purpose Stay Duration Validity Fees
Entry Tourist Visa - Normal Tourist 30 days 3 months 10830.0
Single entry Normal Work 90 days 3 months 18000.0
Single entry Normal Business 90 days 3 months 16000.0
visit Single entry Normal Tourist 90 days 3 months 16000.0

Saudi Visa Photo Size Requirements

As per the Saudi visa information, these are the set of regulations for the photo - 

  • 2 identical passport size photos
  • Taken within the last 3 months
  • Coloured, with a white background
  • Saudi visa photo size - 35mm X 45mm
  • Face coverage - 85%
  • Neutral expression
  • Head position - centered
  • Eyeglasses -not permitted
  • Headwear - permitted only in religious cases

Where to Apply for Saudi Arabia Visa

The applications for the Saudi Arabia visa for Indian nationals have to be made directly at the embassy, except in the case of Hajj/Umrah visa which requires designated Hajj agencies. For all other Saudi visas, the applications have to be filled online, and the documents along with the application form and documents. The applications can be submitted to either the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in New Delhi or at the Royal Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Mumbai by a registered agent. Saudi embassy insists that you submit the application via an agency.

Saudi Visa Process Time

The Saudi visa is generally processed fast. For a good application, it can be processed in about 4-5 days. However, in cases which involve other factors or complications, these can take longer up to 3 weeks.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why don't Saudi Issue a Tourist Visa?

Saudi Arabia does not issue a tourist visa due to several reasons. One of them is the fact that the country follows Islamic culture and laws. As a result, opening the country to people from all over the world could tarnish that. Another reason being that the nation has never needed the income from tourism. The petroleum industry alone is enough to put the country amongst the top GDP nations in the world. Apart from this, due to several safety reasons, they do not issue a Saudi Tourist visa.

Will Saudi Issue a Tourist Visa in the Future?

Yes, Saudi Arabia has announced earlier in 2019 that they will be releasing the full-fledged tourist visa soon. Previously, in 2016, the government of Saudi had announced this plan. Towards the last few months of 2018, Saudi did issue a visitor visa for the F1E Grand Prix. This was the first time the nation issued a tourism-related visa other than that for Hajj/Umrah. Saudi also released a visitor visa for the Jeddah festival set in July 2019. 

Do I Need a Medical Test to Apply for a Saudi Visa?

Yes, you will need a medical test if you are applying for one of the resident visas. However, for short term visas like the business visa, family visit visa, etc, you do not require medical screening. For the residence permit, you will need to get checked for Hepatitis A/B, HIV Aids, syphilis, blood count, etc.

 

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