Saudi Arabia Visa

Saudi Arabia


A visa is required to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

At Visa Logistics, we understand the dire implication of lost time when it comes to obtaining visas to travel overseas. This is often due to a communication breakdown, not having the appropriate forms and requirements on hand, incorrect visa fees, and insufficient time to obtain the visa - just to name a few.

Our high standards of customer service and years of experience enable us to support all of your visa information and processing needs. We will answer any questions you have, supply all visa forms and requirements, provide a free visa pre-check, pickup and deliver your​ passport and application. All the while providing you with status updates on your application's progress.

Our Offices

Head Office
5 Helene Avenue, Blackheath, Cape Town, South Africa
(+27) 21 554 7861

Johannesburg Office
Ground Floor, Fredman Towers, 13 Fredman Drive, Sandton
(+27) 21 418 7868

Cape Town
ABSA Building, 2 Riebeeck Street, Cape Town, 8001
(+27) 21 554 7861
(+27) 60 926 7626
Corporate Consultant is Abdul Karriem Parker

Contact Us

Visa Logistics
Cell: +27 82 672 6786
Tel: +27 (21) 554 7861
Fax: +27 86 519 5786

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The Saudi Arabia visa process is something that many international travellers visiting the country will have to navigate, and there are a variety of visa classes. You can apply for your visa up to 3 months before your intended arrival date.

Please note: Saudi Arabia tourist visas are only issued to people visiting family or friends.

Country-Specific Requirements

Applicants from all countries require a visa to enter Saudi Arabia, except for:

  • Nationals of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates.
  • Transit passengers continuing their journey by the same or first connecting aircraft within 18 hours, provided they hold  valid onward or return documentation,  do not leave the airport and make no further landing in Saudi Arabia (except nationals of Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger and Nigeria who always require a transit visa).
  • Holders of re-entry permits and ‘Landing Permits’ issued by the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

All visitors require a visa to enter Saudi Arabia, and visas are only granted to those with sponsorship in the country. Tourist visas are granted only to selected groups on a limited basis, and all visitors to Saudi Arabia are required to have a valid passport with at least six months validity, in addition to the appropriate visa and a return ticket, with all necessary documents.

Due to the strict requirements of Saudi Arabia, women entering the Kingdom alone must be met by a sponsor or male relative and have confirmed accommodation for the duration of their stay. Additionally, entry may be refused to any visitor judged as behaving indecently, according to Saudi Arabia law and tradition.

A visitor’s visa, which is also the category that a business visa falls under, requires a formal invitation from an individual or company sponsor. Proof of the invitation for a business visa should be provided in the form of a letter certified by the Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The invitation will contain a visa number and serves to show the embassy that the applicant has obtained a visa via the sponsor. The applicant can then take this visa number along with their passport, the fee and other required documentation to their local Saudi embassy or consulate to collect the visa. A business visa is usually valid for a single entry and for a stay of up to three months.
  • Official invite from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) The person you are visiting in Saudi Arabia must contact the MOFA to have an invite issued.
  • Your passport with at least 6 months validity.
  • 2 Passport size photographs
  • Completed Saudi Arabia Visitor Visa Application form.

Saudi Arabia business visas are issued to: businessmen, investors, representatives of US companies, managers, sales managers, sales representatives, accountants, production managers, administrative managers and consultants and other visitors who are travelling for the express purpose of visiting the country on a business basis.

However, like tourists, business visitors to Saudi Arabia are required to have a valid sponsor in the country, from an acknowledged Saudi Arabia business.  The proof of this sponsor should be provided in the form of an invitation letter, certified by both a Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.


  • Official invite from the Saudi Chamber of Commerce of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The company you are visiting in Saudi Arabia must contact their counterparts to have an invite issued.
  • Your passport with at least 6 months validity.
  • 2 Passport size photographs
  • Completed Saudi Arabia Business visa application form.
  • Employer Support Letter.
This visa is issued to the immediate relatives of those who are currently working in Saudi Arabia. In order to obtain a family visit visa, proof of relationship, such as marriage or birth certificates, should be produced. To get a family visit visa for their family, employees need the help of their employer, which will need to provide a letter. As with the residency visa, the approval of this visa can only be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia. 
At present there is no substantial tourist industry in the country and Saudi Arabia, unlike other countries in the GCC, does not issue tourist visas except for approved tour groups following organised itineraries. It does appear slightly more straightforward for Muslims to enter Saudi Arabia and the process for obtaining the Hajj and Umra visas for religious purposes is well administered.
If a person intends to work in Saudi Arabia they are required to apply for a work visa, known as an Iqama. The employment contract, academic or professional credential documents, and the results of a comprehensive medical examination must be presented to the Saudi embassy/consulate in the applicant’s home country or to the authorities in Saudi Arabia via their sponsor (person or company), known as a kafeel. This will ultimately lead to a visa number, allowing the applicant to be issued their visa. The visa will usually be valid for the length of time that the sponsor company has requested.
  • Official invite from the Saudi Chamber of Commerce of Ministry of Foreign Affairs The company you are visiting in Saudi Arabia must contact their counterparts to have an invite issued.
  • Your passport with at least 6 months validity.
  • 2 Passport size photographs
  • Completed Saudi Arabia work visa application form.
  • Employer Support Letter.
  • Contract from Saudi
  • Electronic Power of Attorney
  • Educational certificates Attested
  • Medical Reported attested by the FCO.

These are issued to visitors wishing to live in Saudi Arabia, such as the wives and children of those who are currently working in the Kingdom (note that exit and re-entry visas to leave the Kingdom are required for holders of a residence visa). The approval of this visa can only be obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia. 

From October 14 2015, a new resident ID card called the Muqueem will replace the Iqama. This will provide work and residency authorisation. It is expected to be valid for five years and will be electronically renewable each year. 


Certain individuals could be restricted entry into Saudi Arabia. These include passengers with links to Israel and those who do not comply with Saudi regulations, including conventions of behaviour and dress.
It is essential to note that all business in Saudi Arabia is conducted according to the Islamic calendar, which is days shorter than the Gregorian calendar that most Westerners are familiar with. This is also the case for the overall length of the visa. It is important that visitors understand when they are required to leave Saudi Arabia because overstaying the visa for as little as 24 hours could lead to serious consequences.

Women expats

Women planning on travelling to Saudi Arabia must observe certain additional requirements, which may seem rather extreme. Women arriving in the Kingdom must be met by their sponsor at the airport, or they will face problems upon entry. This is non-negotiable.

Leaving Saudi Arabia

One must remember that there are restrictions and regulations that relate to leaving Saudi Arabia. Women who plan on permanently residing in Saudi Arabia should be aware that if living as a member of a Saudi household, for example marrying a Saudi man or having a Saudi father, she will need the permission of the Saudi male head of the household to leave the country. 
This is also true for non-Saudi employees in relation to their employer. One cannot leave the country without an exit visa requiring the signature of the employer; and the employer usually holds the worker’s passport. If one wishes to change employers then they will again need the permission of their previous employer.

The sponsorship (kafeel) system

The kafeel or sponsorship system is known, from time to time, to result in various injustices for foreign workers and travellers. Such a severe lack of the personal freedom of movement would undoubtedly seem ludicrous in other countries. Although Saudi Arabia has not ruled out the possibility of cancelling the system, officials have stated that they will do whatever is necessary to protect the rights of both employers and employees. 

In conclusion, upon entering and leaving Saudi Arabia, expats cannot take any shortcuts with regards to the immigration authorities and the various visa rules and practices. However, if the expat is eligible and submits the required documentation and is prepared to follow the stated rules and customs, whether considered outdated or not, the visa approval process can be fairly smooth.


Mecca, in a desert valley in western Saudi Arabia, is Islam’s holiest city, as it’s the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the faith itself. Only Muslims are allowed in the city, with millions arriving for the annual Hajj (pilgrimage). Dating from the 7th century, the central Masjid al-Haram (Sacred Mosque) surrounds the Kaaba, the cloth-covered cubic structure that’s Islam’s most sacred shrine.


Jeddah, a Saudi Arabian port city on the Red Sea, is a modern commercial hub and gateway for pilgrimages to the Islamic holy cities Mecca and Medina. Resort hotels, beaches and outdoor sculptures line the Corniche, a seafront promenade anchored by the iconic King Fahd’s Fountain. The city’s Al-Balad historic district dates to the 7th century and retains traditional homes built from coral.


Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital and main financial hub, is on a desert plateau in the country’s center. Business district landmarks include the 302m-high Kingdom Centre, with a sky bridge connecting 2 towers, and 267m-high Al Faisaliah Centre, with a glass-globe summit. In the historical Deira district, Masmak Fort marks the site of the 1902 raid that gave the Al Sauds control of Riyadh.


Medina, also transliterated as Madīnah, is a city in the Hejaz, and the capital of the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia


Al Khobar is a large city located in the Eastern Province of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on the coast of the Persian Gulf. It is one of the largest cities in the Gulf Cooperation Council, with a population of 941,358 as of 2012.


Dammam is the capital of Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia. The judicial and administrative bodies of the province, plus several government departments, are located in the city.


Abha is the capital of Asir province in Saudi Arabia. It is situated 2,200 meters above sea level in the fertile mountains of south-western Saudi Arabia, near Asir National Park. Abha's mild climate makes it a popular tourist destination for Saudis


Yanbu' al Bahr, also known simply as Yanbu, Yambo or Yenbo, is a major Red Sea port in the Al Madinah province of western Saudi Arabia. It is approximately 300 kilometers northwest of Jeddah. The population is 188,430.

Mada'in Saleh

Mada'in Saleh, also called Al-Hijr or Hegra, is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia. A majority of the vestiges date from the Nabatean kingdom.

About Saudi Arabia

No other country in the world is as misunderstood as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and perhaps no other country – rich with culture, heritage, and natural beauty – is as worthy of a visit. It is more than a harsh desert (though the sands it does boast include the Empty Quarter, a beautiful expanse of undulating dunes unlike anywhere in the world), it is a country with many areas of beautiful oases and dramatic mountain-tops, beaches and rivers.

There are also the untamed stretches of Red Sea coast in the west of the country, southwestern mountain towns such as Taif, plus the ancient history in the north, where the town of Al Ula serves as the gateway to Medain Saleh, a collection of stone dwellings as magnificent as Petra.

Then there are the cosmopolitan city centres of Jeddah, the Red Sea port; Riyadh, the throbbing central capital; and Gulf-side Dammam, the large city in the east. All feature chic cafés and top-notch restaurants. There are shops galore, from traditional souks to glittering malls with all the latest fashions. Hotels are being built at a rapid clip, and each seems to feature a chef of ever-increasing pedigree.

For the tourist interested in religion, few other countries are as rich in historical sites as Saudi Arabia. As the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad, Saudi Arabia is home the two holiest sites in Islam: The Grand Mosque in Mecca and the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina (although these are off-limits to non-Muslims). The Saudis take pride in protecting the integrity of this holy land and Islamic laws are strictly enforced by the mutawwa (religious police).

To a novice visitor, Saudi Arabia can seem like a daunting place for a vacation, and it certainly pays to swot up on cultural rules (such as women not being allowed to drive) before you arrive. But for the intrepid traveller, this is a complex country with much to offer.

Travelling in a Muslim Country

Personal Presentation

It is an insult to show the bottom of your foot to another person. It is best to keep both feet on the floor.  Modest dress is best for men and women.


When asking about a Muslim person’s family, keep questions general and do not ask specifically about the spouse.


Men shake hands.  Women should wait until the man extends his hand. Pious Muslim men may not shake hands with women.  Pious Muslim women do not shake the hands or touch men who are not in their families. Rather, they might simply put their hand over their hearts to show their sincerity in welcoming the visitor.


Generosity and thoughtfulness are extremely admirable and respected in the Middle East and Arab cultures.

  • If you are about to eat, even if there is only enough for one person, it is considered polite to offer the food. The offer might be politely declined, but it is important to extend the offer.
  • Standing up for new guests and especially older, higher-ranking people is important. Typically, elderly people are greeted first. Men also are expected to stand when a woman enters.

Concept of Time

The concept of time in the Middle East is generally seen as fluid, and many Middle Easterners are more relaxed about when an appointment or event ends or begins, both at work and at a social gathering. Visitors should always be on time or notify the host if you will be delayed because of traffic or other reason. But it would not be unusual for visitors to be kept waiting.

Interaction between Males and Females

It is common to see men walking together holding hands, but men and women generally do not unless they are married or related.


The act of communal eating is a highly recognized outward expression of friendship in the Middle East.

  • Do not eat with your left hand, which is considered unclean.  Also, in many places, it is considered polite to leave a bit of food on one’s plate.
  • Do not ask for pork or pork products. Muslim tradition frowns on consuming pork, and observant Muslims consume Halal food, which involves a particular preparation of the meat.
  • Arab hosts will always offer tea or coffee. A gracious guest will accept the gesture.


Do not take photos in mosques or at military installations. If you would like to take a photo of a Middle Eastern person, especially a woman, ask permission first.


Islam is the official religion in Saudi Arabia, and is the corner stone of the government and justice system. It is based on five pillars:  Profession of faith, Prayer, Fasting, Charity and Pilgrimage.

  • Muslims pray five times a day: dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset and night. Muslims may pray in public places. In the workplace, a room or space is usually designated for prayer.
  • In the fall, Muslims observe a full month of fasting and festivities, called Ramadan. During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset. When visiting during Ramadan, refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public or in front of staff or business associates. Food will be available at hotels for non-Muslim guests. Do extend the traditional greetings of Ramadan, “Ramadan Kareem”  (“Happy – or blessed - Ramadan”).
  • During Ramadan, families and friends break their fasts together at a huge meal called iftar. Do accept an invitation to iftar. It is a wonderful experience and great introduction to family life in the Middle East.

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