Information about Visa for Saudi Arabia
IMMIGRATION AND VISAS
All travelers need a passport, with the exception of the following:
1. Muslim pilgrims with pilgrim tickets, passes and all other required documentation (see the section entitled ‘Additional Information/Warning for Pilgrims) for their onward or return travel.
2. ‘Kinderausweis’ travelers, a German identification document was given to children less than 16 years of age, provided that the document includes a picture of the infant.
3. Travelers with a ‘Laissez Passer’ given by the UN.
4. Travelers with a Seaman Book as long as they travel on service.
The Validity of Documents:
Passports and alternative documents, or either of them, must be valid on arrival for at least six months.
a. With a passport that has to be valid on arrival, Saudi-Arabian citizens can enter.
b. With travel documents that must be valid upon arrival, residents of Saudi Arabia may enter.
1. Housemaids or wives traveling either unaccompanied or to join their husbands must be greeted by a sponsor or husband at the airport and they must have approved reservations in advance before their final destination in Saudi Arabia is reached. They will be deported if travelers do not comply with such laws.
2. Information to know for Pilgrims
a. Pilgrims arriving on daily scheduled flights or special flights of pilgrims, irrespective of the season, shall:
- Saudi Arabian Airlines: must join via Jeddah or Medina only, or via Jeddah or Medina only, or
- A foreign carrier: it is only necessary to enter through Jeddah.
b. Pilgrims performing Umrah must have tickets for onward or return transportation (visiting holy places outside the regular pilgrim season).
c. It is necessary to keep a meningitis vaccination certificate for Hajj or Umrah pilgrims arriving in Jeddah, which should be no more than three years and no less than ten days from the date of arrival in Saudi Arabia. A pilgrim who arrives without the requisite health records will either be quarantined or (free of charge) vaccinated at the airport.
d. With confirmed reservations, all pilgrims must have return tickets. Reservation offices for Hajj travelers are asked to add PILGRIM to their reservation messages.
e. Pilgrims, especially those without pilgrim passes, are required to have an ARI cheque to pay for their Hajji preparations.
f. Pilgrim and non-pilgrim passengers’ baggage is handled at various terminals. It is necessary to bear a certain pilgrim sticker or mark on the luggage of pilgrims arriving on normal scheduled flights (no pilgrim charters).
g. Foodstuffs that pilgrims carry are not allowed.
h. The Quadyani religious community would not be allowed to join.
i. It is not permitted for pilgrims to visit locations other than those outside the usual pilgrim season on their way to the Holy Places or to leave the airport where they are waiting for a connecting flight to or from Saudi Arabia.
j. Special pilgrim passes are issued by the governments of certain countries with significant Muslim populations; regular passports specifying legally that the holder is going on pilgrimage to Makkah are authorized if such passes can’t be obtained. In such a case, either a passport or another official certificate must be used to show that the person concerned is a Muslim.
k. An identification card fixed on a wrist band and containing details about their health status must be worn by all pilgrims. This card is supplied by:
- organizers of the Hajj, whether they come from abroad; or
- If coming from inside Saudi Arabia, the Ministry of Hajj.
3. When entering or transiting Saudi Arabia, it is highly advised not to have passports containing any Israeli visas or stamps.
4. Travelers willing to carry out Umrah can travel to King Abdul-Aziz International Airport, Jeddah, where they will request a transit visa from the Immigration Department for up to 72 hours as long as:
- have verified the onward tickets and all the documentation required for the onward trip; and
- not less than 24 hours, or more than 72 hours, of their planned visit; and
- the passengers have already brought the Umrah transit kit from a designated Umrah manager in their home country.
5. Travelers would be refused entry if they do not comply with the rules of entry or transit laid down by Saudi Arabia relating to general conduct and appearance, such as:
- Men and women who express love in some way in public;
- Women with arms or legs or clothing that is too tight or too thin;
- Men are wearing leg-shorts.
6. Travelers arriving in a clear, the intoxicated state would be refused entry and transit. The carrier will be held accountable, and its routine transfers to Saudi Arabia could be at risk if there is a violation of Islamic laws.
7. Female travelers have to be:
- Accompanied by a Mahram who, such as a father, brother, husband, or son, should be one of their immediate family members.
- Older than 45 years of age and traveling in the same age group of female travelers accompanied by a group leader before departure.
Issuance of Visa:
1. Before arrival: Travelers are kindly requested to contact Saudi Arabia’s nearest representation.
2. A pilgrim visa is worded in the Arabic language only. There are half Arab and half English business and traveler visas.
Pilgrimage season visitor visa issued:
- Muslims are unable to get a visitor’s visa.
- A visitor’s visa might not be issued to non-Muslims.
Exemptions from Visa
A visa must be carried by all travelers except for the following:
1. People from Saudi Arabia.
2. Travelers with a visa for re-entry.
3. People of Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar, and the UAE is holding their own national passport.
(Transit without Visa) TWOV:
1. For travelers continuing their trip to a third country, TWOV is permissible, provided:
- proceed on the same or the first connecting aircraft within 18 hours, and
- they hold onward tickets that have been confirmed, and
They have all the documentation necessary for their next destination.
2. Except when travelers are flying on Saudi Arabia Airlines, where a second transit is permitted, only one step-over is allowed in Saudi Arabia. Any change to a travel plan is subject to approval by immigration. In the airport transit area, there are no hotel facilities available.
3. Travelers whose link time is longer than 6 hours and less than 18 hours may be permitted to leave for hotel accommodation or to shop at the airport. If permission to leave the airport is given to travelers, immigration authorities will maintain their passports and issue a transit permit that must be presented to immigration three hours before departure. It requires one colored passport photograph.
1. Valid visas are approved for expired passports as long as they are accompanied by a valid passport of the same nationality. In addition, the visa stay period starts on the first day of entry into Saudi Arabia during the period of validity of the visa, which starts on the date of issuance of the visa.
2. For their next journey, travelers must have onward or return tickets and all the documents needed.
Information to know:
1. It is entirely prohibited for pilgrims passing via Riyadh King Khalid International (RUH) with Umrah or Hajj visas to enter Saudi Arabia. Every traveler will be fined up to SAR 3,000 in any event. In addition, a traveler who does not comply with certain laws may be deported. Riyadh King Khalid International (RUH) departure is permitted.
2. If travelers do not comply with the rules of entry, they will have to pay a SAR 5,000 fine.
Customs and Foreign Exchange:
Regulations for importation:
There are no limits to the import of the following:
1. 500 grams of tobacco or 600 cigarettes or 100 cigars are permitted for passengers, regardless of age; any additional quantity is prohibited;
2. for personal use, a moderate volume of cultured pearls;
3. A moderate amount of perfume.
Information to know:
Until further notice (this also applies to traveler’s luggage), the importation of the following items is prohibited:
- all types of or variants of palm trees;
- all kinds of food items, such as fruits, baby food, meat, dairy products, vegetables, fish, carbonated water, etc.; and
- birds (including pet animals) and live animals from or in transit via Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Germany (only former East Germany), Hungary, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Russian, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, or any other country that has been or will be announced by the (WHO) World Health Organization;
- The following items should not be imported by all travelers (including transit travelers): natural pearls; alcoholic beverages; pork products; firearms or other lethal weapons; narcotic medications, with the exception of narcotics intended for personal use and followed by a prescription.
- It is only allowed to import birds if they are accompanied by a health certificate and an import permit.
- It is prohibited to have the following birds: parrots, live chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, and pigeons.
- The importation of birds has been restricted for an indefinite period of time due to the outbreak of bird flu.
- The exemptions: Eggs for hatching and day-old chicks.
- The importation of cats requires two veterinary health certificates and a rabies vaccination certificate confirming that the vaccination was provided 12 months to 30 days prior to arrival. Health certificates must be validated by the Saudi Arabian Consulate present in the country of origin.
a. Only hunting dogs, guide dogs, and deaf watchdogs are approved for importation into Saudi Arabia. A veterinary certificate must demonstrate the intent of importing such dogs. Before arrival, permission must be obtained from either Saudi Arabia’s embassy or Consulate or the appropriate government department in Saudi Arabia.
b. Other dogs (whether as freight or as luggage for travelers) are prohibited in the event of either importation or transit. However, with the exception of particular types of dogs that are totally forbidden, it is possible for the authorities to allow unintended exemptions from this prohibition. If travelers do not comply with the proper import procedures, substantial penalties will be levied on them, and the dog will be deported on the first available flight.
Regulations on Baggage Clearance:
The luggage of a traveler at the airport of that destination in Saudi Arabia should be cleared, as long as it is an international airport.
- The exemptions: Luggage for transit travelers whose destination is outside of Saudi Arabia.
Charge on Airports:
For travelers departing from Saudi Arabia, an airport tax of SAR 50 is levied.
Place of payment: check-in at the departure terminal, airline, or ticket agent.
1. Travelers accompanying human bodies.
2. Pilgrims from Hajj or Umrah.
4. Crew members.
Regulations on Currency Imports:
- Except for Israeli Sheqel, there are no limits on importing local currency (Saudi Arabian Rial-SAR) and foreign currencies. All amounts greater than SAR 60,000 must, however, be declared.
Regulations on Currency Exports:
- There are no limits on exporting local currency (Saudi Arabian Rial-SAR) and foreign currencies. However, any sums exceeding SAR 60,000 need to be declared.
Other regulatory details:
1. For typewriters, photographic cameras, etc., Customs charges a fee. When these goods are re-exported within 90 days, customs fees can be refunded. It is recommended that you do not put the film in your camera.
2. None, with the exception of garments and personal belongings, may be transported free of duty as traveler’s baggage.
3. With the exception of honey, candy prepared under hygienic conditions, nuts, fruits, and other foodstuffs in an ‘easy-to-open can’ that can be easily inspected. There are several limitations on importing foodstuffs. For restrictions on foods from countries with cholera infected areas, please contact the Consulate.