What are the visa requirements to travel to Saudi Arabia?


Quick Answer

To travel to Saudi Arabia, U.S. citizens must have passports valid for at least six months and visas obtained in advance at a Saudi Arabian embassy. The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs issues five-year multiple entry visas to sponsored U.S. citizens for work, business, transit, visits and religious pilgrimages.

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Full Answer

Saudi Arabia does not issue visas at seaports, airports or land borders even for transit. All visa applicants must have sponsors, and processing time for visas typically takes several months or more. Some visas stipulate limited entry only by air. Visitors must also fulfill vaccination and other medical requirements before entry. Sponsors must meet women travelers upon arrival, or the women are not allowed to enter the country or transfer to another flight.

A Saudi visa's term of validity is not the same as the time as the visitor can remain in the country, and U.S. citizens should ask immigration authorities on arrival how long they can stay. The Saudi authorities fine, imprison and deport visitors who overstay their visas. Sometimes deportation proceedings take several weeks, and the U.S. embassy is not able to intervene. Although visitors on single or multiple entry visas do not require exit permits, foreigners who enter the country on work or business visas require permission of their sponsors and an exit visa to leave.

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