Kingdom of Saudi Arabia lies in the Middle East and is one of the most important countries in this region. The Kingdom was unified in 1932 by integrating all the 13 provinces to a single country and making Riyadh as the capital. Arabic is the official language, however, English is widely used in governmental as well as business interaction. The county trades in Saudi Riyal as the national currency.
KSA has abundant of oil and natural gas reservoirs. About a quarter of global export of petroleum is solely handled by Saudi Arabia, making it a very strong stakeholder in this regard. It is also the founding father of OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries). With the help of OPEC, KSA properly manages the supply and demand factors of global petroleum market.
KSA is full of opportunities for foreigners however they need to understand all the requirements of visa processing. Visa is required for anybody entering KSA except the nationals of GCC countries including Qatar, Bahrain, Oman and UAE.
According to official statistics, about 20 percent of the total population, are foreigners. They include people who have come for employment purposes or for permanent settlement. The economy of the Kingdom is still booming which offers plenty of opportunities for foreigners. Every year thousands of people apply for a visa of Kingdom but only those are successful who have the required information and fulfil the prescribed criteria. We have crafted this article for the benefit of those who wish to visit Saudi Arabia.
- Business or Commercial Visit
Business people, who want to attend a business meeting, negotiate contracts or any other commercial events seek this type of visa. The request is put forward by the sponsoring company or employer online via the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs which is later on legalised by respective Chamber of Commerce. Once legalised, the Chamber of Commerce returns it back to Ministry. The Ministry shares it with the respective local embassy and the applicant formally applies for the visa then. The fee for this type of visa is SAR 2,000. The applicant can have a stay up to three months in the Kingdom.
In addition to a valid passport, the applicant should have;
- Letter of invitation sent by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (KSA)
- Service certificate from the current employer in the home country
- Service card
- Family Visit Visa
People working in the Kingdom can help their relatives to visit the country. Workers need the support of their employer in this regard who are supposed to provide a confirmation letter regarding the details of the worker. Proof of relationship with the family member, such as marriage certificate or birth certificate, family details etc. needs to be produced for this type of visa. The fee for this visa is SAR 2,000.
Requirements for this visa are given below.
- Visa Slip
- Endorsement of spouse name on passport and original birth certificate of children
- Copy of Iqama
- Other relationship certificates
- Tourist Visa
Persons who wish to visit the Kingdom just for leisure or spending vacations can apply for this visa. It requires no family member or sponsors in the Kingdom. The application can be made with the help of approved travel agents. The travel agent arranges the approval from the High Commission of Tourism for the ultimate issue of visa. It must be noted that tourist visa is issued to the nationals of selected countries and not everyone. The fee for this visa is SAR 2,000.
- Work Visa
Persons who want to work in the Kingdom for an extended period of time should apply for this type of visa. The approval for this type of visa is provided by the Ministry of Labor in the form of various job offers. Workers can directly apply through their local embassy or with the help of a sponsor known as Kafeel in KSA. Once the application is successful, the candidate is offered with a document known as Wakala. After that, the candidate is asked for other documents such medical reports etc. A residency permit is issued to the candidate once he or she reaches the Kingdom. That permit is known as Iqama. This type of visa is free of charge.
- Seasonal Visa
Through this visa, manpower is attracted from other countries to cater to the seasonal requirements such as Hajj and Umra season. Both these occasions require a number of workers such as cleaners, butchers, servicemen, drivers, barbers etc. This means the maximum duration of this visa is six months and after that, the candidate needs to quit the Kingdom as soon as possible.
Again approvals for this visa are issued by the Ministry of Labour and agents are authorised to receive applications from various countries. The medical report, valid passport and professional experience certificates are the basic requirements for this visa.
- Student Visa
Students from around the world can pursue their higher studies in the Kingdom. For the purpose, the University or the Ministry of Higher Education initiates the request for the student towards the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Upon analysis of the request, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs then issues the approval and the student is allowed to put forward his or her visa request officially through Saudi Embassy in the home country. Students who win government or University scholarship can apply free of cost however private students are required to pay SAR 2,000 for their visa.
Following are the requirements for the student visa.
- Valid passport
- Recent colour photograph
- Admission application form (duly filled)
- Birth certificate
- Previous educational transcripts
- Medical report
- Police Clearance certificate
- Resident Visa
Some professionals such as engineers and physicians can move their family members to Kingdom to reside with them. It must be noted that this facility is not available to every worker but to a selected list of professionals. The professional needs to submit a request to the Ministry of Interior of the Kingdom which analyses the request and decides whether the professional is associated with the selected professions. If yes, the request is forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The MoFA finally decide the eligibility of the applicant. This visa is also offered free of charge.
Requirement for this type of visa are
- Valid Iqama
- Confirmation from the employer
- Relationship certificates
- Birth Certificate
- Medical reports