Saudi Arabia Visa Information
Saudi Arabia requires a Visa for U.S. citizens traveling to the country for business purposes. Tourist visas have also been granted since 2018.
US passport has to valid for at least 6 months when you apply for the Visa. U.S. citizens have reported on multiple occasions to have had their Visa refused because their passport showed evidence of visiting Israel.
Here we will explain more about Saudi Arabia Business Visa for US citizens and how to get one.
What is a Saudi Arabian Visa?
Visas are a pre-approval granting you access to the country you are traveling to. This type of document is submitted by the country you are visiting.
Saudi Arabia started issuing tourist visas in 2018 and this type of Visa is granted only to selected individuals or groups on a limited basis. These are very restrictive Visas and usually, a travel agency will have to get this for you. To resume, all US citizens visiting Saudi Arabia must have a valid passport (at least 6 months), the appropriate visa, and a return ticket.
If your passport does not meet the requirements, you should think about getting your passport renewed before applying for the Saudi Arabia Business Visa.
There are a few but very specific requirements to apply for a Business Visa to Saudi Arabia. The inviting company has to send a letter inviting you to the country. This letter will be approved by the Saudi Arabia Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The company who is inviting you will know how to carry out such a process. The invitation will be written in Arabic and addressed to one of the consulates in the United States of America, which will dictate where your Visa will be processed. You are also required to complete an application and a Declarations Form.
Your airline will check that you meet all requirements i.e. passport validity, valid visa upon check-in. When you arrive in Saudi Arabia immigration officers will check your documents one more time before allowing you to enter the country.
If there are any problems with your documents, you will have to return to the U.S. on the next available flight.
Visitors holding passports with any Israeli stamps may be denied entry.
How Long Are Saudi Arabian Visas valid For?
Saudi Arabia Business Visa consists of a 5-year multiple entry visa. Non-U.S. citizens living in the U.S. will be issued visas for a shorter period of time.
Validity applies to both the time period the visa is good for and the length of time you are permitted to remain in the country each time you enter. Thirty days for each visit is usually the period of time U.S. citizens, as well as non-U.S. citizens, can stay.
Requirements to apply for the Saudi Arabia Business Visa
A confirmed invitation request must be submitted by the applicant and processed by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (your host will arrange this and provide a confirmation letter) or an original letter of invitation from a Government company in Saudi. It is common for the host to indicate that due to their influence or relation to the Royal Family that this requirement does not need to be fulfilled, however under no such circumstances will the Embassy or consulate office in the US approve a Visa without this document.
The Saudi Arabian government can generate pre-approved invitation notices that begin with either “700” or “8700”. Such invitations can be directed to either New York or Washington DC for processing. You can find the invitation number at the top left corner above the barcode.
Please Note: Saudi Arabia invitations dictate which embassy or consulate the application has to be submitted at, regarding the applicant’s residency. Please make sure to understand how Saudi Arabian invitations can be read to identify where the application must be submitted before you do this step of the process.
Current US passport must be presented to stamp Visa, therefore, you must send the original and not a copy.
Passports MUST be signed and MUST contain two back-to-back blank visa pages (amendment pages are not considered visa pages) to be accepted by the Consulate of Saudi Arabia.
Applicant must submit two identical, color, passport style photographs. The photos must be current and should different than the one used for the passport itself.
Proof of Travel
Travelers must submit a complete itinerary from a travel agency or online booking tool (such as an e-confirmation or online booking) showing where you are departing from the US and what port of entry you are entering Saudi Arabia.
You should know that if you are traveling via private charter the charters manifest should serve as proof of travel.
A signed Declaration Form is needed to apply for the Business Visa.
Business Cover Letter
A Business Cover Letter (BCL) from a U.S. company is mandatory. The BCL has been an original, signed document on company letterhead indicating when, for how long you are staying and the purpose of travel, list a contact and address at the host company, and observe moral and financial responsibility for the applicant.
Please take into account that this letter must be NOTARIZED
The Saudi Arabia Invitation Letter requirement is very stringent, and all such letters must be approved via Document Pre-Check before the client should send in the application packet for processing.
US citizens traveling to Saudi Arabia for business purposes must submit a copy of the inviting companies Saudi Arabia Ministry of Commerce and Industry company registration form.
Declaration for Muslim Applicants
Saudi Arabian government requires that members of the Muslim faith declare that they will not use a business visa to travel for Hajj or Umrah.
Proof of Meningitis Vaccination
If you are visiting Mecca, Medina, or Jeddah, or your sponsor is based out of Mecca, Medina, or Jeddah, proof of meningitis vaccination will be required. Vaccination exemptions will not be accepted by the consulate. You don’t need to present the original, take a copy, maybe you will need this later on.
An online application must be completed, printed single-sided, and signed in blue or black ink only.
- US Visitors holding passports containing any Israeli visa or stamp could be refused entry.
- All visitors must have documents required for their next destination.
- Visitors not having return tickets could be refused entry.
- Transit visas for Saudi Arabia are required except by those continuing their journey to another country by the same or first connecting aircraft within 18 hours, and holding a confirmed ticket. You can only land once in Saidu Arabia if you are getting on another plane within the designated time.
- To avoid any possible inconvenience you can obtain a transit visa in advance.