Types of Saudi Arabian Visa Available
There are 5 main types of Saudi Arabian Visa that are available if you want to visit Saudi Arabia, the following sections will explain what each type is and what it is for.
Business Visa to visit Saudi Arabia
A Business visa is for an individual to visit Saudi Arabia to do business with companies within Saudi Arabia, this is normally only given to an employee of a company outside of Saudi Arabia once the individual has been invited by the company wishing to do business within Saudi Arabia. Some individuals also use this to do short term work in Saudi Arabia by making up their own business name as a consultant or similar. However you still need a specific invitation from a company in KSA.
These visas are normally 3 or 6 months in duration, and can be single or multiple entry, try to get multiple entry if possible the difference is only a few dollars.
Beware; these visas must be updated monthly, either by leaving and returning or your host company getting a government stamp, which may not always be granted! If your visa has passed this point then you could be held at the airport and the fines could be as much as 10,000SAR, over $2,500.
Saudi Arabian Holiday Visa
These are now available if you wish to visit Saudi Arabia, however they are available as part of an approved package from an approved travel agent. See if you can find one!
Saudi Arabia Pilgrimage, Umrah or Hajj Visa
For those Muslims wishing to make a pilgrimage to Makkah (Mecca) or Medinah (Medina), the numbers of these visas are strictly limited and are available only through the specific travel agents authorised for these pilgrimages.
Saudi Arabia Work Visa
If you have been offered work within Saudi Arabia then you will be offered a work visa through your sponsoring employer. This visa entitles you to work within Saudi Arabia and to be granted a residency permit or Iqama once you have passed your 90 day probationary period. To be granted this visa you will have to provide a signed and approved contract of employment, the authorisation for your visa from the ministry of foreign affairs in KSA as well as a full batch of medical tests and legalised Educational certificates. Use an agent that does this on a regular basis or you will lose track of what you need!
Saudi Arabia Family or Dependant Visa
Once you have completed your probation period you are entitled to bring your family to join you, the dependant visa will entitle them to a residency permit once they enter the kingdom allowing them to stay as long as you do (you are their sponsor and responsible for them.) The permission is granted within KSA and your family then has to go through a similar process that you went through for your work visa. Please note that Saudi Arabia will only accept true legal marriages, you can't bring your girlfriend who you have lived with for 15 years and your illegitimate children. Please note also that if you are bringing children who are the product of a previous marriage you will need the written authority of the children's father.
Working in Saudi Arabia
You can only do work for the sponsor of your visa and only your sponsor is obligated to pay you, working for someone who is not your sponsor is against the law and could lead to severe punishment and fines. This means also that your spouse is not allowed to work, unless she transfers her sponsorship from you to an employer.
Transferring sponsorship is possible with the permission of your current sponsor but can be very troublesome and not always granted!
Exit Visa from Saudi Arabia
You can leave anytime from Saudi Arabia unless you have a work visa / Residency permit or are a dependant. In these cases you have to have permission from your employer to leave, without this you will be denied exit! In the case of a dependant the spouse is the sponsor and can give permission for exit. Some sponsors do deny exit, especially for domestic staff and drivers, there are many here who are repeatedly denied permission to leave and take holidays and there is little they can do!
If you are leaving Saudi Arabia for good, you will be issued a "final Exit" visa, a full check of all of your financial records will be made before you are allowed to leave, if you have any debts or own a motor vehicle then you will be denied exit until these have been dealt with.