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How do I apply for a tourist visa to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia?

by Kim
(Daytona Beach, Florida)

Question: I am planning to visit my students for a 2-week vacation in December (not business)from the USA to Jeddah, Kuwait, Qatar, and Dubai. Do I need separate tourist visas for each country? I know that I don't need one for UAE, because I am a US citizen. I only found business visas on the Internet, but I am only on holiday for 2 weeks in December. Please let me know how I can find the visitor's visa forms online. Do I need to send my passport to different visa agencies? Thank you for your assistance. Kim

Answer: It is important to understand that each country determines their own visa requirements and that these can change at any moment without notice. Also, travel visas usually have a specific validity from the time they are issued until you must enter the country.

I mention this because information provided today may not be valid when it comes time for you to apply for the visas. Since your trip is not until December, it is much too early to begin the process.

However, here are some things of which you should be aware.

Saudi Arabia Visas

A passport valid for at least six months upon entry and 2-6 months beyond exit, and a visa are required for entry. Visas for tourism are issued only for approved tour groups following organized itineraries. All visas require a sponsor, can take several months to process, and must be obtained prior to arrival.

In the past, American citizens have reported being refused a Saudi visa because their passports reflected travel to Israel or indicated that they were born in Israel, although this has not happened recently. Women visitors and residents are required to be met by their sponsor upon arrival. Women who are traveling alone and are not met by sponsors have experienced delays before being allowed to enter the country or to continue on other flights.

Qatar Visa

According to the U.S. Department of State, U.S. citizens are only able to apply for tourist visas on arrival in at the Qatar International Airport. If arriving at other ports of entry, a tourist visa must be secured ahead of travel.

Please click the link below for detailed instructions to obtaining a Qatar Visa. You may want to bookmark the page so that you can refer to it when it comes time to apply.

How to Apply for a Qatar Visa

Visas to UAE (Dubai) and Kuwait

Presently, there is no need for an entry visa to the UAE for personal travel under 30 days. You would need a visa to enter Kuwait. Fortunately, this can be obtained upon arrival. The fee is currently at USD $150 for single entry and $175 for multiple entries.

Special Note

Be aware that Visitors who overstay their visit in Saudi Arabia are subject to a fine of 10,000 Saudi Riyals (or $2,667) and incarceration pending deportation proceedings. Americans should request clarification from Saudi Immigration authorities upon arrival as to the permitted length of stay. A common mistake among visitors is confusing the validity of their Saudi visa with the permitted length of stay in the Kingdom.

Visitors to Saudi Arabia should generally obtain a meningitis vaccination prior to arrival.

Also, some of these countries that you plan to visit have very rigid exit procedures. Please make sure that you follow them very carefully or you can be fined and denied future entrance.

Comments for How do I apply for a tourist visa to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia?

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Saudi Arabia visa
by: Nicole

Question: I would really like to know how to apply for a tourist visa to Saudi Arabia? Are they very strict to women travelling alone? Is there any posible way to process a tourist visa in Hong Kong? I am currently working in Macau and would really love to see how beautiful Jeddah is.

Answer: Please contact the Consulate General of Saudi Arabia in Hong Kong concerning Saudi Arabia tourist visa information. You can write them at this e-mail:

tourist visa
by: Anonymous

Question: Are women allowed to sponsor a tourist visa?

Answer: Contact the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for an answer to your question and the latest travel entry requirements.


Question: I am traveling to Saudi Arabia for Umrah from the United States in the month of June 2012 and I am holding an Indian passport. So how can I apply for Saudi Arabia visa from the United States?

Answer: Contact the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for an answer to your question.

Visas to the Middle East
by: Anonymous

Thank you William for the information about UAE and Kuwait. I look forward to visiting my students in those countries. Kim

Visas to UAE and Kuwait
by: William


According to the UAE Embassy website, "All Americans with US passports valid for more than six months are welcome to enter the UAE, and no longer need to obtain a visa to enter the country if the duration of stay is less than one month. This includes US citizens with visas or entry stamps from other countries."

What this means is that you do not need to obtain a visa prior to arriving in the UAE. Visas are issued upon arrival.

The Kuwait visa is also issued at the port of entry. There is no way to obtain a visa to Kuwait prior to your trip.

Neither UAE nor Kuwait require visitors to be a part of a tour group. Individual tourist may enter both countries. William

Visas to the Middle East
by: Anonymous

Thanks William for your information about KSA. I won't go to Saudi Arabia since I can't go on a tour group. Can you give me a direct link for the visas to UAE and Kuwait? Do I need to be on a tour group for UAE and Kuwait? I thought those countries had different rules for US citizens. I can't be on a tour group in UAE or Kuwait. I want to visit my students. Kim 5-10-10

Tourist Visa to Saudi Arabia
by: William

The consular services of Saudi Arabia does not issue tourist visas to individuals. Tourist visas to Saudi Arabia are only issued to those who are part of a guided tour group. Again, "visas for tourism are issued only for approved tour groups following organized itineraries."

Visas to the Middle East
by: Kim

Thanks for your advice William. I don't have any sponsors in these countries. I want to visit my students, but can they be considered sponsors? Do my students have to write an official letter to their Embassy to invite me? I know that my students would have to meet me at the airports. I know all the rules, especially as a single woman traveling to the Middle East. I would be with my students at all times, because I don't want any problems. I teach English to a lot of Arabic students from the Middle East. On the Internet, I only see business visa applications for Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait. I can't find any tourist visa forms. I can't go with an organized tour groups, because their dates conflict with my work days at school. I know it is safer to travel with tour groups. I need to apply for visas early and get plane tickets early, because thousands of Arabic students go home in December and it is difficult to get plane tickets if I wait too late. I am only on vacation for 3 weeks. Any suggestions? Thanks, Kim 5-05-10

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