Saudi Arabia Entry Requirements
Visitors to Saudi Arabia must have a passport with six months of
validity and a visa. Visas are not available at airports or sea ports,
and must be obtained before arriving in the country. Visitors must have
a sponsor in Saudi Arabia in order to obtain a visa. U.S. citizens
traveling to Saudi Arabia for tourism or study should be issued a five
year multiple-entry visa, but Saudi embassies and consulates outside
the United States may not issue five year visas.
Some travelers have reported that an Israeli entry stamp or having been
born in Israel has resulted in denial of their visa application. Female
travelers or residents of Saudi Arabia must be met by their sponsor
when they arrive, or risk significant delays.
Women and children who reside in Saudi
Arabia may not leave the country without permission from the Saudi mal
considered to be their "head of household". This regulation applies to
U.S. citizens who marry Saudi men, or who are the children of Saudi
father and themselves unmarried. The U.S. Embassy
can attempt to intercede on behalf of U.S. citizens, but may not be
successful. Children born to Saudi fathers and mother who are U.S.
citizens must have their father's permission to travel, as must all
male children of Saudi fathers until they reach 21 years of age.
In 2008, Saudi Arabia passed a regulation requiring all Saudi
men who marry foreign women to grant her and any future children the
right to leave the country freely. Men are supposed to sign this
document directly after marriage, but unfortunately the authorities
rarely enforce this regulation. Furthermore, the document may not be
signed retroactively to grant this permission to women who were married
prior to 2008. Foreigners may not leave the country with any children
born in Saudi Arabia, even if they are divorced and have been granted
Saudi visas are valid for a certain period of time, which may differ
from the dates that visitors are permitted to remain in the country.
Travelers are encouraged to check with the authorities to make sure
they understand the dates for their visit. Visitors who overstay their
visa may be fined, or face incarceration. Fines for overstaying one's
visa can be as high as USD $2,667 or the equivalent of 15,000 Saudi
Exit visas are required for visitors with work visas or
residency permits. Unresolved labor or employment disputes may result
in exit visa delays. Those seeking employment in Saudi Arabia should
keep in mind that Saudi employers and sponsors have a great deal of
power in these disputes, and can cause great difficulties for visitors
attempting to depart the country. Residents need to obtain an exit
permit in order to re-enter the country after their travels. Visitors
with single entry visas may leave the country without an exit visa.
When entering or exiting Saudi Arabia, travelers must declare
any cash, monetary instruments, or precious metals if the value exceeds
60,000 Saudi Riyals, which equates to about USD $16,000.
Travelers or residency applicants to Saudi Arabia should know any
medical requirements that exist. Meningitis vaccines are generally
required for all visitors. Pilgrims traveling to Hajj and Umrah may
require additional vaccines. In order to work in Saudia Arabia,
travelers must be able to prove that they are free of infectious
diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
Travelers with Saudi citizenship should enter the country on a Saudi
Arabia passport rather than a Saudi Laissez Passer (travel permit).
Although these individuals may be able to enter Saudi Arabia with a
Laissez Passer, they will not be able to leave the country without a
Saudi passport. Travelers would be required to obtain a Saudi passport
before they can leave, and this process can be lengthy and difficult.
If you have claims to Saudi citizenship but are not yet confirmed as a
citizen, you may enter and depart the country with a foreign passport
as long as you do not use a Laissez Passer to enter.
For the most current travel information or for contact information, consult the Embassy of Saudi Arabia website
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