How To Fill Out Saudi Arabia E-Visa Application

Filed Under: Saudia

For the first time ever Saudi Arabia is issuing tourist visas. The scheme was officially announced yesterday, and today the country is accepting e-visa applications.

Now that this functionality is live, I’ve gone through the process of applying for an e-visa. While I don’t have any immediate plans to visit Saudi Arabia, I was curious what the process was like, and figured others would find it interesting as well.

Saudi Arabia E-Visa Basics

To start with the very basics:

  • Saudi Arabia e-visas are available to nationals of 49 countries (you can find eligible countries here)
  • E-visas are valid for multiple entries over the course of one year; you can stay up to 90 consecutive days, and up to a total of 180 days in a year
  • The entire e-visa, including mandatory medical insurance, will cost you 463.44SAR, which is ~123.50USD

How To Apply For A Saudi Arabia E-Visa

Below I’ll outline the process you have to go through to apply for a Saudi Arabia e-visa. The entire process should take only about 10 minutes, and overall I found the site to be well designed and nice-looking, with a few exceptions.

So here’s how the process of applying works:

Step 1: Visit The Official Saudi Arabia E-Visa Website

The first step is to visit the official website for Saudi Arabia e-visas, which is https://visa.visitsaudi.com/. Other websites will definitely pop up and will look like the official website, though these will be companies trying to charge a fee for helping you with the process.

Step 2: Create Saudi Arabia E-Visa Account

Before you formally start the application process you’ll want to create an e-visa account. This way you can get started, and then you can return online at any point to check on the status of your application, or to complete it later.

To get signed up you first need to enter your passport type and the country your passport is from.

On the next page you’ll have to enter your name, phone number, email address, and create your log-in info, including your username and password.

You’ll then be emailed an account activation link, which you have to click within 24 hours.

At that point your account will be official, so you could return later to complete your application. When you log in with your email address and password the next time you’ll likely have to enter a verification code, which will be emailed to you.

Step 3: Apply For Saudi Arabia E-Visa

Once you’ve verified your account it’s time to actually start the process of applying for an e-visa. This application is spread across several pages, and you have just 10 minutes to complete the details on each page, or you’ll be kicked out.

I find it quite interesting that the featured image on each of these pages shows a woman not wearing an abaya. For the first time ever Saudi Arabia won’t require women to wear abayas, and they’re quite actively promoting that based on the picture. So I guess that’s kind of progressive, by Saudi Arabian standards?

On the first page of the application you’ll have to enter some personal information. This will start with uploading an image of yourself:

  • The dimensions need to be 200×200 pixels
  • It needs to be somewhere between 3kb and 100kb in size
  • Acceptable formats include .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif, and .bmp

You’ll then have to provide information like your full name, gender, marital status, your country of birthday, your profession, and your residential info.

On the next page you’ll have to enter your passport info, as well as your expected arrival and departure date in Saudi Arabia (though you can arrive anytime when your e-visa is valid, so these details don’t have to be 100% accurate).

You’ll also have to provide the purpose of your visit, as well as your contact info while in Saudi Arabia, and where you’ll be staying.

On the next page you’ll have to agree to purchase mandatory medical insurance. You’re agreeing to purchase it for 140SAR (~37.30USD), which includes a 5% VAT.

On the next page you’ll be asked to agree to the terms and conditions of visiting Saudi Arabia. I’ll talk more about those below.

Step 4: Pay For Saudi Arabia E-Visa

Once you’ve confirmed that all the information you provided is accurate you’ll have to pay the fee for the visa. This comes out to a total of 463.44SAR. You can pay this amount by credit card.

What Are The Terms Of Visiting Saudi Arabia?

As mentioned above, during the application process you have to agree to certain terms & conditions for visiting Saudi Arabia.

Here are some of the highlights of the terms:

  • You promise to abide by the laws and rules of Saudi Arabia and respect the customs and Islamic traditions
  • You are aware that all intoxicating substances, narcotic drugs, indecent materials, and publications, as well as publications related to any religious beliefs or political tendencies that contradict with Islam are prohibited in Saudi Arabia
  • You agree you’ve never been deported from Saudi Arabia or any other GCC country, nor have you violated any of their rules
  • You acknowledge that drug dealing or smuggling drugs into Saudi Arabia is a crime punishable by death
  • You agree that you’re not permitted to use the tourist visa for any purpose other than tourism, and should not practice any paid or non-paid work related activity, nor perform Hajj during your stay in Saudi Arabia
  • You acknowledge that there are no medical treatment purposes behind your visit

You are also asked to agree to public decorum policies.

Saudi Arabia has relaxed policies for women, and they note that both men and women should dress modestly in public, avoiding tight fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. Women should cover shoulders and knees in public.

Bottom Line

This post isn’t an endorsement of visiting Saudi Arabia, but rather I was just curious what the visa application process was like. Saudi Arabia is a country that has been so off limits for years, and I was curious if they’d throw any curveballs into their visa application.

As it turns out they didn’t, and the e-visa process for Saudi Arabia looks very similar to just about any other process out there. By typical immigration standards, there are no overly personal questions (like asking for your social media account info, for example).

Comments
  1. An abaya is just a loose dress. Technically, that second women (and the first!) might be wearing one, we can’t tell. Were you thinking of the niqab?

  2. Lucky I don’t want to sound too harsh, I am aware that the blog needs to generate some sort of revenue, but imo you should do something about the ads.

    Not sure if it’s also the case on PC, but on mobile devices there’s a massive ad (much bigger than your screenshots) every 3 or 4 paragraphs.

    It gets sort of annoying when reading and they are overwhelming. Just some constructive criticism

  3. @ Ben Holz

    Couldn’t agree more with you regarding the intrusive ads!

    @Lucky I essentially have no choice but to use an ad blocker to make the blog readable, which defeats the purpose of having ads in the first place. So if the ads just went back to the previous level of intrusiveness, fewer people would feel the need to use an ad blocker

  4. Surprising Canada is among nationalities welcome. Tempted to apply, just to see if, in practice, I get treated differently from Americans.

    @keitherson haha good one, reminds me what my Saudi boyfriend said after I made a lame reference to violent penalties in KSA: (“you idiot”, he didn’t actually say but it was implied) “Grindr works just fine in Jeddah”.

  5. @ Ben Holz @ KDENFlyer — Appreciate the feedback on the ads! We are in the process of testing a new mobile ad system, so you may see different sizes and density of placements while we test and configure everything.

    To share a bit of background, for the past 3-4 years we’ve made essentially nothing on the mobile site, with mobile ad revenue being less than 20¢ (yes, cents) per thousand pageviews. Earning less than a dollar for every five thousand times the blog is read obviously isn’t sustainable, and as more and more of our traffic shifts to mobile, we’re having to make adjustments.

    We’re committed to finding a balance that doesn’t negatively impact the overall experience. Reverting to “the previous level of intrusiveness” is hard, as that was basically no ads on mobile (the majority of ads on the desktop site are in the sidebar, which on mobile doesn’t display until after all the content and all the comments, so was almost never viewed). But you won’t see pop-up ads, auto-play videos, things that float and are hard to close, etc. — those types of ads are much more lucrative, but they’re also annoying.

    So we’ll get this dialed-in, in a way that is hopefully not too obnoxious, and very much appreciate your patience and feedback in the meantime.

  6. @Tiffany, I get your conundrum, but you went from one extreme to another. There has to be a compromise somewhere. Seeing an ad right next to a relevant picture makes me have to look more closely as to which is an ad and which is the relevant picture. This definitely takes away from the enjoyment and quality of the blog. Perhaps one ad at the beginning and one at the end? Please fix this.

  7. @Tiffany Just load this article on an iPhone and you’ll see the ad takes up 30-40% of vertical screen space when it’s visible. I can’t think of any other site where it’s that bad when accessing on mobile.

  8. @Lucky — Have you heard anything about the religious publications aspect? I wonder if someone is allowed to bring a Bible. I heard of someone being deported for bringing some Shia books into the country (for their own use). They take this kind of thing pretty seriously. There’s only one church in the country I know of.

    Also, I note on the info page it says, “Muslims fast from dawn to dusk and so it is respectful to avoid eating or drinking in public during the day at this time.” That’s putting it mildly. When I moved to Saudi, it was made very clear to me, under no circumstances eat in public during Ramadan.

    @Josh — Very good point. I’d be surprised if they allowed you in with an Israeli stamp (but perhaps they won’t advertise the fact). The people in Saudi I know who’ve been to Israel go through Jordan and usually have a second passport, although the Israelis don’t stamp passports anyway.

    @Tiffany — Thanks for explaining about the ads – fair enough!

  9. Were you able to add a 100kb photo? That’s the part I find the hardest to do since normal digital photos tend to be at least 1MB and if I change the size to 100KB it becomes severely pixelated.

  10. Tough to visit some of these Middle East countries as a family. My teenage daughter has adhd and is treated with strong prescription stimulants. Is that an “intoxicating substance”? It probably depends on the customs or immigration agents. Had to stay in the qatar airport last year during 22 hour layover because they have similar policy on stimulants. Wish they would update their policies to reflect updated knowledge on mental health treatments.

  11. As a resident of Saudi Arabia for almost a decade I see the new visa opening as a positive move. The country needs to diversify from oil and it’s a smart move. All of these limitations were part of my application when I first visited the country. The country and the people are very friendly and respectful. You have to understand that they come from a very complex past (post 1979) and that has changed them significantly from all the other gulf countries. I would recommend to anyone to come and visit. I would though also urge not to stick out too much in the sense that it’s ok to be different, people won’t mind, but you don’t need to stress it to get their attention.

  12. @Natahaniel

    ADHD meds are banned in many countries outside of the Middle East as well. You can’t take prescription amphetamines such as Adderall into Japan or Thailand either, for example. Methylphenidate is more widely accepted. And I don’t believe you’re typically permitted even a sterile transit with banned medications, though in practice the risk of discovery is negligible.

  13. What this article fails to mention is that Saudi Arabia have also issued very specific “decency” regulations to tie in with the launch of this new visa policy. Under this new Public Behaviour Code under which “visitors and tourists will benefit”, steep fines will be imposed for all kinds of violations which include the taking of photos without permission, playing loud music at prayer times, jumping over or going around barriers to access a public space, “not respecting your turn in a line of people waiting to be served” or “frightening anyone in a public place”.

    Saudi Police will have sole responsibility for monitoring offences and imposing fines but don’t worry if you feel that you are unfairly targeted as “any person on whom a penalty is imposed has the right to file a complaint before the Public Decency Circuit at the Specialized Court (Board of Grievances)” .That of course might be quite a lengthy process…caveat emptor!

  14. Have you been wondering what it would be like to get thrown off a building? I guess SA is making that easier for you now.

  15. Thanks to drug abusers it’s not possible to take anything containing codeine into many countries, even with a prescription, including the whole of the Middle East and most of Asia. So the ‘go to’ medication for pain, pretty safe when not taken in excess, that’s been in my travel kit for 40 years ( and generally expires with 95% unused), is no longer available for those occasions when it’s the only thing that works ( eg, teeth, muscular issues).
    As for Saudi Arabia, it’s clear that Ben is itching to get there but maybe a bit concerned about the likely ( deserved) opprobrium that will be heaped upon him , as a gay Jewish liberal, if he goes. Wait a couple of years and see if there is any positive change there. I’ve been several times and, while it was not particularly unpleasant, it’s not a place I’d rush back to ( and certainly not given the more recent events and incidents).

  16. I would be interested to visit but how do we know if immigration officers, police, religious police etc have been sufficiently trained to make tourists feel safe and welcome?
    They have terrorized their own for decades so would they all have suddenly changed?

  17. @Mark — Fair point. Sorry about that.

    @Tiffany or @Lucky — Can I change my earlier post so that the first paragraph ends at “know of”?

  18. I want to apply, but I cant type my norwegian nubmer because its just 8 digits. The website tell that the Number has to be 9 digits. I tried to type a zero before my Number, but it didnt work. I also sent a question to the custom service, but they didt answer!

  19. Can a journalist/blogger use a tourist visa?

    “You agree that you’re not permitted to use the tourist visa for any purpose other than tourism, and should not practice any paid or non-paid work related activity, nor perform Hajj during your stay in Saudi Arabia”

  20. I just applied a visa to saudi Arab and was approved. Unfortunately i found that my father name was written twice on the approval visa which was sent to me. So my question is, can i made an amendments and get a new visa at the Embassy of KSA in my country. Please advise.

  21. According to the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office website this is the official E Tourist website;

    https://www.visitsaudi.com/en/

    I think the site you clicked through is one of those third party sites that charge you an admin fee on top of the visa cost.

  22. I am having issues during Payment. After entering Visa card details, it is saying that “Your Payment could not be completed at this time. Please try again by clicking on pay button below.”

    I have tried many times and with many VISA debit and credit cards. Anyone facing same issue?

  23. Does anyone know how long the evisa is valid for? I would like to visit at Christmas. Is it too early to apply now as I am not sure if the evisa is valid from when you apply or from the date you enter?

  24. @Peter

    It’s valid for one year, depending on the duration you choose.

    https://www.visitsaudi.com/en/about-evisa.html

    Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to the world through its new visit visa. From 27 September 2019, visitors will be able to obtain one-year, multiple entry visas allowing them to spend up to 90 days in the country.

    • Validity of the visa depends on its type. A single entry visa allows you to stay for one month, while the multiple entry visa allows you up to three month stay in Saudi Arabia.

    • Maximum duration of stay is up to three months per visit, with no more than 3 months with multiple entries.

  25. Applied at like 9:45 PM on a Friday. Got the message telling me to wait for approval. Got an email with an approval confirmation and printable visa at 9:59PM (14 minutes later).

    Getting space in J on EY over Thanksgiving was the hard part!

  26. I just receives my one year printable e-visa from Enjaz website and the necessary health insurance for the duration of travel – a very quick and easy process to obtain the visa.

    Does anyone know if a printable version of the visa (and a passport of course) is enough to enter the country or are there any other validated document necessary ?

  27. @Karo

    You don’t even need the printable version, everything is electronic. You may print it to feel safer (?) plus your passport!

  28. @George K

    Thank you!
    But how do I pull up the electronic version since I didn’t receive it in the email- just the confirmation that I was approved.
    Finally, when I go to the Enjaz website and fill out the application and passport number that’s when the approved e-visa pops up. So this would be enough to show at the border?

  29. @Karo

    You can print the pop-up visa. It is more than enough. I was at the border the other day and visitors were giving their passports and going into the country. It may take a while though depending on the lines and airport you come in.

  30. There’s currently rumour about introducing a mandatory HIV test as part of the visa process just as required for a work visa.

  31. @Lilly

    The only health related issue I know is the mandatory health insurance. A series of exams are taken for work visa, including archaic ones such as cholera and many more!

  32. I applied for E visa from Canada accidently through website evisasaudiarabia.com (Barcelona) on Wednesday. The agent charged my credit card for C$258. I thought that it was fraud and tried to cancel but I received my E visa yesterday along with insurance certificate, I hope its valid. Their web site shows that amount collected includes all fees including insurance fee but insurance certificate shows USD150. Do I need to pay USD150? I am still waiting for my wife visa, although both applications were submitted same time and credit card was also charged for both. These people don’t respond any emails. Please advise.

  33. @Muhammad Khan
    I had also the same experience with them (no reply to emails or phonecalls). It was a relief to receive the visa 5 work-days after I applied. I cross-checked with the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in my home country to make sure it is valid. It was a relief to hear that it was!

  34. So pleased for your success – you now have the visa and good luck for your trip. Very amused by the scramble and anxiety in people wanting to secure visas to visit KSA. Having worked in Jeddah for eight years and travelled extensively throughout the desert kingdom (including Tai’f, Asir and all the other supposedly unique locations) I can assure you that nobody should be getting too excited by murmerous Mohammed bin Salman’s enforcement to the mutawah religious police to warmly welcome foreign guests from the west. Good luck to all who are boldly making this trip to the desert kingdom and hopes that you will not regret the folly of your decision.

  35. @Bilal I have the same question. They say are you a group and then I don’t see anywhere how to add family members. Site is not too user friendly.

  36. @Bilal and @Khalid – I struggled for the same and finally figured out. Right where you click on “I Agree” check box at the last screen where $$ amounts is shown, there is a small button which says ‘Save and add an applicant’. I was able to do it.
    Good Luck.

  37. Wheee – clunky site!

    I found no way of putting in my date of birth other that going back to 1946 one click at a time.(that’s close on 900 clicks!!) Am I being daft or have I missed something?

    Timed out twice in the process.

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