Saudi Arabia, with its vast deserts, modern attractions like the Red Sea Project, and rich culture, beckons tourists from around the world. For residents of the UAE, this neighboring kingdom offers a perfect getaway, be it for a weekend retreat, a long vacation, or a spiritual pilgrimage like Umrah. In this guide, we’re breaking down the process of obtaining a Saudi visa for UAE residents. Get ready to explore everything you need to know to make your Saudi travel dreams come true.
Saudi Visa for UAE Residents: Latest Updates
Recent changes have shaken up the way Saudi Arabia handles visas, especially for those coming from select countries like the UAE. The Saudi government has embraced technology by swapping traditional passport stickers for QR codes, making data processing smoother than ever before.
This shift, led by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has rolled out in Saudi missions across the UAE and six other nations since May 1st. This modernization aligns with Saudi Arabia’s ongoing push to digitize consular services, streamlining the process for various visas, including work, residence, and visit visas.
Saudi Arabia Visit Visa Requirements for UAE Residents
Whether you need a Saudi visa as a UAE resident depends on your nationality. Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, including the UAE, can enter Saudi Arabia without a visa and use their National ID cards as a ticket in. However, if you’re a UAE resident from a different nationality, you might need to secure a Saudi visa before your journey.
Types of Saudi Visit Visa for UAE Residents
UAE residents now have the power to apply for Saudi visas through the Visit Saudi online portal, regardless of their profession. Let’s dive into the types of Saudi visas you can get your hands on:
This digital Saudi e-Visa welcomes foreign visitors who want to explore the non-religious and non-essential side of Saudi Arabia. It’s valid for a year and allows multiple entries, giving you up to 90 days in the country. It covers tourism and Umrah (except during Hajj season) but not studying.
If your trip involves business purposes like meetings or conferences, you’ll need a business visa. You can choose between a single-entry or multiple-entry visa.
Designed for pilgrims flying in, the transit visa not only lets you perform Umrah but also visit the Prophet’s Mosque. You can stay for up to four days within the Kingdom, and the visa is valid for 90 days from the moment you buy your plane ticket.
Family Visit Visa
If you have family in Saudi Arabia, the Family Visit Visa is your ticket to reunite. It’s for immediate family members of Saudi residents or citizens. And now, it even covers Umrah if you secure an appointment through the Nusuk platform.
Personal Visit Visa
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduces the Personal Visit Visa. If you’re invited by Saudi friends or acquaintances, this visa lets you explore Saudi Arabia, visit religious sites, attend cultural events, and even embark on Umrah journeys.
If you’re a Muslim planning a pilgrimage to Makkah for Umrah, there are two options based on your origin country. Both Umrah visas are valid for two weeks.
Duration, Processing Time, and Cost of Saudi Visit Visa
Let’s talk about the nitty-gritty details of the Saudi visa for UAE residents.
Duration: A single-entry visit visa is valid for three months from the issue date, allowing a 30-day stay. On the other hand, a multiple-entry visit visa gives you a whole year of access with 90-day stays.
Processing Time: If you’re applying from the UAE, expect your Saudi e-visa to be processed in 2-3 business days.
Visa Cost: The eVisa itself costs SAR 300 (around AED 295), plus health insurance fees. Keep in mind that the visa application fee is non-refundable.
Saudi Arabia Visa Options for UAE Residents
Saudi Arabia opens its arms to UAE residents with a range of visa options tailored to diverse interests and needs. Whether you’re a curious explorer, a determined business traveler, a devout pilgrim, or someone reuniting with loved ones, Saudi Arabia’s visa process is designed to be accessible and straightforward. Amidst breathtaking landscapes and cultural treasures waiting to be discovered, Saudi Arabia extends an invitation to unforgettable experiences for UAE residents.
10 Things to do in Saudi Arabia on Tourist Visa
10 activities that UAE residents of various nationalities, such as Indians, Pakistanis, or any other, can enjoy during their visit to Saudi Arabia:
Explore Riyadh’s Historic Sites: Wander through Riyadh’s historical marvels like Diriyah, the old city. Discover the mud-brick architecture, ancient alleyways, and cultural heritage that shaped the nation.
Marvel at Mada’in Saleh: Step into the extraordinary archaeological site of Mada’in Saleh, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring well-preserved Nabatean tombs and stunning rock-cut architecture. You can also visit Neom and explore the Line Project in Saudi Arabia.
Journey to Jeddah’s Corniche: Enjoy a leisurely stroll along Jeddah’s picturesque Corniche, offering breathtaking views of the Red Sea and a vibrant atmosphere with art installations and recreational spaces.
Uplifting Experience at Abha: If visiting during summer, head to Abha, a mountainous region, to escape the heat and revel in lush landscapes, cool climate, and traditional markets.
Sand Dune Adventures: Embrace the desert spirit with exhilarating sand dune activities like dune bashing, sandboarding, and camel riding in areas like the Empty Quarter.
Culinary Delights: Savor the rich flavors of Saudi cuisine, trying dishes like Kabsa (spiced rice with meat), Mandi (meat and rice), and traditional sweets like Baklava and Basbousa.
Prayer at the Grand Mosque: In Makkah, partake in the profound experience of visiting the Masjid al-Haram, the Grand Mosque, and perform Umrah if you’re a Muslim. You can also visit the Prophet (PBUH) Mosque in Madinah.
Historic Jeddah Tours: Explore Al-Balad in Jeddah, a UNESCO site with captivating architecture, markets, and cultural attractions that reflect the city’s history.
Red Sea Adventures: Dive into the Red Sea’s azure waters for snorkeling or scuba diving, encountering vibrant marine life and coral reefs.
Cultural Festivals: If the timing is right, attend Saudi Arabia’s cultural festivals like the Janadriyah Festival, showcasing the nation’s heritage through art, music, and traditional performances.
10 Tips for UAE Residents visiting Saudi Arabia
Planning a trip to Saudi Arabia as a UAE resident involves more than just securing a visa and listing activities. To ensure a seamless and enjoyable journey, keep these practical tips in mind:
- Travel Documentation:
Apart from your Saudi visa, ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from your entry date. Carry copies of essential documents, including your visa approval, travel insurance, and identification.
- Cultural Etiquette:
Familiarize yourself with Saudi Arabia’s cultural norms, such as dressing modestly, respecting local customs, and being aware of religious practices during prayer times.
- Health Precautions:
Check if any vaccinations are required before traveling to Saudi Arabia. Carry necessary medications, prescriptions, and a basic first aid kit.
- Currency and Payments:
Saudi Arabia’s currency is the Saudi Riyal (SAR). Make sure to have some local currency on hand for small purchases. Credit and debit cards are widely accepted, but it’s advisable to have cash for remote areas.
- Language Considerations:
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia. While many people in urban areas speak English, learning a few basic Arabic phrases can enhance your interactions and experiences.
- Weather Awareness:
Saudi Arabia experiences varied climates. Research the weather conditions during your visit and pack accordingly, whether it’s lightweight clothing for the desert or warm clothing for mountain regions.
- Local Transportation:
Familiarize yourself with local transportation options, such as taxis, ride-sharing apps, and public transportation systems, to get around conveniently and safely.
- Accommodation Reservations:
Book accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons. Saudi Arabia offers a range of lodging options, from luxury hotels to budget-friendly stays.
Check your mobile phone’s international roaming options or consider purchasing a local SIM card for internet access and communication during your stay.
- Respect Ramadan Observance:
If your visit coincides with the holy month of Ramadan, respect fasting hours, and be mindful of cultural sensitivities during this significant time for Muslims.
By integrating these practical tips into your travel preparations, you’ll ensure that your journey to Saudi Arabia as a UAE resident is not only memorable but also hassle-free. Embrace the experience with an open heart and a prepared mind, making the most of your time in this captivating nation.
With this guide in hand, you’re all set to embark on your journey to Saudi Arabia. Whether you’re seeking adventure, business opportunities, spiritual fulfillment, or family connections, Saudi Arabia offers boundless possibilities. Let this guide be your compass as you navigate the process of securing a Saudi visa, and let your adventure unfold in the embrace of this captivating kingdom.