The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has for a long time been depending on its rich oil fields to support its vast economy, until the sudden price decline that hit the global oil industry in the 2010s rendered the product unreliable for economic stability. That is when Saudi Arabia opened its doors to the world and started investing substantially on their literally inexistent tourism sector in a bid to diversify their revenue sources. Before then, only businesspeople and Muslim pilgrims were allowed into the desert kingdom.
In 2019, the KSA government launched its new tourist visa that allows international visitors from eligible countries (about 51 nationalities worldwide) to explore the kingdom. From the Saudi rich heritage, breathtaking landscapes, diverse architecture, vibrant culture, the warm hospitality of the Saudi people, to the region’s rich food scene- you can now explore it all! Pilgrims still need to acquire Hajj Visa or Umrah Visa when visiting for Ramadan, Umrah, Hajj, or any other pilgrimage. Businesspeople, on the other hand, require a business visa to enter KSA. Holders of the new tourist visa are prohibited from engaging in any form of business activity while in the kingdom, or touring Mecca and/or other holy sites.
With the launch of the tourist visa came several fast and easy-to-use online portals where interested applicants can check for eligibility, apply for the visa, and track their visa application or validity status. You just need to have the necessary application documents (a valid passport, your national ID, medical reports, etc.) and you will conveniently apply for (or check validity for) your Saudi Arabia e-visa from the comfort of your home. The passport must have a remaining validity of 6 months beyond the intended date of entry into Saudi Arabia.
Visa Validity in Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s visa online portals are improved continually, so you need to be up-to-date with the most recent changes. These fast-paced changes can be attributed to the fact that there is a big number of expats living in Saudi Arabia, which means that visa-related issues in the kingdom are growing fast both in numbers and in gravity.
An example of recent portal improvements is the introduction of the Absher portal. You can now check for visa validity in KSA by registering on Absher; it is more like an improved version of E-serve portal.
How Long Is My Saudi e-Visa Valid For?
The Saudi e-visa has a validity of one year from its date of issuance, after which you will need to renew it. Tourist visa holders are allowed to be in the kingdom for not more than three months (90 days) from the date of arrival. As for religious pilgrimage, Hajj or Umrah visa holders are allowed to be in the country for 90 days, but they cannot engage in tourism activities during that time. They also have to apply for their visas through a Saudi embassy or consulate.
A business visa has a validity of 1-3 months for a single-entry visa, and 6 months to 5 years validity for a multiple-entry visa. The multiple-entry visa is more expensive than the single-entry; only apply for it if you are sure that you will be visiting the kingdom often over the coming months. Just like the pilgrimage visas, applicants can only get business visas from an embassy or consulate.
Note that extending the allowed time stay printed on your visa- all types of visa- is illegal and can lead to prosecution, jail time, or deportation.
How to Check Exit Re-Entry Visa Status
- i) Using Moi Absher KSA
To check exit re-entry visa status using Moi Absher KSA, proceed as follows:
- Register for an Absher account and log in. It is free of charge.
- On the homepage, look for the “My Services” tab. Under it, click on ‘inquiries’.
- That will take you to a new window with the “passport” option. Click on that option and then click on “Exit/Entry Visa Status”.
- A new window with empty boxes will appear. Key in the details required for each box. These include sponsor Id, image code, iqama number, visa number, etc.
- After keying in the details, look for the ‘View’ button at the bottom and click on it. Your exit re-entry visa status will be displayed in a matter of seconds.
- ii) Using Online Muqeem (Eserve) Portal
Proceed as follows:
- Log into the Muqeem visa validity service portal. This page opens in Arabic so it is best to use Google Chrome or any other browser that allows you to translate pages with ease.
- Enter your Iqama Number and name/passport number and click on “check”. Your visa validity status will be displayed in a few short seconds.
Check Family Visa Status with Mofa (Ministry Of Foreign Affairs)
Proceed as follows:
- Visit the following website: https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/
- You will see an option bar that’s colored red. From the multiple options on the bar, select “Application submitted to MoFA”
- You will be required to enter your application number and id number.
- A captcha code will appear. Do the needful and click on “Inquire”.
You can use this platform to check for Ummrah and Hajj application status.
Enjaz Visa Checking
Enjaz is an online application submission system that’s run by the Saudi Govt. To check for your visa status and validity, proceed as follows:
- Visit the following website. https://enjazit.com.sa/. The site opens in Arabic so you will need to translate it to English using a translation tab on the top left hand corner.
- If you want to submit a visa application, there is that option at the center of the page. If you wish to check Enjaz visa validity, the option is right there.
The Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud is keen on modernizing the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as part of his administration’s Vision 2030. The kingdom is, therefore, going through a phase of societal and economic reforms, including the relaxation of most of the strict laws that could plague the tourism industry. Female travelers now enjoy almost the same privileges as men and are treated with more dignity than in the yesteryears. Nevertheless, tourists still need to respect Saudi culture when in the country, especially in regards to religion and dressing. It will be wrong to disrespect Islam, for example, when touring an Islamic country even if you don’t subscribe to their faith.