So you have some business to do in Saudi Arabia and have heard that it is incredibly difficult to get a business visa. Well, don’t worry because it’s not as hard as some people might think. Of course, you’ll need your standard travel documents as if you were going to enjoy a holiday, but you’ll also have to work with your employer for sponsorship and a few other bits of documentation. Unlike the Seychelles eTA, the online travel obligatory for all tourists wishing to visit the Seychelles, this type of visa is mandatory for foreigners visiting the Kingdom on business only.
Overall, getting a Saudi Arabia business visa is relatively simple.
First, your passport will need to maintain its validity for six months after your anticipated entry date. It’s always best to update your passport when you’re getting this close to the expiration anyways. You also need two clear pages in your passport that are adjacent to each other. In addition to your passport, you’ll need two passport quality photos that are 35mm by 45mm with a clear off-off-white background.
One of the particular requirements for any visa to enter Saudi Arabia is that you cannot have any prior pages in your passport indicating that you have traveled to or were born in Israel. Either of these instances will result in you not being allowed to enter the country.
Preparing Your Documents
To start, you will need a Saudi Arabia visa application which is available online. E-visa options are becoming the easiest and most efficient way to submit your application and begin the process.
You will also need a proof of your address such as a recent utility bill or a bank statement showing that you currently reside in the UK.
After you get these documents together, you’ll need a few special documents from your employer and the Saudi Chamber of Commerce, or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The first thing you’ll need outside of the standard visa requirements to enter Saudi Arabia for business purposes is a UK Employer Support letter showing that the employer requires you to conduct business on their behalf in Saudi Arabia. The letter must have an original signature and be dated within a reasonable time frame. In other words, don’t let this letter sit on your desk for a month, get it taken care of right away.
The second thing you’ll need is an invitation to work in Saudi Arabia which comes from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Saudi Chamber of commerce. You get this from submitting your employer support letter to the Saudi Chamber of Commerce or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Either office will process your letter, review the type of business you hope to complete while visiting Saudi Arabia and will act according to their best interest.
How Long Will It Take Process My Application?
The process will vary depending on what time of year you’re traveling. Unfortunately, you cannot submit your application more than three months in advance from your anticipated arrival date. The process can take up to three months, although those instances are rare.
Additional Information Requested on the Application
It’s likely that you’ve applied for business travel visas before and unlike most other countries, they have a few specific questions that require specific answers, or they will reject your application.
Under the point of entry question on the visa application for business travel, you will need to indicate which airport you intend to arrive in and how you intend to enter the country. Your travel agent can discuss these details with you further. Some companies process their travel requests through one travel resource which will make some of these questions much easier to answer.
Under the proposed departure date you must like the planned date for leaving Saudi Arabia. However, if plans do go over as expected, you can change this date as long as it is still within the 180 days that your visa is valid.
The application will also request your travel agent and project manager. The travel agent is the name of the airline that you are flying with, while the project manager is the name of the person who knows you are coming. They must be a colleague in your field. In some cases, the application will allow for your name to go in this field if you are establishing your business within Saudi Arabia, and thus, have no colleagues.
Can my Family Travel With Me?
No, unfortunately, your family cannot ride on your business visa into Saudi Arabia. However, your family can apply for their tourist visas to Saudi Arabia if they have friends or family within the country.
Are There Medical Requirements to Enter Saudi Arabia?
A standard tourist visa requires a yellow fever vaccine certification, and word visas require full medical tests. However, a business visa requires both. It’s always best to get a yellow fever vaccination certification just in case though.
How Long Will the Visa Last?
A standard business visa can range from 3 to 6 months depending on what you state on your application. The longest duration on any business visa is 180 days, and you cannot extend that time frame.