Travel Tips to Visit Saudi Arabia
Mar 10, · In December , the only way of traveling to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa was by purchasing a ticket for a Formula-E event that would take place in Riyadh. You could book your tickets through the website usloveescort.com and, immediately after purchasing them, they would issue a legit and valid e-visa to travel to Saudi Arabia. May 01, · A visa is required to enter Saudi Arabia, and Saudi authorities generally do not permit foreign citizens to enter Saudi Arabia using land border crossings from Yemen. The Embassy and Consulates General cannot provide assistance to U.S. citizens .
In Saudi Arabia, the internet is censored, which means that some websites and internet services how to fill asphalt cracks in driveway blocked. Last year, I was one of the first very few tourists to ever travel to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa.
Before, the only way to travel to Saudi was on ot business visa, via a strong local connection who could sponsor your saud or by getting a pilgrimage visa to visit Mecca and Medina only for Muslims. Therefore, the fact that, all of a sudden, Suadi tourists can visit Saudi Arabia on their own, with a backpack, both men and women, is a very radical change. During the last couple of years, a lot of their super strict Islamic laws have been softened or, at least, they have become more flexible.
For example, allowing women and men to hang out together in arzbia spaces was one of the most significant changes. Moreover, you should also know that, despite everything that you what is japan quartz movement have read in the media, Saudi Arabia is an incredible country which is filled with loads of stunning sites, both natural and archaeological, hugely contrasting landscapes and some extremely hospitable people that could easily rival my beloved friends from Pakistan and Iran.
Personally, this country has been the most surprising country I have ever been to, especially because nobody had how can i go to saudi arabia told me the good things about it.
How can i go to saudi arabia being said, after visiting all around the country for a little bit more than two weeks, I have compiled this comprehensive guide that contains plenty of tips and everything you need to know to travel to Saudi Arabiaone of the least visited destinations in the world. This guide contains all the practical information. For places to visit read my Saudi Arabia itinerary. I will try fan update this post with the latest info but meanwhile, please check ca official tourism board website for the most updated Coronavirus-related information.
Amazing News — E-visa finally available through visitsaudi. In Decemberthe only way of traveling to Saudi Arabia on a tourist visa was by purchasing a ticket for a Formula-E event that would take place in Riyadh. You could book your tickets through the website sharek. With my Spanish passport, the visa was valid for 30 days and it allowed me to travel anywhere but Medina and Mecca.
This was sauei a one-time event and, after that, they celebrated one or two more, the last one being in July The truth is that there were some rumors saying og the Saudi Government would introduce a regular e-visa system somewhere inso those events were just a test aimed at seeing how would the country handle independent Western tourists for the first time in their history.
Apparently, their results and experience were cab satisfactory and, along with the fact that Saudi is trying to find alternative ways of not being so dependant on oil revenue, they finally announced the introduction of an e-visa system, starting from September eaudi Applying for the e-visa is pretty straightforward and you can do it through this portal.
A great introduction to the country, this must be the only available travel guide to Saudi Arabia! Remember to always travel with the proper travel insurance, especially in countries like Saudi Arabia where, for foreigners, the Health Care System is crazy expensive. I strongly recommend World Nomads for the following reasons:. If you want to cqn more options, read how to find the best backpacking insurance. The easiest way to travel to Saudi Arabia is by flying in.
There are loads of international flights, especially to Jeddah and Riyadh. Saudia Airlines has many direct flights from Europe and other destinations.
Hwo rest of the borders, however, are currently closed: Yemen, due to the ongoing conflict; Qatar, due to their current diplomatic issues; and Omandue to it being under construction. Interested in off the j track arabis Check: Somaliland travel guide Eritrea travel guide. Random Saudi: Where are you from? I had this hwo over and over. When I was exploring the southern part of the country and was walking around the souk with my how to remove forgotten password from excel file backpack, people were asking me if I was carrying a parachute and one even said if it was an inflatable boat.
Read: Places to go in Saudi Arabia — Complete itinerary. However, there is a relatively developed domestic tourism infrastructure, so you can find hotels pretty much everywhere, even though they tend to be expensive. Moreover, as per things to do, you should know that there are loads, loads of things to do in this country.
I mean, just check its size and you will see that it is bigger than any European country. Here you can check my complete Saudi itinerary. Some messages how to draw mustaches step by step from friendly, skeptical people who wanted a response, while others were from really extreme haters who I blocked right away. Is it ethical to travel to Saudi Arabia as a tourist? Moreover, because of this censorship and, since there is no freedom of speech, the Government reserves the right to monitor your internet activity.
Therefore, if you want to access blocked sites and navigate anonymously, you will need something called a VPN Virtual Private Network. Most Saudis follow a branch of Islam named Wahhabismj is characterized for having the most conservative interpretation of Islam and the law of Saudi Arabia strictly follows it.
Suadi means that their penal code includes some very hardcore punishments such as public beheading or getting flogged. Note — Hiw prefer to be aabia Salafis, instead of Wahabis. In their eyes, Ho is a few steps ahead than Salafism when it comes to conservatism, meaning that it is really extreme, a term usually used to designate Islamic terrorists.
Whereas Salafists are really, really conservative in nature, it is more socially accepted. Thank you, Graham, from Inside Other Places for the clarification. Women need to wear an abaya — The abaya is a local dress that covers your body not your head.
Women arabla men that go with women need to sit in the family section. This kind of segregation is slowly disappearing, especially in Jeddah and Riyadh. A very weird rule. No public shows of affection — Same as when you travel to Dubai or Qatar. Being an atheist can be considered as blasphemy and this is a very serious crime in Saudi. Like I said before, in the last couple of years, the laws of Saudi Arabia have become more flexible. Well, this is not entirely right.
Foreign women can travel around the country independently, and alone — I have already how to tell a cut is infected count of all the women who asked me if they can go there by themselves.
Yes, you can travel to Saudi Arabia as a woman, by yourself. Would it be challenging? It would be different from being j man, indeed, but it is definitely legal. Single foreign women can also visit Saudi on a tourist visa — You can travel to Saudi with your unmarried boyfriend and even if you are hkw, no problem.
If you travel to Iranyou will see that the clothing rules are even more strict. Women can drive, including renting adabia car — From Junewomen can finally drive and, as hiw female tourist, you can also waudi it. Typically, Saudis are so easy to recognize because they wear the thawbwhich is the white traditional dress. Arabic is the official language. There is a large Shia population, as well. Remember that Saudis are very conservative, so try to be respectful and sensitive.
Before traveling to Saudi Arabia, I knew a lot of people who had been there on a business visa and the truth is that I am goo disappointed with all of them hkw they had told me:. Saudi people are extremely hospitable. From endless coffee and meal invitations to random people who insisted on showing me around the city, I seriously met some incredible locals, some of whom I can call now friends. Honestly, the experience was no different from the blessings of hospitality in PakistanOman or Iranno kidding.
I shared many short moments with so many locals tto there were two Saudis in particular who really changed the perspective of my trip.
First, I met Abdullah, an English teacher from Kharj. He picked me up when I was hitchhiking and drove me to a city which was 80km away and it was not his way. There, we met with one of his friends, we had lunch at his house and then we visited his camel farm. Abdullah taught me many interesting things about Saudi culture, especially their interpretation of Islam. Do you like extreme destinations? Read: How to travel to Syria. A few days after, I met Ibrahim, a real Saudi from Abha.
We met at the souk of Abha and, after having a chat, he invited me to his famous village named Rajal Alma. Ibrahim comes from a very traditional Saudi family his father was actually a famous Imam from the region but he married a Filipina girl, something quite unheard of from Saudis with a similar background. Like in any country, there saui loads of awesome people and, like in any off the beaten track Muslim country, most of them are extra-nice with foreigners. Whereas I fully understand their point, I think that their argument saui quite simplistic and it just lets you see one tiny side of the whole picture.
Please note that I am not trying to justify the use arabiw the niqab but I just wanted you to know that many Saudi women actually choose cna wear it. They choose to wear it because they think that how do animals know when to migrate is the right thing how to cite an internet article with no author do because the Quran says so.
They believe they need to wear it as much as men believe it. Obviously, there will be many cases of liberal Saudi women who will tell you a different story but I am just talking in generic terms. How to deal with women in Saudi — Now that every day you see more and more women working in public spaces, you are likely to talk to quite a few Saudi women who wear the niqab.
If you are a foreign woman, they will definitely be extra nice to you and, if you are on the countryside, expect them to invite you to their house. When I visited Sauvi, 1,km north of RiyadhI went there to work on an assignment for a local company and I was very lucky to be received by two atabia nice ladies wearing niqab.
I spent the whole day with them. They showed me around their province, we went to have some coffee and I arabiz went to their house where they fed me until I exploded. It was an enriching experience. For centuries, Muslims from all over the world came to Saudi on their journey to Mecca and, at some point, decided to settle there.
Over time, they became Saudi citizens and that is why, today, you find Saudis from all types of ethnicities. From Bedouin to East-African-looking people and even the cultural-Yemeni-like people from the south of the country, in Jizan, Saudi is the most multi-ethnic Arab country.
Before visiting Saudi, I was traveling in Oman for 1 month. In Oman, I felt that, after day 2, I had already tasted all the local food, which was always simplified to different variations of rice with meat, chicken or fish. Sahdi, I tasted one or qrabia different local dishes in some houses and the rest was all Indian food.
Passengers with an exit/entry, work, residence, or visit visa issued by Saudi Arabia The government has launched a website allowing airlines to check the validity of exit/entry visas for residents of Saudi Arabia. This way airlines can ensure that only travelers who meet the entry criteria board flights bound for the country. Travel Restrictions to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia suspended the entry of travelers from the United States and 19 other countries, as well as travelers who have been in the United States or the 19 other countries within 14 days prior to seeking entry into Saudi Arabia. Saudi citizens, diplomats, health practitioners and their families are exempt. Jul 18, · Getting around in Saudi Arabia. Different cities of Saudi Arabia are linked by domestic flights, to make the tour faster for foreign tourists. The network of roads is also highly upgraded to enable smooth traffic flow from one place to another of this country, among which King Fahed Gateway and Corniche are the notable ones.
View Alerts and Messages Archive. A valid passport is required for U. More than 16, USD must be declared. Customs details are here. Tourist visas may be obtained in advance of travel or upon arrival at an international airport. All other types of visas, including five-year multiple entry tourist visas, are only available through a Saudi embassy or consulate.
Further information can be found on the website of the U. Mission in Saudi Arabia. Saudi law requires all Saudi citizens to enter and depart the country with a Saudi travel document. If you enter the country on a Saudi laissez-passer temporary travel document , you may encounter difficulty leaving the Kingdom.
Saudi embassies do not have the authority to adjudicate citizenship claims or issue passports, but they may issue a laissez-passer for presumed Saudi citizens for whom citizenship has not been adjudicated, such as children of a Saudi parent or parents who were married outside of Saudi Arabia. Once admitted to Saudi Arabia on a laissez-passer, the traveler must obtain a Saudi passport before leaving the country. Saudi nationality is not conferred quickly or easily, and the processing time for a Saudi passport in these cases has often been six months or years in some cases.
Obtaining a U. The Department strongly recommends that U. Length of Stay: Bearers of tourist visas are generally admitted for a day stay and may not remain in the Kingdom more than days in a twelve month period.
Carefully check your visa validity and length of stay granted, and clarify any questions on permitted length of stay with Saudi immigration officials on arrival. Dates are calculated in accordance with the Hijri calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar. The U. Embassy is unable to intercede, reduce fines, or prevent incarceration if you violate Saudi law. Travel Bans: When placed under a travel ban, you cannot exit the country, even if you are a U.
Travel bans are rigidly enforced and can take months or even years to resolve. Only Saudi Arabian authorities and sponsors can remove travel bans. The list above is not exhaustive.
Private Saudi citizens may also initiate travel bans against foreign citizens for various reasons. Residency Permits: If you are seeking residency in Saudi Arabia, make sure you have all required legal documents authenticated before arriving.
Neither the U. Embassy in Riyadh nor the U. Consulates General in Jeddah or Dhahran can provide this service. You should have all U. Work Visas: If you plan on working in Saudi Arabia, you must obtain a work visa before you arrive.
This can include the ability to prevent the employee from leaving the country. You risk substantial financial penalties, detention, deportation, and a ban from returning to Saudi Arabia if you work without legal permission. Additionally, without a work visa, there would be no legal grounds to pursue a case against an employer should a dispute arise.
Please inquire directly with the Embassy of Saudi Arabia before you travel. Yemen Travel: The Department strongly advises U. See our Yemen Travel Advisory for further information. A visa is required to enter Saudi Arabia, and Saudi authorities generally do not permit foreign citizens to enter Saudi Arabia using land border crossings from Yemen.
The Embassy and Consulates General cannot provide assistance to U. Qatar Travel: All land border crossings with Qatar have been closed, and there are no direct flights between Saudi Arabia and Qatar due to an ongoing political dispute between Saudi Arabia and Qatar since June The Department of State advises you to exercise increased caution when traveling to Saudi Arabia due to terrorism and the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian targets.
See the Travel Advisory for Saudi Arabia here. Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in Saudi Arabia. Terrorists have targeted both Saudi and Western government interests, mosques and other religious sites both Sunni and Shia , and places frequented by U.
Houthis operating in Yemen have fired long-range missiles into Saudi Arabia, specifically targeting populated areas and civilian infrastructure; they have publicly stated their intent to continue doing so. Rebel groups are also in possession of unmanned aerial systems UASs or drones which they have used to target civilian infrastructure and military facilities in Saudi Arabia. For more information, U.
You can find additional details relating to safety and security in our Travel Advisory and Alerts and the website of the U. Crime: Crime in Saudi Arabia has increased over recent years but remains at levels far below most major metropolitan areas in the United States. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting the crime. When reporting domestic violence, it is imperative to get a case reference number as all Saudi social and legal assistance is tied to this case number.
It is also a good idea to document any injuries and obtain a copy of any medical reports. Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Dual Citizenship: Saudi Arabia generally does not recognize dual nationality.
Saudi law requires Saudi citizens to obtain official permission from the government before obtaining a second nationality. At times, Saudi authorities have confiscated the passports of U. This does not constitute loss of U. If this happens to you or someone you know, report the incident to the U. Arrest Notification: If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U. Embassy or consulate immediately. Be aware that Saudi Arabia generally restricts consular notification of the arrest of foreigners to the Embassy of the country that issued the travel document used to enter the Kingdom.
If you enter Saudi Arabia with a Saudi travel document, or with the passport of a country other than the United States, it will be extremely difficult for the U. Embassy to provide consular services if you are subsequently detained. Persons detained in Saudi Arabia may be held without charges for lengthy periods and denied access to counsel; dual citizens may not have consular assistance.
A customs clearance certificate authorizing importation can be obtained as part of the GACA approval process. Criminal Penalties: While in Saudi Arabia, you are subject to local laws. If you violate Saudi laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled; arrested; imprisoned; held without trial for lengthy periods of time; interrogated without counsel; subject to corporal punishments, including lashings; or executed.
Penalties for the import, manufacture, possession, and consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs in Saudi Arabia are severe. Convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences, heavy fines, public floggings, and deportation. The penalty for drug trafficking is death. Furthermore, some laws are prosecutable in the United States regardless of local law. For examples, see our webpage on crimes against minors abroad and the Department of Justice website.
There are substantial limitations on freedom of speech and political expression in Saudi Arabia. Faith-Related Travel Issues: Islam is the official religion of the country and is present in all aspects of life in Saudi Arabia. See our Hajj and Umrah Fact Sheet. Violations of Saudi laws governing perceived expressions of, or support for, same-sex sexual relations, including on social media, may be subject to severe punishment. Potential penalties include fines, jail time, or death.
Travelers Who Require Accessibility Assistance: Individuals with disabilities may find accessibility and accommodation very different from what is generally found in the United States. Saudi law does not prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities, and there is no legislation requiring public accessibility. Newer commercial and government buildings, however, often include such access.
According to the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, there are numerous government-sponsored centers for people with disabilities. Note that Saudi Arabia has limited infrastructure to care for those with mental disabilities. Women Residents and Travelers: Married women, including non-Saudis, require their husband's permission to depart the country, while unmarried women and children require the permission of their father or male guardian.
Children visiting their fathers in Saudi Arabia, even when there is a custody agreement, can be prevented from leaving unless the father consents. This is true even if the child is an American citizen. If a foreigner and a Saudi living in Saudi Arabia divorce, Saudi courts rarely grant permission for the foreign parent to leave the country with the children born during the marriage, even if he or she has been granted physical custody.
Foreign mothers of Saudi children, who are divorced or widowed, may apply for a permanent residency permit iqama without the need for a sponsor. To do so, they must prove maternity and that they were legally married to the Saudi father. Employment: The Arabic text of a contract governs employment and business arrangements under Saudi law. Verbal assurances or side letters are not binding under Saudi law.
In the event of any contract dispute, Saudi authorities refer to the written contract. Teaching English in Saudi Arabia: In recent years, increasing numbers of American language teachers have experienced contractual and other problems.
Some teachers have complained about arbitrary dismissals, difficult living conditions, salary arrears, unwanted reassignments, restrictions on their movement, and inability to leave the country. Additionally, prospective teachers should also take care to make sure that they obtain the appropriate work visa prior to coming to Saudi Arabia.
The Embassy cannot help you if you violate Saudi labor law. In most areas of Saudi Arabia, and particularly in Riyadh and the central part of the Kingdom, women wear a full-length covering known as an abaya. Most women in conservative areas also cover their hair with a hijab for modesty, and many also cover their faces with a niqab.