GCC Laws
Saudi Arabia
Visa Policy

Visa Policy

Q. What is the difference between an Iqama and a visa?
An Iqama is a work permit that allows a foreign national to engage in long-term employment activities, while a visa is a visitor’s pass that allows a foreign national to visit another country for a short, specified period of time.

Q. What are the visa requirements for Saudi Arabia?

To secure a visa, employees must have a sponsor in Saudi Arabia. While the sponsoring employer manages most of the application process, the prospective employee is required to provide all necessary documents for the visa application.

As per the Saudi labor laws, these provisions must be met: 

  • Securing a work permit as per form and procedures prescribed by the Saudi Minister of Labor.
  • Obtaining the Saudi Minister of Labor's approval.
  • Entering Saudi Arabia legally and satisfying all relevant residency conditions.
  • Having skills or qualifications needed in Saudi Arabia and shown to be lacking among Saudi nationals.
  • Having an employer contract, under a Saudi or non-Saudi employer, or being independently employed.

Q. What are the fees associated with the visa application, and are there any additional costs?
Applying for a temporary work visa in Saudi Arabia will cost SAR 1,000 (USD 266).

Q. Are there any specific health requirements, such as medical examinations or vaccination while applying for the KSA Visa?

Yes, as part of the visa application process, you may be required to undergo a medical examination to ensure you are free from contagious diseases.

Q. What is the processing time for Saudi work visa applications? 

Saudi work visas are usually processed between 3 weeks to 2 months, depending on the individual case. 

Q. What is the duration of the Saudi work visa's validity?
Typically, a Saudi job visa is valid for one year, but individual processing may result in a 3-month validity. These visas permit a maximum 90-day stay in Saudi Arabia, with the option for a 90-day extension.

Q. How long can Saudi work visas be extended?
Saudi work visas can be extended for an additional 90 days, totaling 180 days. It is advisable to apply for an extension early to prevent overstays upon the expiration of the current visa.

Q. How many types of visa are there in KSA?
There are three types of visas in Saudi Arabia:

  • Employment visas
  • Business visit visas
  • Family visit or residence visas

Q. Is there an online Visa application process in KSA, or do I need to apply in person?

The visa application process for Saudi Arabia varies by type. Tourist visas often have an online application option, while others, such as work visas, may require in-person submission.

Q. How much does the Iqama application and renewal cost?

The cost for getting or extending an Iqama is SAR 650. With the new renewal rules, employers can now pay it in installments based on how long they want the renewal to be. 

Q. Is it possible to convert a visit visa to a work visa in Saudi Arabia?

It's not permissible by law. If you arrived in Saudi Arabia on a regular visa and secured a job, you need to go back to your home country and initiate the standard work permit application process to be formally employed.