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Independent travel as tourist to Saudi - KSA

Independent travel as tourist to Saudi - KSA

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Old Apr 8, 19, 7:33 pm
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Smile Independent travel as tourist to Saudi - KSA

Iím an Australian Citizen and non-Muslim, and am wanting to travel independently to Saudi to see the archaeology sites.I can find newspaper reports of KSA opening to allow tourist visas, but I cannot find anything on the official government websites.Does anyone have any additional info or link that may help me
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Old Apr 16, 19, 7:26 pm
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I believe tourist visas are issued only for specific events, such as a Formula race. Fans (or maybe "fans" is more accurate!) can do other things while in the country. I guess you'll need to keep watching for something like that coming up.

In January 2018 I got a 5 year multiple entry business visa for Saudi Arabia. I am American. I used a visa agency. While very expensive, it was rather simple once I figured out what I needed to do.
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Old Apr 21, 19, 7:42 pm
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Originally Posted by g289t View Post
I believe tourist visas are issued only for specific events, such as a Formula race. Fans (or maybe "fans" is more accurate!) can do other things while in the country. I guess you'll need to keep watching for something like that coming up.

In January 2018 I got a 5 year multiple entry business visa for Saudi Arabia. I am American. I used a visa agency. While very expensive, it was rather simple once I figured out what I needed to do.
Could you please PM me whatever info you have and the cost? I'm a Saudi citizen who's a US permanent resident and one of my friends (a US citizen) has been wanting to get the Saudi business visa and so I'd like to know agency was able to deliver for you.

As for the OP's question, the Saudi government announced plans to implement an electronic tourist visa for certain nationalities that haven't been announced yet, though the US and Australia ought to be included. The authorities claim they'll start issuing these visas at some point in 2019 but there's no way to know, so set up a Google news alert for "Saudi visa" until they make an announcement. Your best bet is the Sharek visa for events but there aren't that many events that qualify for that visa yet. I think there have only been two from December until now.
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Old Apr 22, 19, 5:29 pm
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Originally Posted by Nayef View Post
Could you please PM me whatever info you have and the cost? I'm a Saudi citizen who's a US permanent resident and one of my friends (a US citizen) has been wanting to get the Saudi business visa and so I'd like to know agency was able to deliver for you.
Done. I sent you contact information of the visa agency I used, as well as a brief rundown of my experience getting the visa.
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Old May 1, 19, 5:45 am
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Originally Posted by Nayef View Post
Could you please PM me whatever info you have and the cost? .
Originally Posted by g289t View Post
Done. I sent you contact information of the visa agency I used, as well as a brief rundown of my experience getting the visa.
Why go down the PM route ? Surely, the point of public forums is others can benefit from information. Why keep the name of agency and the process out of the public domain ?
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Old May 1, 19, 7:13 am
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Originally Posted by JamesKidd View Post
Why go down the PM route ? Surely, the point of public forums is others can benefit from information. Why keep the name of agency and the process out of the public domain ?
I wanted to ask him about personal specifics in the PM but I'm sure he can share what he has. The it's still not feasible enough of a process because you have to have invitation letters from Saudi companies and a letter from a US company, and you can only get those if you're headed there on business, not tourism.
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Old May 1, 19, 10:32 am
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Originally Posted by JamesKidd View Post
Why go down the PM route ? Surely, the point of public forums is others can benefit from information. Why keep the name of agency and the process out of the public domain ?
I used Travel Visa Pro in Washington DC. You can contact them for more information, but you will need to get the Saudi business invitation yourself.

The process I used doesn't work anymore. I didn't want the details out in public, but it probably doesn't matter as much now that it cannot be used anyway. However, this also means that it's worthless information!
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Old May 3, 19, 3:20 pm
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USC here, formerly with a Saudi business visa (am I correct to assume it's no longer valid under my new passport, even though the visa "expires" in 2021?).

I was able to visit Riyadh, Jeddah, and Taif. Riyadh is...well, they have a national history museum to visit, though it's not well-promoted. Interesting modern architecture in that metropolis, too. For metro (subway) system fans, they're in the process of building the first lines. Saudi cities are not known for public transit, so this is big news...

On that note, Jeddah's cool. It has a refreshing Red Sea location, and some of its old town buildings are made of coral. Due to Jeddah being the main international entry point for pilgrims, there's a nice diverse selection of food throughout. (Not that it's in any way a touristy area, but "Karantina" - aka Quarantine - had some good Sudanese bbq and ful medames)

Taif has some very rugged terrain, and is not far from Jeddah. Hop on the cable car if you're in the area.
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Old May 7, 19, 5:01 pm
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Originally Posted by BuildingMyBento View Post
USC here, formerly with a Saudi business visa (am I correct to assume it's no longer valid under my new passport, even though the visa "expires" in 2021?).
Your visa is still valid. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that honors a valid visa in an expired passport. If you go to KSA, take both your expired passport with your Saudi visa and your new valid passport.

I have valid multi year multiple entry visas for India, China, Ghana, and Saudi Arabia in my expired passport. All of these countries honor valid visas in expired passports. Not all countries do though.
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Old May 7, 19, 6:06 pm
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@g289t, appreciate your reply. good to know! The NY consulate/DC embassy also said the same, but given how strict their entry requirements are (i.e. no "tourist" visa per se), I'm a bit nervous about taking a chance.

I wonder if Timatic has a print-out about this, because official government sites don't!
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Old May 7, 19, 8:55 pm
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As far as I know, as long as you have a valid visa and a US passport (bonus if you're caucasian, seemingly), the Saudi officers will just let you through no questions asked.
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Old May 12, 19, 6:47 am
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I went to the embassy open house event in DC last weekend and my first stop was the KSA embassy. Saudia had a nice display table and I asked the rep about tourist visas for US citizens. He had no helpful information. I then asked an embassy rep and he told me that 'something may be available in 2019', but he had no further information.
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Old May 12, 19, 7:28 am
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Originally Posted by lamphs View Post
I went to the embassy open house event in DC last weekend and my first stop was the KSA embassy. Saudia had a nice display table and I asked the rep about tourist visas for US citizens. He had no helpful information. I then asked an embassy rep and he told me that 'something may be available in 2019', but he had no further information.
Yeah, they're always about vague or abrupt announcements depending on how politically beneficial it is for them. They usually wait for something bad to happen on their part, followed by announcing something positive to "balance" things.

They first announced something late 2017 and said that tourist visas would be issued in April 2018. Obviously, that wasn't the case, and since then some officials have unofficially stated the names of countries that would qualify for tourist e-visas, but there's no telling what the list of countries will actually be or when they'll start issuing visas.

From a technical sense, they should be ready to issue them in 2019 since they tested the event e-visas two or three times now.
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Old May 24, 19, 12:46 am
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Thank you for the info everyone, ill just keep waiting
im half thinking when im in bahrain next to just go to the border and try, its worked for me in another country before.
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Old May 27, 19, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by Happydance206 View Post
Thank you for the info everyone, ill just keep waiting
im half thinking when im in bahrain next to just go to the border and try, its worked for me in another country before.
Good luck with that! I think KSA is one of the last countries where this would work. Kudos to you if you get through!

My visa specifies "air only", which means that I can only fly in and out. Technically I could not even cross the causeway between Bahrain and KSA, even though I have a valid visa. Anecdotal evidence suggests, however, that I could cross by land anyway, depending on the immigration officer I would happen to get at the border. I plan to try it if I ever get a chance.
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