How to get a visa for Saudi Arabia as a tourist

Floating mosque Jeddah

This article is outdated. In September 2019, Saudi Arabia decided to open up Tourist Visa for many nationalities. You can now get an eVisa very easily. Click here to find out if you’re eligible.


Many travellers would love to visit Saudi Arabia but the country only offers a few types of visa. The three common ones are Hajj visa, family visit visa and a business visa. There is no tourist visa and some have reported visiting the country for 2 days by using a transit visa, but the success ratio is very slim.

For an event in December 2018, Saudi Arabia opened up Sharek. This is a platform where you can buy tickets for large events and get an eVisa at the same time. It was first launched for the large formula E championship in Riyadh. A lot of travellers are waiting for the next Formula 1 championship in December, but this is not necessary. You canΒ  find other events on sharek.sa.

  1. First, look for an event with this symbol

  2. Choose your nationality and check that you’ll need an Events Visa.
  3. Choose your ticket.

 

This is exactly what I did to visit Saudi Arabia in July 2019. Upon arrival, they didn’t really know what to do at passport control, but after sending me to 4 different people, someone just stamped my passport and let me through. It was adviced by the website to have your entrance ticket with you during passport control but nobody asked for it.

It is important to know that the events are posted very late. I had my visa the last week of June to visit in the first week of July. A big disadvantage if you want proper planning, but Saudis prefer to arrange everything last minute it seems. I have seen events coming on the Sharek website the day before the event and eligible for the eVisa.

The event I made use of was part of the Jeddah Season 2019, an event organised by Saudi Arabia with many activities during the months June and July. It is rumoured that there will be a Riyadh Season in October 2019. If you are interested, stay tuned and check the Sharek website regularly!

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