Saudi universities are appealing for study abroad students to apply for student visas because of their world-class technology and research departments and their generally free tuition.
The Saudi government has pushed for investment in domestic universities, reversing the trend of Saudi nationals being funded to attend universities in the United States, Europe, and Canada.
Scholarships are available for students worldwide at newer universities, such as the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
The first step toward studying in the Kingdom is contacting the school or program of interest and following the application guidelines. Most programs require a scholarship for international students, making them quite competitive. You must still apply for a student visa even if accepted into the program.
Student visas, above all, allow international student to access their scholarships. Admitted students may not be granted visas at the Saudi embassy, causing them to lose their place at the school.
As a result, students must follow instructions carefully for the visa application process. Student visas typically allow for multiple re-entries if the student does not spend more than 13 months outside the Kingdom.
Do you want to know how to apply for a student visa in Saudi Arabia? Maybe you’ve applied before but have been rejected, and you’re wondering what went wrong. This is where you need to be; this article was tailor-made for you.
Here you will find everything you need to know and everything you need to do to apply for a student visa in Saudi Arabia the right way. Make sure you read to the end to get a complete understanding of how to apply for a Saudi Arabia student visa.
Types of Student Visa in Saudi Arabia
Student visas in Saudi Arabia are not uniquely categorized. But regardless of this, I’ll be showing you other types of visas types available in Saudi Arabia.
1. Saudi Arabia e-visa
Since introducing the Saudi Arabian e-visa, passport holders from over 40 countries have been able to enter the Kingdom through a streamlined online process.
Anyone not exempt from visa requirements but not qualify for an e-visa must apply for a Saudi Arabian visa at their Embassy or Consulate. An e-visa can be issued for tourism, family visits, or business purposes.
In addition to the nationality requirements, you must meet the following criteria to be eligible for the Saudi Arabia e-visa:
- You must be at least 18 years old (minors have to travel accompanied by an adult)
- You must have a valid email address.
- Your passport must be valid for at least six months.
- You must enter Saudi Arabia using the same passport that you applied for.
Steps on how to Apply the e-Visa
If you are eligible for an e-visa, you have to apply through the official tourism website of Saudi Arabia. The application process for a Saudi Arabia e-visa is simple. You will need to:
- Visit the e-visa application website.
- Click the “Apply Now” button.
- Fill out the Saudi Arabia Visa Application Form
- Pay the Saudi Arabia visa fee.
- Give some time for the e-visa processing (it usually only takes about 30 minutes)
- After receiving the e-visa, you can print it and use it to enter the country within 90 days.
Keep in mind that before your entry to Saudi Arabia, immigration will check your visa.
You do not need to upload any documents when applying for a Saudi Arabia online visa. All you have to do is provide your correct passport information and answer a few security-related questions.
You must provide your passport information and answer all questions truthfully. During the screening, all questions should be answered without false information. If you provide any false information, you will not enter.
The Saudi Arabia e-visa is valid for one year and allows multiple entries. You may stay for up to 90 days per entry but no more than 180 days per year.
2. Saudi Arabia Tourist Visa
They issue Tourist Visas for Saudi Arabia to foreign visitors who intend to visit the country for leisure. They give Tourist Visas for Saudi Arabia to citizens of a variety of countries either online or on arrival.
So, those not eligible for an eVisa/Visa On Arrival must instead apply at a Saudi Arabian Embassy or Consulate.
You can read this: How To Get an Isreal Student Visa | Step To Step Procedures
3. Saudi Arabia Business Visa
Foreigners visiting Saudi Arabia for business can enter the country using an e-visa. Suppose you are not eligible for an e-visa. In that case, you can apply for a regular Saudi Arabia Business Visa at a Saudi Arabian Embassy/Consulate near you, in which case you must provide the following supporting documents:
- Your employer’s letter, addressed to the Embassy of Saudi Arabia, where you are applying, confirms that you are traveling on business.
- Letter of Invitation from the Saudi company
- Company registration documents from both the inviting company in Saudi Arabia and the company you work for in your home country.
4. Saudi Arabia Visit Visa
A visit visa to Saudi Arabia is issued to foreigners who wish to visit a family member or pay a personal visit to the Kingdom.
If you are traveling to Saudi Arabia for a family visit from one of the permitted countries, you can use an e-visa. If you are not eligible for the e-visa, you must apply for a Saudi Arabia Visit Visa at an Embassy/Consulate in Saudi Arabia.
5. Saudi Arabia Transit Visa
If you are transiting through Saudi Arabia on your way to another country, you must have a Saudi Arabia visa unless you meet the following conditions:
- You are flying into Dammam (DMM), Jeddah (JED), or Riyadh (RUH) airports.
- Within 12 hours, you have a confirmed onward flight ticket to a third country.
- You do not leave the airport’s international transit area.
- You have all of the necessary documents for the next country (e.g., a visa)
6. Saudi Arabia Umrah Visa
Muslim pilgrims only used the Saudi Arabia Umrah Visa from all over the world who wished to enter Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj or Umrah. The Hajj Visa is free of charge at Saudi Arabia’s embassies and consulates worldwide.
The requirements needed for a Saudi Arabia Hajj Visa are as follows:
You must meet the standard visa-issuance requirements, which are as follows:
- You must have a valid passport; the validity period must be up to six months.
- Evidence of lodging in Saudi Arabia
- A round-trip airline ticket
- A passport-sized photograph (s)
- You must get immunized against meningitis.
- For children aged 5 to 15: Polio and meningitis vaccinations
- Vaccination against polio and meningitis for children under the age of 15
- Vaccination against seasonal flu and meningitis for children over the age of 15
- For pilgrimage services such as housing at the Holy sites, guides, transportation, and so on, you must submit two certified checks or cashier’s checks to the ‘Unified Agents Office in Jeddah.
- For females: Traveling with a Mahram is a requirement, as is submitting proof of kinship.
- If she travels with an organized group and has a letter of approval from her husband, brother, or son, a woman over 45 may travel alone.
- You must not have received a Hajj Visa within the last five years.
Remember that those who qualify for a Saudi Arabia e-visa can also use it to enter the Kingdom to perform Hajj/Umrah.
7. Saudi Arabia Work Visa
Suppose you are going to Saudi Arabia to work. In that case, you must apply for a Saudi Arabia Work Visa (also known as an Employment Visa) at one of the country’s embassies or consulates.
However, your employer in Saudi Arabia must first obtain a work permit for you. The procedure is as follows:
- Your employer applies to the Ministry of Labor for your Work Permit.
- If the application is approved, the Ministry of Labor informs the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who then issues a Visa Authorization Number.
- You must apply for a Saudi Arabia Work Visa at the nearest embassy or consulate.
The Saudi Arabia Work Visa requirements vary depending on the situation, but they typically include the following:
- Work Visa Documentation Authorization from the Saudi Ministry of Labor or a Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs branch.
- The Saudi Chamber of Commerce and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs certified a sponsorship letter from a Saudi Arabian company.
- A duplicate of your employment contract
- A certified medical practitioner’s report states you are not infected with contagious diseases. The published report must have been within the previous three months.
- Clearance from the police, issued within the last six months
- Academic credentials/diplomas
After receiving your Saudi Work Visa and entering the Kingdom, you must apply for a Residence Permit from the Ministry of Labor.
8. Saudi Arabia Student Visa
To obtain a student visa in Saudi Arabia, you must first get accepted into a Saudi educational institution. The school must then apply to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for permission to issue your Student Visa.
If the Ministry of Foreign Affairs approves the visa, you can apply at one of Saudi Arabia’s embassies or consulates near you.
It’s well-known that getting a student visa in Saudi Arabia recently is no longer a difficult process.
How do Students’ Visas Work in Saudi Arabia?
You can travel to Saudi Arabia and begin your studies once you have received your Student Visa (Residence Permit for Studying).
Apart from the visas for studying and residency, there are no other visas available for Saudi Arabia foreign students. The Ministry of Education only allows students to live in the country while studying.
It’s important to remember that most government universities are public universities, and most of them specialize in fields such as petroleum and health care.
Saudi citizens are usually entitled to free education and books. Many international students also study for free.
Since introducing the Saudi Arabian eVisa, passport holders from over 40 countries have been able to enter the Kingdom through a streamlined online process.
Anyone who is not exempt from visa requirements or does not qualify for an eVisa visa must apply for a Saudi Arabian visa at an Embassy or Consulate.
Requirements or Eligibility Criteria
You need the following requirements to obtain a student visa in Saudi Arabia.
- An original passport that will be valid for at least six (6) months and contain at least two (2) consecutive empty visa pages.
- A visa referral note indicating the number and expiration date of the visa issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs or one of its branches in Jeddah or Dammam.
- One (1) copy of the applicant’s original birth certificate and one (1) copy of the applicant’s original birth certificate.
- Your high school diploma or other prior academic credentials.
- A medical report in three copies, all lab results, and three (3) passport-sized colored photographs with a white background. A licensed physician must issue a medical report certifying that the applicant is free of contagious diseases. The physician must have signed all the medical report copies, including their license number and address. Medical reports must be no more than three (3) months old from the date they were issued.
Applicants under the age of 16 are exempt from submitting a medical report.
- A police report, issued within six (6) months of the application date, containing detailed information about the applicant’s criminal record if any.
Ways to Apply for a Student Visa
There are other ways to apply for the Visa
- Applying in person at the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s embassy.
- Mail to the Embassy at 601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Washington, DC, 20037.
- Through the authorized travel agencies of the Embassy.
Once you have gotten the visa and you are studying in Saudi Arabia, it is critical that you do not overstay your visa’s validity period and that you follow the country’s Islamic laws and regulations.
International students studying in Saudi Arabia should respect the society’s values and traditions and have a genuine reason to be there as a student.
When obtaining the necessary health insurance, be sure that the insurance you choose meets all of the requirements for your visa, as Saudi Arabia’s insurance requirements are highly regulated.
To avoid a difficult situation during a serious accident or illness, try to get a health insurance plan with an evacuation component. Compare each plan carefully to ensure you get coverage that will carry you through your time in Saudi Arabia.
How long is the Student Visa Valid?
Frequently, they grant short-term visas to students who plan to take a short course in a language or a diploma certificate course, with the total duration often limited to 90 days (3 months).
Long-term visas are usually granted to students who intend to pursue degree programs that last longer than three months.
Fees and Cost of Student Visa in Saudi Arabia
The visa fee for applying for a student visa in Saudi Arabia is SAR 50, but this fee is subject to change at any time. Furthermore, you must pay VAT at the applicable rates.
When applying at an Embassy or Consulate, the fee and preferred payment method are usually determined by the country you are applying to.
According to the most recent regulations, the visa fee should be paid only online when you opt to get a student visa in Saudi Arabia. The applicants cannot make offline payments.
How to apply for a Student Visa in Saudi Arabia
To apply for a student visa in Saudi Arabia, you’ll need to follow these steps:
- Go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
- From the main page, select (E-Services).
- A list of services will appear for you to choose from; click on one (Electronic Visas).
- Following that, a list of all-purpose travel visas will appear.
- Hover over (Study Visa Request).
- Complete the e-form.
- Follow up on the request’s status, which usually takes three days.
Students’ Visa Processing Time in Saudi Arabia
Because the visa process for international students can take up to three months, depending on the country, I’ll strongly tell you to plan.
If you apply for your student visa in Saudi Arabia, it will take much less time.
Standard processing – Processing your visa application will take about 5 days for a fee of USD 180.00. (service fees included).
Rush processing – you will receive your visa in three days, and the total cost will be USD 207.50. (service fees included).
Can I get Students Visa in Saudi Arabia without IELTS?
You can, without a doubt, study in Saudi Arabia without taking the IELTS exam. Saudi Arabia, unlike many European countries, does not speak English.
Many international students can apply for scholarships in Saudi Arabia without taking the IELTS exam.
The submission of an IELTS certificate is not required to apply for admission and scholarships at KSA universities.
To meet the language requirements, candidates may also submit IELTS alternative tests like TOEFL, IBT, DET, Cambridge English Tests, PTE, etc.
Also, you can check this: How To Apply For a Student Visa In Spain | Interview, Requirements, Permit
Working While Studying in Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia allows international students from all over the world to study, which allows you to deal with different cultures of people from all over the world.
If you decide to work in Saudi Arabia, it will be easy to deal with specialists because they have both local and non-local specialists.
Unfortunately, as a Saudi Arabian student, you are not permitted to work. International students who wish to work in Saudi Arabia must first find work, after which the potential employer will apply for the necessary work permit.
For international students, there are innumerable opportunities for post-graduate employment in Saudi Arabia.
It’s wonderful to know that Saudi students studying abroad receive a small stipend from the government to help fund their education.
All Saudi students studying abroad, whether on government or private scholarships, will receive $2,000 each.
Frequently Asked Questions
A student visa is a special passport endorsement issued by the government to students.
Students must enroll in a qualified educational institution before applying for a visa. Student visas are always given for the period it takes the student to complete his/her course of study, program, or work assignment.
Saudi Arabia is emerging as a strong hub for higher education, particularly in STEM programs, with 29 Saudi Arabian universities ranked in the top 100 of the QS University Rankings: Arab Region 2021 and four universities ranked in the global top 250 in the QS World University Rankings by Faculty for engineering and technology.
King Abdul-Aziz University is one of Saudi Arabia’s free universities for international students.
KAU is the best university in the country and the 25th best young institution in the world.
Every month, students can expect to pay around USD 1500. But tuition fees are relatively low and occasionally free.
Furthermore, funding opportunities exist, and some universities, such as King Abdullah University (which offers up to USD 30,000 in expenses), even provide living expenses.
To pursue higher education, Saudi Arabia offers high-quality study programs. To access these programs in Saudi Arabia, you’ll need to get a Student Visa in Saudi Arabia.
The instructions in this article show that getting a student visa in Saudi Arabia is not a hard process.
All you need to do is prepare all the necessary documents and follow the instructions given correctly. Best of luck with your application, and have a wonderful time as an international student.
Having read this article that describes how to get a student visa in Saudi Arabia, you can also look at how to get a student visa in Canada to explore your options.