Visit Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia, officially the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, is a country in Western Asia constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula. With a land area of approximately 2,150,000 km2 (830,000 sq mi), Saudi Arabia is geographically the largest sovereign state in Western Asia, the second-largest in the Arab world (after Algeria), the fifth-largest in Asia, and the 12th-largest in the world. Saudi Arabia is bordered by Jordan and Iraq to the north, Kuwait to the northeast, Qatar, Bahrain, and the United Arab Emirates to the east, Oman to the southeast and Yemen to the south; it is separated from Egypt and Israel by the Gulf of Aqaba. It is the only country with both a Red Sea coast and a Persian Gulf coast, and most of its terrain consists of arid desert, lowland and mountains. As of October 2018, the Saudi economy was the largest in the Middle East and the 18th largest in the world. Saudi Arabia also has one of the world's youngest populations: 50 percent of its 33.4 million people are under 25 years old.

Good to know

Languages
Arabic
Currencies
Saudi riyal (SR), SAR
Population
34.218.169 million
Time Zone
UTC+3
Visitors / year
16 million
Capital
Riyadh

More about Saudi Arabia

The territory that now constitutes Saudi Arabia was the site of several ancient cultures and civilizations. The prehistory of Saudi Arabia shows some of the earliest traces of human activity in the world. The world's second-largest religion, Islam, emerged in modern-day Saudi Arabia. In the early 7th century, the Islamic prophet Muhammad united the population of Arabia and created a single Islamic religious polity. Following his death in 632, his followers rapidly expanded the territory under Muslim rule beyond Arabia, conquering huge and unprecedented swathes of territory (from the Iberian Peninsula in the West to modern-day Pakistan in the East) in a matter of decades. Arab dynasties originating from modern-day Saudi Arabia founded the Rashidun (632–661), Umayyad (661–750), Abbasid (750–1517) and Fatimid (909–1171) caliphates as well as numerous other dynasties in Asia, Africa and Europe.

The area of modern-day Saudi Arabia formerly consisted of mainly four distinct regions: Hejaz, Najd and parts of Eastern Arabia (Al-Ahsa) and Southern Arabia ('Asir). The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded in 1932 by Ibn Saud. He united the four regions into a single state through a series of conquests beginning in 1902 with the capture of Riyadh, the ancestral home of his family, the House of Saud. Saudi Arabia has since been a totalitarian absolute monarchy, effectively a hereditary dictatorship governed along Islamist lines. The ultraconservative Wahhabi religious movement within Sunni Islam has been called "the predominant feature of Saudi culture", with its global spread largely financed by the oil and gas trade. Saudi Arabia is sometimes called "the Land of the Two Holy Mosques" in reference to Al-Masjid al-Haram (in Mecca) and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (in Medina), the two holiest places in Islam. The state's official language is Arabic.

Petroleum was discovered on 3 March 1938 and followed up by several other finds in the Eastern Province. Saudi Arabia has since become the world's second largest oil producer (behind the US) and the world's largest oil exporter, controlling the world's second largest oil reserves and the sixth largest gas reserves. The kingdom is categorized as a World Bank high-income economy with a high Human Development Index and is the only Arab country to be part of the G-20 major economies.

The state has attracted criticism for a variety of reasons including: its role in the Yemeni Civil War, sponsorship of Islamic terrorism, its failure to take adequate measures against human trafficking, and its poor human rights record, which has been characterized by the problematic treatment of women, excessive and often extrajudicial use of capital punishment, state-sponsored discrimination against religious minorities and atheists, state-sanctioned racism and antisemitism, and its strict interpretation of Sharia law.

The kingdom has the world's fifth-highest military expenditure and, according to SIPRI, was the world's second largest arms importer from 2010 to 2014. Saudi Arabia is considered a regional and middle power. In addition to the GCC, it is an active member of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation and OPEC.

VISA Requirements

The eVisa for Saudi Arabia is a mandatory electronic travel authorization for foreigners with a passport of any of the eligible countries. It was introduced by the Government of Saudi Arabia to reduce unnecessary time at the immigration offices and make it easier to cross the border.

The Saudi tourist eVisa is multiple-entry and valid for one year, allowing you to stay up to 90 days per visit.

Start Visa Application

Requirements for Saudi eVisa

Before applying, prepare the following information:

  • A passport valid for at least 6 months from the date of your arrival
  • Color Passport-size Photo
  • An email address
  • A valid debit or credit card

Be aware that getting an eVisa does not guarantee entry to the country. The immigration officers will review your request upon your arrival with the right to deny entering Saudi Arabia without any reason.

How to apply for an Electronic Visa

Now that you have all the documents ready, you just need to follow these easy steps:

  • Complete form with your details as they appear in your official documents
  • Introduce the details of your valid credit or debit card

Visa for Umrah

Many foreigners travelling to Saudi Arabia want to go through the country but also perform Umrah. Holding a tourist visa allows you to do both: the Umrah pilgrimage and also visit the best spots in the country.

Masjid al-Haram

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The Great Mosque of Mecca, commonly known as al-Masjid al-Ḥarām (Arabic: اَلْمَسْجِدُ ٱلْحَرَامُ‎, romanized: al-Masjid al-Ḥarām, lit. 'The Sacred Mosque'), is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in the city of Mecca, in the Hejazi region of Saudi Arabia. It is a site of pilgrimage for the Hajj, which every Muslim must do at least once in their lives if able, and is also the main phase for the ʿUmrah, the lesser pilgrimage that can be undertaken any time of the year. The rites of both pilgrimages include circumambulating the Kaaba within the mosque. The Great Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim, and the hills of Safa and Marwa.

The Great Mosque is the largest mosque in the world, and one of the largest buildings in the world by footprint area. The Great Mosque has undergone major renovations and expansions through the years. It has passed through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, and is now under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia who is titled the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

Kaaba

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The Kaaba (Arabic: كَعْبَة‎ kaʿbah IPA: [kaʕ.bah], "Cube"), also referred to as al-Kaʿbah al-Musharrafah (Arabic: ٱلْكَعْبَة ٱلْمُشَرَّفَة‎, lit. 'Honorable Ka'bah'), also spelled Ka'bah, is a building at the center of Islam's most important mosque, Great Mosque of Mecca (Arabic: ٱلْمَسْجِد ٱلْحَرَام‎, lit. 'The Sacred Mosque'), in the Hejazi city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia.[1] It is the most sacred site in Islam.[2] It is considered by Muslims to be the Bayt Allāh (Arabic: بَيْت ٱللَّٰه‎, "House of God"). Its location determines the qiblah (Arabic: قِبْلَة‎, direction of prayer). Wherever they are in the world, Muslims are expected to face the Kaaba when performing Salah, the five daily Islamic prayers.

One of the Five Pillars of Islam requires every Muslim who is able to do so to perform the Hajj (Arabic: حَجّ‎, Pilgrimage) at least once in their lifetime. Multiple parts of the hajj require pilgrims to make Tawaf (Arabic: طَوَاف‎, Circumambulation) seven times counter-clockwise around the Kaaba, the first three times fast, at the edge of the courtyard, and the last four times slowly, nearer the Kaaba. Tawaf is also performed by pilgrims during the ʿUmrah (Arabic: عُمْرَة‎, Lesser Pilgrimage). However, the most significant time is during the hajj, when millions of pilgrims gather to circle the building during a 5-day period. In 2017, the number of pilgrims coming from outside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to perform hajj was officially reported as 1,752,014 and 600,108 Saudi Arabian residents bringing the total number of pilgrims to 2,352,122. In the 2019 hajj, The Kingdom reported 2,489,406 foreign pilgrims and 634,379 domestic pilgrims (total 3,123,785).

Tirán Island

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Tiran (Arabic: جزيرة تيران‎ Jezîret Tīrān,[1] Jazīrat Tīrān, and Yotvat Island, is an island within the maritime borders of Saudi Arabia that was administered by Egypt in the past. However, sovereignty of the two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, was ceded officially to Saudi Arabia as part of a maritime borders agreement between Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The agreement subsequently was approved by the Egyptian Parliament and finally ratified by the Egyptian President on 24 June 2017.

The island is located at the entrance of the Straits of Tiran, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. It has an area of about 80 square kilometres (31 square miles). It is part of the Ras Muhammad National Park. The Straits of Tiran is Israel's only access from the Gulf of Aqaba to the Red Sea, and Egypt's blockade of the Straits of Tiran on 22 May 1967 was the casus belli for Israel in the Six-Day War.

Tiran Island is of strategic significance in the area, as it forms the narrowest section of the Straits of Tiran, which is an important sea passage to the major ports of Aqaba in Jordan and Eilat in Israel. Israel briefly took over Tiran Island during the Suez Crisis and again from 1967 to 1982 following the Six-Day War. The island is inhabited only by military personnel from Egypt and the Multinational Force and Observers (MFO).

Chisholm Point is a cape of Tiran Island.

Some sources report that many beaches on the island are mined.

Mada'in Saleh

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Hegra (Mada’in Saleh) (Arabic: مَدَائِن صَالِح‎, romanized: madāʼin Ṣāliḥ, lit. 'Cities of Salih'), also called Al-Ḥijr (ٱلْحِجْر) or "Hegra" (Ancient Greek: Ἔγρα), is an archaeological site located in the Sector of AlUla within Al Madinah Region in the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. A majority of the remains date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century AD). The site constitutes the kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after Petra (modern-day Jordan), its capital.[4] Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found.

The Quran places the settlement of the area by the Thamudi people during the days of Salih, between those of Nuh (Noah) and Hud on one hand, and those of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) on the other. However a definitive historical chronology can not be obtained through the order of verses due to the fact that the quranic chapters (see Surah) deal with different subjects in non-chronologic order.According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis were punished by Allah (God) for their practice of idol worship, being struck by an earthquake and lightning blasts. Thus, the site has earned a reputation as a cursed place—an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada'in Salih for its potential for tourism.

In 2008, UNESCO proclaimed Mada'in Salih as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia's first World Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented façades, of the Nabatean kingdom.

On 9 April 2016, the Egyptian government declared that Tiran and Sanafir Island fall within the territorial waters of Saudi Arabia, as codified in the maritime border agreement signed with the government of Saudi Arabia on the previous day. The agreement needs to be ratified by Egypt's Parliament, and has reportedly been quashed by an Egyptian judge. A court in its final ruling rejected the deal and affirmed Egyptian sovereignty over the islands in January 2017.

On 14 June 2017, Egypt's House Committee on Defence and National Security unanimously approved the transfer of Tiran and Sanafir islands to Saudi Arabia and the plan was passed by the Egyptian Parliament later the same day. On Wednesday 21 June 2017, Egypt’s top court temporarily halted all court verdicts on the agreement to transfer the two Red Sea islands to Saudi Arabia. Finally, on Saturday 24 June 2017, President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt ratified the agreement that cedes sovereignty over the two Red Sea islands, Tiran and Sanafir, to Saudi Arabia.

Abraj Al Bait

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The Abraj Al-Bait (Arabic: أبراج البيت‎, romanized: ʾAbrāǧ al-Bayt "Towers of the House") is a government-owned complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. These towers are a part of the King Abdulaziz Endowment Project that aims to modernize the city in catering to its pilgrims. The central hotel tower, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, has the world's largest clock face and is the third-tallest building and fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. The clock tower contains the Clock Tower Museum that occupies the top four floors of the tower.

The building complex is metres away from the world's largest mosque and Islam's most sacred site, the Great Mosque of Mecca. The developer and contractor of the complex is the Saudi Binladin Group, the Kingdom's largest construction company.It is the world's most expensive building with the total cost of construction totalling US$15 billion. The complex was built after the demolition of the Ajyad Fortress, the 18th-century Ottoman citadel on top of a hill overlooking the Grand Mosque. The destruction of the historically significant site in 2002 by the Saudi government sparked international outcry and a strong response from Turkey.