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1. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

I was wondering if it is possible to enter Saudi-Arabia. I noticed that it is only possible to get a business visa. Tourist visa's are not issued. Is there a way to get a visa in another way?

2. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 9y

You know Saudi is not on the way to Gambia right;)

But seriously...you can become a moslim and go for the hadj. The other options are to get an organized tour. There is actually a dutch organisation who has 8 day diving tours from Jeddah. But it's expensive and not worth the money if you want to skip the diving and see something. Search for diving or 'duiken' and saudi arabia and you will find it.
you can check the saudi airlines website, there is more over there.

And as far as I know, you can get a 3 day transit visa, for example if you want to drive you own car from Jordan to Dubai. But not if you want to bus it from Amman to Dubai. The reason is that if there is another way to get from Jordan to Dubai other than crossing Saudi, then you won't get that transit visa. But I guess having your own car is a valid reason.....unless they say you have to drive to Iran and get the boat to Dubai from there;)

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 30, 2007, at 12:09 PM by Utrecht ]

3. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

No. It's not a destination on my way to Gambia. But its a potential future destination. Unfortunately its even harder to entry Saudi then Iran. I hope that visa requirements will tighten down in the future. The travelling never stops. I should always be looking to the future;).

Although I hate travelling, you know what I mean....LOL

[ Edit: Edited on Jan 30, 2007, at 12:38 PM by wouterrr ]

4. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 9y

Quoting wouterrr

No. It's not a destination on my way to Gambia. But its a potential future destination. Unfortunately its even harder to entry Saudi then Iran. I hope that visa requirements will tighten down in the future.

We can drive my peugeot to Yemen, Oman or Bahrain and sell it over there. And you know: vodka is forbidden;)

5. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Quoting Utrecht

We can drive my peugeot to Yemen, Oman or Bahrain and sell it over there. And you know: vodka is forbidden;)

Seems like a great plan. Who knows we will do that in the future. The vodka part, yes its a downside. But I guess Saudi will be a drug to me anyway. The fact that its not easy to get in makes me even more interested and fascinated.

6. Posted by Utrecht (Moderator 5595 posts) 9y

Once in a while, I just look again to see what the visa regulations are. Several months ago I heard or read something that they want to loosen the visa regulations, so that individual travelers could travel there, except Mekka and Medina. But I haven't heard anything since then....maybe someone else?

7. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Wouterr - you are female and unmarried, right?

As of current, there are only two ways for unmarried females to get into SA:

1) On a very expensive, guided tour accompanied by a male relative ("mahram" -brother, uncle, father ) or if you are married, by your husband.

2) Business visa

I'm muslim, female and unmarried, and while I would love to go on Hajj, there is no way that I can get into Saudi Arabia. I've got no male relative to accompany me. The only, very slim chance I have is to find a Saudi company willing to employ me and give me a business visa to Saudi Arabia.

Trust me, getting a visa to Lybia or North Korea is easier than getting a visa for Saudi Arabia - for a woman.

The other options available to non-muslims are

3) a transit visa - driving a car from the Gulf states or Yemen to Europe. This is highly restricted and is not given to single women. If as a woman you want to take this trip, go with your hubby or another close male relative.

4) Independent tourist visa. Very rarely issued and to single males only. Fluency in Arabic is a requirement. Valid for only a few days. Best and about the only places to apply for it are the Saudi embassies in the Gulf states or in Yemen, maybe in Sudan too. It is similar to a transit visa, it only doesn't require that you drive a car through SA.

8. Posted by wouterrr (Travel Guru 3379 posts) 9y

Hi t_maia, this is very valuable information. Thank you very much. Btw I am male. Maybe you shouldn't say the way I look, but I am

9. Posted by aharrold45 (Travel Guru 1281 posts) 9y

I asked pretty much the same question on another travel forum and got a load of replies and all apart from one said that it wont be possible. One person claimed that him and his wife wanted to get a transit visa as they planned on driving from Switzerland-United Arab Emirates. The story which the person said went as follows:

"We applied for a transit visa at the Saudi embassy in Bern. We knew that transit visas were sporadically granted for some 3/4 days. We were personally there and explained to the visa officer our plans: Travelling by own car from Switzerland to the UAE thereby visiting places like Tabuk, Al Ula, Mada'in Saleh, Jeddah, Riyadh, Hofuf as individual tourists. The next day, we were again personally at the embassy, the officer indicated that for such a trip a transit visa would be too limiting and he had stamped a so called ,,round trip visa' in our passports which allowed us to stay 14 days in the country. We were perplex ..... The visa stipulated the port of entry and the port of exit. In between we were free to travel where we wanted. The visas had a validity of three months and cost around 35 US$ (for both !!!)."

So it appears in some extremely lucky cases it may be possible, but most like not possible. Someone even claimed they knew some very influential people in Saudi Arabia and even they had not been able to go there yet, so I wouldn't get your hopes too high!

According to some posts I have read on another travel forum, depending on who you get processing your visa for Iran it can be relatively easy (certainly in comparison to Saudi Arabia). It also seems to depend on your nationality, because Swiss citizens/passport holders can supposedly get an Iran visa with no problems at all. For other nationalities it is a bit harder or considerably harder.

Goodluck.

[ Edit: Edited on Feb 2, 2007, at 4:00 AM by aharrold45 ]

10. Posted by t_maia (Travel Guru 3289 posts) 9y

Well, that is the embassies in Switzerland for you!

Everwhere else it is "forget it", "no way" etc.

I heard something similar from a couple I met in Iran, they applied in person at the Iranian embassy in Bern. They got to meet the ambassador himself, not some lackey just taking orders. When they told them they wanted to travel through Iran by bike, they both got visa valid for 6 weeks, no questions asked. (Some people have all the luck.)