SAUDI ARABIA: New Format for Work and Commercial Visit Visas

With no official announcement or explanation, Saudi consular authorities have recently begun issuing Work Visit and Commercial Visit Visas in a new format, which includes the phrase “not permitted to work” or similar wording. 

This has caused visa holders to question whether the rules regarding permissible work activities on Work Visit and Commercial Visit visas changed.  

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia is still issuing Work Visit and Commercial Visit letters of invitation to host companies. Moreover, Saudi consular officials have confirmed to Newland Chase that the new visa format does not affect the work activities permitted for Work Visit Visa holders and that the phrase in question only indicates that this type of visa is not intended for resident foreign workers with a long-term employment contract with a Saudi employer. 

Newland Chase will continue to monitor the situation and will update this post with further information, clarification, and guidance as we receive it from Saudi consulates.

Our Advice

Employers who may be affected are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Saudi Arabia, please email us at