SAUDI ARABIA: New Format for Work and Commercial Visit Visas [Updated 19 Nov 2019]

With no official announcement or explanation, Saudi consular authorities have recently begun issuing Work Visit and Commercial Visit Visas in a new format, labelled “Business Visa”, and with the note, “not permitted to work” or similar.

However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia is still issuing Work Visit and Commercial Visit letters of invitation (LOI) to host companies.

Moreover, Saudi consular officials have confirmed to CIBT Visas that the new visa format does not affect the work activities permitted to Work Visit Visa holders, and only indicates that this type of visa is not intended for resident foreign workers with a long-term employment contract with a Saudi employer.

[UPDATE 19 November 2019]

Newland Chase understands from various sources that, once applicants issued with a Work Visit Visa invitation letter and a new-format Business Visa have arrived in Saudi Arabia, the applicant or the employer’s Government Relations Officer GRO) can visit the immigration office to request a temporary work authorization.  The applicant must submit a copy of their passport (with visa page and border entry number), letter of invitation and a letter of application, and pay an online fee.

However, there is no official confirmation from the authorities that this is the correct way to proceed.

Newland Chase and CIBT Visas will continue to monitor the situation and will update this post with further information from Saudi consulates.

Our Advice

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

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to Saudi Arabia, please contact us here