SAUDI ARABIA: Work Visit Visa Eliminated

Newland Chase has been informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has privately confirmed that the Work Visit Visa (WVV) is no longer available.  The Business Visa now replaces it. Those currently in the Kingdom under a WVV can stay until the expiry date.

Note, however, there has not been an official public announcement of this change.

Replaced With Business Visa

Like the Work Visit Visa and the Commercial Visit Visa it replaces, the Business Visa that is now being issued cannot be converted post-arrival to a work and residence permit. Rather, a “Work Visa” is required for this.  Visitors holding Business Visas may receive financial honoraria, but they may not be employed by the sponsor.

However, a list of permissible activities under a Business Visa is being prepared by the Ministry of Labour – which is likely to include sports and entertainment engagements, negotiating and signing agreements, and presenting lectures. However, these activities are as yet unconfirmed.

Newland Chase understands from various sources that applicants already issued with a Work Visit Visa invitation letter and a new-format Business Visa – or their employer’s Government Relations Officer GRO – can visit the immigration office in Saudi Arabia 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. Again, there has yet to be official confirmation from the authorities that this is the correct way to proceed.

Newland Chase will continue to monitor the situation and will update this post with further information from the Saudi consulates. See also our previous alerts here.

Our Advice

The situation surrounding this unexpected change is extremely fluid until authorities officially confirm the new processes going forward. Employers who may be affected are strongly 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