SAUDI ARABIA: Additional Step for Business Visit Visa Applications

February 26, 2020

Applications for a Business Visit Visa for Saudi Arabia must now be supported by a pre-approval from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in addition to a Letter of Invitation from the sponsoring Saudi-registered entity.

Until recently, only female applicants required a pre-approval.

The sponsoring Saudi-registered entity must apply for the pre-approval once they have secured a letter of invitation (LOI). Obtaining pre-approval may take an additional 1-2 days.


In October 2019, Saudi consular authorities stopped issuing the Work Visit Visa and changed the name of the Commercial Visit Visa to “Business Visit Visa”. This visa only allows business activities and does not allow work – a Work Visa supported by a Saudi employment contract is now required for all work activities.

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 contact us.