SAUDI ARABIA: Work Visit Visa Eliminated

November 22, 2019

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

The Government of Saudi Arabia has not made an official announcement of this policy change.

Replaced With Business Visa

The Business Visa replaces the Work Visa Visa and the Commercial Visit Visa.  The Business Visa cannot be converted post-arrival to a work and residence permit like the Work Visit Visa.. 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.

We await a list of permissible activities under a Business Visa – which is likely to include sports and entertainment engagements, negotiating and signing agreements, and presenting lectures.

Our sources report that applicants issued a Business Visa and in possession of an invitation for a Work Visit Visa – or their employer’s Government Relations Officer GRO – may 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.

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 is extremely fluid until authorities confirm the new processes. 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 contact us.