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New Saudi Transit Visa 2023 -Free Umrah & Accommodation

The exciting news is that the new Saudi transit visa is a pretty cool idea. It is not a new concept, as many other airlines and countries have done it before, but it is a great way to save money by getting a free Saudi visa, performing Umrah and going on your holiday. 

Over the years, Saudi Arabia has done a good job of improving and welcoming visitors into the country. Their vision for 2023 is to actually have 25 million visitors this year, which is impressive, and I know many will be Muslims. 

Saudi arabia transit visa

As a part-time resident of Saudi Arabia and someone who has written and paid close attention to everything Umrah I am impressed with the improvements in the country. 

Saudi has so many amazing places to visit and explore that offer Islamic heritage as well, and I feel that sometimes Muslim pilgrims miss this opportunity as they concentrate on Makkah and Medinah only.

The Saudi tourist visa which I covered extensively, was a great introduction, but I am truly very excited about the new Saudi transit visa because Saudi Arabia has been a great black horse for great deals over the years. I cover some of the tips and tricks in my DIY Umrah book on how to save on your Saudia flights. 

Who is the New Saudi Arabia Transit Visa for?

saudi arabia transit visa

It is for everyone who is transiting through Saudi Arabia and has booked a ticket with either Saudi Arabia or FlyNas, which is the budget carrier of the country. 

I have flown with FlyNas from France, which is a great budget option with good transit times from the UK. 

Normally if you transited the country and had a long layover of, let’s say, 12 hours and you wanted to get out of the airport and perform Umrah, you would have needed either an Umrah visa or a Tourist visa. 

Now with this new visa, you can issue it for free while actually purchasing your ticket. 

How does the Saudi stopover visa works 

The concept is pretty easy to navigate, actually, and I have taken all the steps here to show you. There are a few things I am not clear about, which I will explain below, but Saudia has actually made this process so much easier. 

They have changed their website, and how they show flights which before has been harder to navigate since, trust me, I have looked at stopovers over the years because it is how I did an Umrah once. 

Here are the rules directly from the Saudi Airlines website.

Here are the rules on FlyNas which also has a very helpful FAQ

Steps to book a stopover visa with SAUDIA

  1. Select your international departure and arrival destinations.
  2. Choose your flights with the most suitable connection time for you, up to a maximum of 96 hours.
  3. If you do not have a valid document to enter Saudi Arabia, Apply for a stopover visa from the additional services page on the SAUDIA website.
  4. Make sure to prepare your personal photos on your device according to the required specifications (200 * 200px file size -20kb) before you start filling out the form.
  5. Pay the fees for the ticket and visa in one step on the SAUDIA website
  6. After completing the previous steps, you will receive an email with the issued visa and insurance for the duration of your stay in Saudi Arabia.

They also offer FREE accommodation for 24hrs (one night), but I am not very clear on how to issue that and book. 

What are the transit visa requirements? 

  • The residence period is 96 hours, and its validity is 90 days from the date of its issuance. 
  • The stopover visa is not extendable.
  • The number of stopover times allowed for a single visa is one trip, as another stopover visa is required in the event that there are additional trips that require a stopover in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia again.
  • Visa fees, electronic service fees, medical fees, and insurance fees for an individual are calculated and prepared according to the visa regulations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • Obtaining the electronic stopover visa does not necessarily guarantee entry to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as the documents will be checked by the passport officer to verify the validity of the information that was submitted.

Conditions for granting an electronic transit visa

  • Passport with 6 months minimum validity 
  • A ticket with Saudi Airlines or FlyNas to onward journey. 

It has become apparent from the comments and people trying to book the transit visa that it only works if

1. You book your flight within the 90 days requirement

2. You issue your visa at the same time as your flight.

People at the moment cannot issue their visa once their ticket is processed and nobody, Saudia or the Tourist office can help. So keep this in mind if you are planning on using it.

Step-by-Step Issuing Saudi Transit Visa 2023

I, of course, when ahead and did a dummy booking and application process to see how easy it is to issue the visa. Have to say I am impressed. 

Initially, it wouldn’t show me the option and let me proceed, but I did use an alternative browser, and it got fixed, so if you have that problem clear your cookies and or try another browser. 

Also, the good news is there are some flights from London to Dubai for as little as £360 return in September, which is a very good deal. 

1. Step – Go ahead and look for your best flight option

step by step proccess for issuing saudi layover visa

As I mentioned above, they have made this easy by showing you all the available options. Make sure you book a transit in Jeddah (JED) for Umrah and not Riyadh (RUH)

2. Find the layover you want and add your details 

Find the flights and times you want and proceed to add your details. After adding your details, you will be taken to a page with seats and extras. 

step by step saudi airlines free visa

3. Extras- Issue your Transit Visa 

There you will go through the process of asking you questions and uploading your digital photo ( which si ok taken on a phone – make sure you resize it and upload it).

step by step easy saudi transit visa application

I couldn’t go through with this because I already have residence and because I don’t want to create an issue for myself. Also, the passport and expiration are dummies, so they are not real in the photo. 

4. Issue the visa 

step by step transit e visa saudi arabia 2023
application process for visa
add your details
confirmation for layover visa saudia
submit your details for the visa

The visa application takes a few minutes and is issued within a few minutes and will be emailed to you. You then proceed to make a booking of your selected flight. 

Few Things I am not clear about 

The transit visa is valid for 90 days, which means you will have to have booked your flight within those days to issue it on the spot. Now the dummy booking I did was for September, so over six months in advance, and it still let me add it, so I guess it might work. You don’t want to risk it. 

Many people book their flights way longer in advance so having this clarified will help. 

I didn’t see an option where you can issue the transit visa if you have a ticket with Saudia or Flynas and you just issued the transit visa 90 days prior to your flight. 

Another thing is many people book flights via third-party websites like Skyscanner for slightly lower prices. In this case, it says the flight needs to be booked with Saudia and FlyNas, so how would this work unless it is booked via their site? 

I can see this benefit since, this way; they don’t pay commissions to third-party providers and streamline the process if they make their prices competitive. There is no need to book but direct.

Also, a clarification on the process for the accommodation would be helpful since it is for 24 hrs but doesn’t explain how it is booked.

Overall I think the Saudi transit visa is a fantastic thing and makes Umrah even cheaper. I am excited to clarify these points and see how it progresses. 

I will be updating this article to keep up with new developments, and if you have booked a flight with the transit visa, please let me know the process as well. 

More articles you might like

The Saudi tourist visa 2023 – Updated

The Best DIY Umrah Packages Done for You

DIY Umrah in Ramadan Packages 2023

My 8 Best Money Saving Travel Tips for 2023

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UJ

Thursday 9th of May 2024

I booked my tickets on the Saudi website an opted for the transit on the returning leg. Their website has to be one of the worst in the world. Truly. After many many headaches to make flights and payment process, we called them and even they said the website sucks, try our app. So we booked via the app.

Now if you book your flight using the app, you cannot book the transit visa. So we didn't. I booked my flight in Feb 2024 for journey in August 2024. Now it's May 2024 and I went back into my itinerary and purchased the transit visas. It was an absolute pain because even if your photo meets the upload requirement, the website doesn't work. We tried dozens of times for all passengers in the family...sometimes it worked right away, other times it took 100 tries....their website is awful. Nonetheless, when we finally were able to upload photos, we received the visas via email within the hour with 90 day validity.

So this transit visa def does make it easier for people to do Umrah and maybe tour the country if they like. However, I would be willing to pay them to fix their website!

Muslim Travel Girl

Friday 10th of May 2024

I have to agree with you totally! Their website is so bad, and they definitely have the money to fix it!!!

Ming

Saturday 29th of July 2023

Assalamualaikum, may I ask what should i fill in on ‘visa number’ column in Nusuk’s application? I have added the transit visa via Saudi Airlines website… I couldnt find the visa number for Nusuk app’s registration..

Muslim Travel Girl

Tuesday 1st of August 2023

it should be on an email they sent with the visa details

WA

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

I have been granted a 4-day Umrah visa for 3 days, and I plan to perform Umrah. My flight is with Saudi Airlines, departing from London on 16th September to Jeddah and then continuing to the destination on 19th September.

However, I noticed that my Umrah visa states a validity period from 18th June 2023 (the date of visa purchase) to 16th September 2023 (the date of arrival). I am a bit confused as to why the validity ends on 16th September 2023, even though I will be staying in KSA for a couple of days beyond that date.

My flight is scheduled to arrive in Jeddah on 16th September at 11.55 PM. I am concerned that if there are any unforeseen delays, my arrival date might change to 17th September, which would be beyond the expiration date of my Umrah visa.

I would greatly appreciate it if you could kindly shed some light on this matter and provide guidance on how this situation will be handled. I want to ensure a smooth and compliant process for my Umrah visit and transit stay in Saudi Arabia.

Muslim Travel Girl

Wednesday 26th of July 2023

Your transit visa is only for 3 months (90 days). Personally i dont think you will have a problem. You enter the country on 16th just print a copy of your visa. Worst case you need to pay for tourist option but I doubt it. Do let me know how it goes please.

MZ

Friday 30th of June 2023

Salam.

Is there any updates on when would Umrah open after 'Hajj.

Is it possible to do Umrah using TRANSIT VISA around July 10 ?

Muslim Travel Girl

Monday 10th of July 2023

You can try if you are transiting.

Mohammed

Tuesday 9th of May 2023

Would anyone know if they would issue this stopover visa during the first week of July 2023? I was trying to make a reservation in the first week of July 2023 and saudia website allowed me to select a stopover visa. I read somewhere that Umrah is not allowed during the Hajj season, so how do I find out before paying for my reservation if the visa will be issued or not?

Shah

Tuesday 20th of June 2023

Salaaam sister@Muslim Travel Girl, my wife and I is flying to Oman with saudia airlines on the last week of July. During booking, we got the option to experience umrah during our 41 hrs layover in Jeddah and to process a transit visa (which we already opted). The nusuk app is all greyed out. Are we allowed to perform umrah with ihram in makkah towards the end of July between 27th to 30th?

Hope we can still be able to visit makkah. :(

Muslim Travel Girl

Wednesday 10th of May 2023

it is not allowed and first week is actually hajj so definitely wont be allowed to do Umrah. The stopover visa is for tourist as well as Umrah but the Umrah portion is closed you can visit Jeddah