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The Saudi tourist visa 2023 – Updated

This article has been updated on the 5th of August 2022 to provide you with the latest information required for the new Umrah season 2022 / 2023 starting now. 

If you want to read about how to issue your tourist visa please view the information below

There have been some significant changes to the process which is now simplified so please below. 

I know I started receiving many emails and comments on this so please keep in mind this is updated regularly and the process is checked through various sources. If you want to make your own checks please use the Saudi tourist (which is also where I verify things). 

Also if you want up-to-date changes please sign up for my mailing list and follow me on social media where I post the most updates straight away. 

Latest on Who can enter on a Saudi tourist visa

Saudi Arabia dropped a lot of the Covid requirements and during Ramadan 2022 they also dropped several as well like the Tawakalna app and the Covid vaccine. So you don’t need a vaccine to enter Saudi on a tourist visa.

These rules still apply today when travelling for Umrah on a tourist visa!! 

On the 9th of March 2022, the Ministry announced that they are removing all the previous rules which is fantastic news for those wanting to go for Umrah during this upcoming Ramadan2022.

For starters, there is no PCR test requirement anymore for you in order to board a plane to Saudi Arabia.

There is also no need to book through the Nusak (Eatmarna)app for prayers in Makkah and Medinah as well as for Rawdah visits.

You still need to book Umrah via Nusak (Eatmarna) however. 

You also don’t need to wear masks, but I would 100% recommend you keep your mask on during Umrah, especially at busy times. 

Going for Umrah 2022/2023 with the tourist visa

In short, if you are going for Umrah on a tourist visa (know the rules are different for an Umrah visa, to see the difference read here) this is what you need. 

Please note that Eatmarna changed its name to Nusuk, but it is the same app with the same functions. I will be updating the name but remember it is the same app and purpose.

  1. You definitely need your tourist visa
  2. If you are going with children no matter their age they will need a tourist visa as well. My daughter was 2 months when I issued hers. 
  3. You will need the Nusak app(previously called Eatmarna), which you can register by downloading the app and with a phone number from abroad well. You can book slots prior to arriving. 
  4. You don’t need the Muqeem app 
  5. You don’t need the Tawakalna app 
  6. You don’t need to be Covid vaccinated 
  7. You don’t need a meningitis vaccine with a tourist visa. 

If your Nusak app doesn’t show any slots please install and re-install sometimes it glitches. You will need the app to book both Umrah and Rawdah. 

The app is pretty easy to navigate. 

Below is an example of what Nusak(previously Eatmarna) looks like. 

Please note that this is like a traffic system, the red doesn’t mean it’s fully booked but that it is busy and it can be booked out. Also means that sometimes slots have been booked.

Yellow is semi-busy and green is available at all hours.

umrah availabilit march 2022

If you are planning an Umrah and want to save money on your trip then make sure to check out my book with gives you tips on how to save thousands on your Umrah.

Especially during Ramadan and peak travel seasons like school holidays and December.

Umrah with the New Transit Visa 2023

A game changer and a much cheaper option for those wanting a quick Umrah in under 4 days is to use the new free transit visa by Saudi. You do need a ticket with Saudia or Flynas but other than that you can save yourself some money especially if you don’t want to stay too long.

This is aimed as a stopover and also a great choice for those going on a holiday to let say Dubai.

Read the full article here

Are children allowed in Masjid Al Haram when for Umrah?

Children are allowed to enter the mosque and perform Umrah with their parents. There is no age restriction on this and my daughter came with me during Ramadan (she is 3 and performed Umrah). 

If you have a baby and you need a pram, then you can take a pram in Haram and use the ramps on either side of the mosque to enter the first-floor mataf area and perform your tawaf there with your child. 

At the moment children are still not allowed in Medinah in the courtyard, but I am hoping this will change soon. You can pray with your child outside the gates in Medinah in front of the Hilton hotel and the other areas.

Suggestions when coming to Saudi for Umrah

I know many of you are planning trips to Saudi using tourist visas, so here are some of my suggestions. 

Start your trip with Medinah. This way, you will have the option to set up your SIM card and relax in the mosque since it doesn’t require permission for prayers. 

Also, you will be able to relax and not travel, be in Ihram and deal with the applications you will need. 

Then I recommend you get the train to Makkah, which is the best option and much faster and more comfortable. 

We used the train from Medinah, and I have updated the article with photos and new pricing. You can find it here.

Once you have booked your Umrah, you can make your way to Makkah. 

Since you are also in Saudi on tourism, I would recommend you explore another city in Saudia. Jeddah is the perfect gateway for a few days, and many people don’t visit it enough when here for Umrah. 

Brinigng Zam Zam water on Tourist visa

This has exploded so much over the past couple of weeks so please read the full issue.

I have not seen a full official document saying zam zam is not allowed (if you have please forward it to me). I have seen people share news and blogs and posts saying they are not allowed but nothing official.

I have also had over 100 people email, dm on social asking and sharing their opinion so here is what we know.

First, for those holding an Umrah visa, you can bring Zam Zam water without a problem. This visa is more expensive and with more restrictions.

For those on tourist visa airlines refuse to bring Zam Zam and many people have been unsuccessful. As with everything in Saudi or more things it is the luck of the draw. About 70% get rejected but a small number can bring and are allowed.

The problem seems to be bringing Zam Zam from Jeddah airport as Medinah pilgrims have had better chances of showing their Nusuk app that they have done Umrah and taking the Zam Zam.

A reader messaged me saying that she spoke with an official and actually it is not the Saudi authorities restricting bringing Zam Zam but rather the airlines. This to me makes much more sense.

The 5lt water is on top of the allowed luggage so it gets really heavy for the planes to carry all this free weight and with the cost of fuel, many started refusing as more and more people go on a tourist visa. This also supports the fact that Jeddah is a bigger airport and busier so people actually fly more out of there, whereas Medinah has less traffic and more success with check-in agents allowing it.

Again this is from what people have messaged and told me.

I have heard stories of people who were under the weight limit being able to bring zam zam as part of their luggage allowance but again this varies.

Here is my experience.

I came from Umrah in January 2023, and I went through France. The people on my full flight were mostly on tourist visas and French citizens, I flew with Fly Nas and pretty much everyone had a 5lt of Zam Zam water. Now, I am not saying this for you to fly from France BUT I am saying it to emphasise the fact that it is not an enforceable rule but rather an airline and the luck of the draw type of thing.

Also, it is not that if you use a Saudi-based airline you will be allowed as people have had success with Qatar airways and Turkish but other didn’t with Saudi Airlines.

Sadly there is no one answer that can get you the result of “can I bring zam zam on a tourist visa”? You might or might not. It really depends on the day.

What I did, and I do several times over the years is to put a small 500ml bottle of zam zam in my luggage. I don’t do it to cheat but rather because I don’t want the 5lt since it is only for me and I go often and don’t need that much zam zam to carry.

I never had an issue with this little in my bag, and if you are a family and put a bottle in each luggage you should be ok. Yes, you won’t be able to share with family if you don’t get your 5lt bottle, but at least you will have some for yourself.

I hope this clarifies somewhat the confusion and sadly there is no solution.

Also, I read on a few groups that people shipped several bottles for themselves through cargo and paid £100 or so. Which I guess is another option to consider if you really want to bring zam zam water. This might also be cheaper than issuing an Umrah visa.


How to issue a Saudi Tourist Visa

I also have all the breakdowns for you so keep reading. Also at the end, you will find all the updates on how the visa works as this article is updated. 

Saudi Arabia announced a few years ago their Vision 2030 which basically means to expand its tourism sector to 30 million by 2030 not only for Umrah but in general.

This, of course, meant opening Saudi Arabia to tourism and showing the beauty of the land. I have to say judging by their promo video is stunning!

For Muslims, this also means exploring a country that for so long we visited but not really explore as with the Umrah visa we could only go to Jeddah, Makkah and Medinah.

The official Saudi Tourism website is here

You can watch their promo video, check out places to visit, eat, and explore and also a very handy FAQ!

I like the fact that they are modernising Saudi and with this, they are relaxing the dress code for tourists. Check out the post here. 

Tourism chief Ahmed al-Khateeb told Reuters in an interview in the run-up to the official announcement that abayas will not be mandatory for women tourists but modest dress is, including at public beaches.

Now, I can finally take my mum and show her Saudi Arabia. (update: I actually did take her 🙂 )

If you are planning an Umrah and want to save money on your trip then make sure to check out my book with gives you tips on how to save thousands on your Umrah.

Especially during Ramadan and peak travel seasons like school holidays and December.

Saudi Tourist Visa – The Details

Saudi Tourist visa 1resized

Over 49 countries can apply for a Tourist E-visa for Saudi Arabia.

Eligible countries north america for saudi visa
eligible countries for Saudi visa MuslimTravelgirl
Saudi tourist visa eligible countries asia

The Tourist visa is valid for one year and you can spend up to 90 days. It is a Multi-entry visa which means you can go as many times as you want.

You can now issue your OWN Tourist visa for Saudi without the need for an agent!

This is a total game-changer and here is why:

  • You can visit not only the three cities but also any city in Saudi
  • You can issue it on your own via their site ( link below)
  • You pay only £120
  • You can do Umrah as well
  • If you are a single woman you can go alone!

The most amazing and stunning change they did is that single women who before could not do Umrah on their own now can apply for a tourist visa and actually go! Check the site here on the FAQ.

You can perform Umrah on the tourist visa according to their FAQ and by the looks of it, you don’t need specific accommodation or transport. After all, you are a tourist and not specific Umrah

https://muslimtravelgirl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/umrah-on-saudi-tourist-visa.png

Visa for those not on the list

If your country is not on the list you can be able to get a visa from the Saudi consulate as you belong to a visa from Category B. The process requires a few more steps and documents but it should be possible. Here is what you need:

  • The minimum age of applicant is 18 years old
  • Underage applicants require an individual above 18 years old to be the guardian
  • When applying, passport validity must be for at least 6 months at the time of entering Saudi Arabia
  • Refund in case of rejection is not possible, visa fees are non-refundable
  • Overstay fees: SAR 100 for each day of overstay
  • Religion of applicant is not relevant
  • A sponsor is not required for the visa application
  • Documents required include:
    • Proof of accommodation
    • Return ticket
    • Proof of employment
    • Bank statement
  • Supporting information include:
    • Identification
    • Home address
    • Travel itinerary
  • Time taken to issue an e-Visa is 1-2 business days in most cases
  • Visa pre-checks are conducted by all airlines before boarding flights to Saudi Arabia.

Visa for US, European, British and Schengen visa holders.

It was announced in January 2020 that those holding visas from the UK, US, Schengen can receive a Saudi Tourist visa as well. 

You will need to meet certain conditions like have actually been to the country that issued your visa and have a stamp on your passport, your passport should be valid for at least 6 months, they must travel on Saudi Airlines and then they can receive a visa on arrival.

Please note after many comments and questions,  you cannot use your work, residence or another status in the mentioned countries above to issue a tourist visa. It basically needs to be a visa for the purpose of travel and meet the conditions.

For example A wife of a Pakistani with indefinite leave in the UK cannot issue a tourist visa, she will need an Umrah visa and her husband will also need to issue an Umrah visa himself as she needs a Mahram under to Umrah visa rules. 

An Indian professional in Europe on a work permit cannot issue a tourist visa even though he has a permit to reside in the Schengen and a visa.  

I know there is still an issue applying online so it might be best to raise a ticket or go for the on-arrival visa.

How the Process works

In order to make sure the process works I actually issued my own visa!

Yep, without mahram without anything!

The process is pretty straight forward if your country is on the link you can issue the visa.

Step1: Personal Details

First, you need to register on the portal and confirm your phone and email.

Saudi Tourist Visa Account creation

Step2: Personal & Passport Details

Once logged on you can start your passport application.

Saudi Tourist visa personal info MuslimTravelGirl

Each step gives you 10 minutes to complete, which is more than enough.

You can do a group or an individual application. I did the individual as I wanted to see if as a woman I can issue it on my own.

You enter your details such as passport, address etc.

Note: the photo needs to be on non-busy background Just take a photo with your phone and then resize it to fit. You can adjust it as well on the application.

Saudi Tourist visa passport details MuslimTravelgirl

You will also need to provide where you will be staying. I think as with all visas you only provide your first hotel if you are planning to visit many cities.

Saudi Visa residence in Saudi -MuslimTravelGirlresized

Step 3: Medical insurance

Saudi tourist visa medical insurance

This was an interesting process as I didn’t know if I had to book it myself. However, and congrats to them, they have integrated it. You just pay for the travel insurance.

Saudi Tourist visa medical cost insurance

Only thing I am not sure how it would work if you had to claim but it is great that they have it especially after my previous experience of a hospital abroad.

Step 4: Terms and Conditions

The terms are simple. Not to break the law, drugs and alcohol and others. If you are a genuine tourist you wouldn’t have an issue with compliance.

Saudi Tourist visa T&C resized

Saudi tourist visa T&C2resized

Step 5: Review Your Application

A simple review of your application. Before you proceed.

Step 6: Pay the fees

The total fees for the visa were 535 SAR which is about £118.

Saudi tourist visa break down of fees
this is the fees I paid when I issued mine years ago for example

Once you have completed the steps you will see that your application is under review and wait.

I was not sure how long I had to wait, however, it wasn’t long. Under the FAQ it says from 5minutes to 30minutes.

My Saudi Tourist Visa visa was issued less than 5 minutes later.

Edit: When applying for my husband and daughter, the visa was processed but later I saw I was charged double. I know some other people had this issue.

I didn’t raise it at the time as my credit card said they can cancel the charge but this also might cancel my visa. I decided to wait to go for Umrah and then cancel.

However 3 weeks later and I refund was issued directly by the Tourism for Saudi, so I assume they did an audit and found they had charged people.

Saudi
Saudi Tourist visa MuslimTravelGirl
My Saudi Tourist Visa

I am extremely happy about the new tourist visa because it will make visiting Saudi and actually exploring the country so much easier.

Also, it is great they have allowed people to perform Umrah on the Tourist visa as well so then Muslims don’t have to hide they are doing it.

The process is easy and could be completed in less than 20 minutes.

Applying for minors brought up an interesting fact. I went to apply for my daughter and my husband, when applying for her it picked she is a minor and asked for her guardian. There is no version to have a mother as guardian so I guess this has not changed.

Update: Several people in the comments have asked about this. The support team at Saudi Tourist visa has said that mothers can add themselves as guardians without a problem. So if you are travelling as a woman with a child then you are the guardian in this case. I would also bring a birth certificate just to be on the safe side at the airport especially if you have different surnames. 

guardian

Here is the application part and how it looks.

Umrah Visa VS Tourist Visa

One thing that is interesting I guess is the fact they changed the Umrah visa rules making it harder to go on a DIY Umrah.  Yet they are making the tourist visa cheaper and easier to obtain and also you can go Umrah on it.

This is of course for the lucky countries that generally never had a problem getting an Umrah visa.

With this tourist visa now, however, there is no need to actually issue yourself an Umrah visa which is much more expensive.

The tourist visa costs £93 and the Umrah visa costs £230 and you need to book accommodation and transport, were with the tourist visa this is not required. You can book them independently.

I am not sure why they decided to do this, but looking at the countries there are very few actually Muslim countries who are there so they will still need an Umrah visa to enter Saudi for Umrah.

You can check out my DIY Umrah book: Plan Your Umrah like a Pro & Save Big

FAQs

There are a lot of questions about whether the Saudi tourist visa allows Umrah, even though the FAQ does. Here is the screenshot of the application where you mark it.

Now, I am not saying Saudi tomorrow can change their mind but for now, you can. The restriction is on the non-Muslims visiting Makkah and Medinah which is totally normal and understood.

purpose of visit saudi tourist visa
Non Muslim visiting Makkah

Here is the FAQ on this from the website where it says non-Muslims are not allowed to visit. I guess the biggest draw for a Non-Muslim to go is to visit Makkah.

With regards to how much you can spend in Saudi on the tourist visa, the below is mentioned under their FAQ:

  • The multiple-entry tourist visa is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and the permissible period of stay is 90 days.
  • The single-entry tourist visa is valid for three months from the date of issuance, and the permissible period of stay is 30 days.

 

DIY Umrah E-Book Saving you Thousands

The Ultimate Guide on How to Do a DIY Umrah; (Do-It-Yourself) Umrah

The Best Hotels to Book In Makkah for Your Next Umrah

Here is the Best Hilton Hotel In Makkah For Umrah

How to use the Train from Makkah to Medinah

DIY Umrah: How to Get from Jeddah to Makkah and Medinah for Umrah

Share with Friends

Amanda

Sunday 29th of January 2023

Assalam aleykom! Thank you so much for all the valuable information you share, barakAllah fiki. I just have one question, and it is how you make the picture fit? They write it should be 200 x 200 in Width and Height and Image Size must be from 5 to 100 Kb. I mean, my picture taken with my phone is like 2,5 MB and I just don´t know how to change the size.

Muslim Travel Girl

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

use a software or on your computer, its what a do to rezise it. even the free canva can do that

Dina

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

Salam, Thanks for all the information! So helpful! One question: do you know if we can purchase the insurance from somewhere else or does it have to be through the providers listed with the evisa application? Like, if I already have travel insurance can I save the price of the insurance?

Dina

Tuesday 31st of January 2023

@Muslim Travel Girl, thank you for responding!

Muslim Travel Girl

Tuesday 24th of January 2023

no you cant avoid the insurance. you pay it.

Bilal

Monday 16th of January 2023

Salam, I probably have the weirdest issue. But the e-visa application form doesn't allow me to enter my full first name which is Muhammad Bilal Bin. It only allows me to write Muhammad Bilal which leaves Bin out. Kamal is my only after/family name. I fear that my visa might be rejected due to a mismatch. What is your opinion ? I am travelling to KSA in about 2 weeks.

Muslim Travel Girl

Tuesday 17th of January 2023

I have a middle name and normally i add it as well, can you add the Bilal with your first name so it shows as on passport? I am not sure but maybe call the embassy if you don't wnt to risk your visa

Sully

Monday 16th of January 2023

I guess this post needs a slight update in regards to carrying zamzam water on your return flight. Current guidelines state only those with an Umrah visa can take one bottle of zamzam on their return flight. If you have a tourist visa then (at least from Jedda afaik) you cannot check in zamzam. In reading threads on trip advisor and speaking with someone who returned a couple weeks ago, they were not allowed to check in the zamzam water. So I guess for those doing a DIY Umrah like myself, we'll either be returning without the water or try to get an approved agent to issue an Umrah visa for us (which will be tedious and costly). Slight mistake on my part, I booked my flight without considering the trouble it will take to get an Umrah visa. As I'm traveling from the UK, I'll probably have to settle for the tourist visa. Typical!

Muslim Travel Girl

Tuesday 17th of January 2023

I just updated this. It is not black and white sadly. you can read what i wrote but the people on my flight had zam zam on tourist visa. so it depends.

Sophie

Sunday 8th of January 2023

Hi I have a E-Visa to perform Umrah along with my family this month, I have tried several times to register on the Nusuk App but it keeps saying “visa number already exists” can you advise? As I am struggling to find a solution to this. Thank You

Muslim Travel Girl

Thursday 12th of January 2023

just register when you are in the country or try to remove cache from the app