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5 Things To Know Before Visiting Saudi Arabia

Next time you think about planning your holiday for the next year, you should definitely think about visiting Saudi Arabia. You will discover the breathtaking landscape, a country with a rich heritage and a lot of historical sites besides the fascinating culture thousands of years old.

By Flora MayerPublished 4 years ago 4 min read

Next time you think about planning your holiday for the next year, you should definitely think about visiting Saudi Arabia. You will discover the breathtaking landscape, a country with a rich heritage and a lot of historical sites besides the fascinating culture thousands of years old.

Saudi Arabia has become more open over the last few years and makes it easier for western tourists, nevertheless you should follow certain rules to avoid getting yourself in serious trouble.

In this article we explain 5 important things to know before visiting the country:

1) Try to avoid taking photographs

In our western culture, we tend to share every new experience with our social media friends. We love to take pictures of our holidays and gain more likes on Instagram. If you travel to Saudi Arabia we kindly make you aware that this behavior is not tolerated.

In fact, Saudi Arabia has a photography ban on a lot of public buildings like mosques and a lot of locals don’t like being the next star on your social media profile.

2) Respect the dress code- especially if you are female

Saudi Arabia is one of the hottest countries in the world and we all understand that your preferred outfit would be a short skirt and a top, but please be respectful towards the culture.

Even as a tourist, it is expected that you follow the dress code and avoid showing your legs, arms or your chest. If you want to apply fully with the rules it is preferred that women cover their hair, which doesn't mean that you have to be too strict, but it is welcome to see that you at least thought about your dress code.

Also, be aware of another huge faux pas, a lot of western tourists mean it well and decide to wear a traditional Arabic outfit, but wearing an Arabic outfit when you are from a western country is seen as an offensive and disrespectful gesture towards their culture.

3) Say goodbye to nightlife

Saudi Arabia is an Islamic country and follows its own rules. If you are a party animal and expect to be the star of the nightlife- we have to disappoint you.

You won’t find nightclubs in Saudi Arabia. People in Saudi Arabia rather enjoy the evening at their own homes and having private dining parties instead of going out. Another important thing to mention is that playing music in public is not welcome either. As much as you would like to enjoy the day on the beach listening to the latest chart hits, this is definitely one thing you should avoid.

4) Apply for your Saudi Arabia e-visa in time

For people who wish to add countries in their bucket lists, Saudi Arabia is simply the country you should add. Even though for many people the country’s history has been an obstacle and challenge, the country now has opened its doors for tourists with the introduction of eVisa. Saudi Arabia is a rich country full of cultural affinities and has numerous castles, museums, mosques that allow tourists to witness the true Arabic heritage. Thus, all the tourists need to do at this point is to apply for the eVisa, which takes minutes, and head over to Saudi Arabia.

If you love to travel the world you may already be familiar with applying for visas. Saudi Arabia has eased its conservative restrictions for tourists over the last few years and has made it easier, especially for women, to visit the country. Previously, interested people who wished to visit Saudi Arabia had to schedule an appointment at a consulate or embassy which would take weeks. Now, with the introduction of the electronic system for applying for a visa, travelers will spend only a few minutes to complete the application, which once is approved, the applicants will receive immediately the electronic visa via email.

Apart from citizens coming from Bahrain, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and Kuwait, all the others are obliged to have an eVisa prior to entering Saudi Arabia. This new system has eased the procedure quite a lot, as most countries only need to undergo a simple application process without many procedures, and simply receive the visa.

The application process for the eVisa

Saudi Arabia’s eVisa application form is quite a straight forward process. It is a simple application form which should not take more than 10 minutes to complete. In fact, 10 days after the country introduced the eVisa, it welcomed 24,000 tourists. To apply for this visa, you need to have a valid passport for three months after the visa expires; a digital photo which should be delivered in PDF format; email address which is very important because this is the email in which your visa will be delivered; means of payment- several means of payment are acceptable such as credit or debit and PayPal.

The issued visa is valid for one year and grants the applicants a maximum of 90 days of stay within the country with the possibility of using it multiple times. Moreover, depending on the rush to receive Saudi Arabia eVisa, there are several options possible. The standard processing costs USD 175 and with a processing time of 5 days; Rush processing- costs USD 200 and takes 3 days; Super rush processing - costs USD 225 and takes 24 hours to process. Nevertheless, if you struggle with any of the details during the application, make sure to go through the FAQ in the application process, where you can find all of the questions and answers related to the application form. In case you have something specific which is not found in the page FAQ, contact the agency for further information and requests.

Furthermore, prior to traveling to Saudi Arabia, it is worth to get a traveler’s insurance and to double-check with your health care provider if additional insurances are needed to cover you in case of an emergency.

5) Respect the religion

Saudi Arabia is a strict Islamic country and as a tourist, you are expected to respect and follow the rules, no matter which religion you have.

Before you travel to Saudi Arabia, make sure you don't display any symbols of other religions- a Christian cross around your neck won't be tolerated.

The same rules apply for food- alcohol, and pork are strictly banned under the Islamic rules.

middle east

About the Creator

Flora Mayer

Flora is a young and ambitious who has been researching self-development for the past two years and is now off traveling the world. She helps tourists with free walking tours in London - so get in touch with her if you want a special tour.

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