Student Visa in Saudi Arabia

Majority of foreign and international students intending to study in Saudi Arabia are required to obtain a visa. This visa allows them to reside and pursue their educational endeavours within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the entire duration of their course. 

Recently, Saudi Arabia has implemented updated regulations for foreign students, introducing both long-term and short-term educational visa options, catering to students from more than 160 countries. If you are considering studying in Saudi Arabia and wish to apply for a student visa, here is a comprehensive guide with all the essential information you need to know.

Meaning of Saudi Students e-Visa

A Saudi student visa is an official authorization stamped on your passport by the immigration authorities of Saudi Arabia. This visa permits you to enter the country and reside there for a designated duration while pursuing your studies. It is important to note that you can only apply for a student visa after confirming your enrollment in the school or university of your choice.

Foreign Students Visa updates

Saudi Arabia is set to introduce a new and improved student visa system for foreign students hailing from 160 different countries. This updated scheme will offer both long and short-term student visas, eliminating the previous requirement of having a sponsor in the Kingdom. The student visa program will be categorised into short-term visas, valid for educational programs lasting up to one year, and long-term visas, designed for courses extending beyond one year.

These comprehensive long and short-term visas cater to various academic and research aspects, such as innovation, training, teaching, and studying. By presenting Saudi Arabia as an appealing destination for education, the 'Study in Saudi Arabia' student visa initiative aims to attract students, experts, and researchers for academic study or research purposes.

Is it obligatory for one to have a student's e-Visa to enter Saudi Arabia?

Indeed, a student visa is necessary for entry into Saudi Arabia. To obtain the visa, you must first secureadmission to an educational institution within the country. Subsequently, the university or college will initiate the application process for your Student visa authorization through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Validation of the Saudi Student e-Visa

The validity of the Saudi student visa is determined by the length of your chosen course or program. Short-term visas are typically issued to students enrolling in short diploma certificate courses or language programs, with a maximum visa duration of 90 days (3 months). On the other hand, long-term visas are provided for students undertaking degree programs that extendbeyond 3 months.

Process of the Saudi Student e-Visa application

To initiate the application process for a Saudi student visa, begin by researching educational institutions in Saudi Arabia to find a suitable course that aligns with your interests and aspirations. Review the eligibility criteria and application requirements for each course, which can usually be found on the official website of the institution.

The crucial first step in obtaining a student visa is to secure admission to a Saudi educational institution. After receiving acceptance, the university will seek permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) to issue your student visa. Once your visa is approved, you can proceed to apply for the visa at the nearest Saudi Arabia embassy or consulate in your country of residence.

Applying for a student visa to Saudi Arabia can be done through both online and offline channels. 

Here are the steps for each method:

Online Channel

  • Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website.
  • Click on 'E-Services'.
  • Choose 'Electronic Visas' from the list of services.
  • You will see a list of all-purpose travel visas.
  • Select 'Study Visa Request' and complete the e-form with the necessary details.
  • After submitting the form, you can check the status of your request, which usually takes around 3 days.

Offline Channel

  • Applicants can also choose to apply through offline channels by visiting the Saudi Embassy or consulate in their respective countries.
  • It is advisable to check the specific procedures of the embassy you plan to visit, as different embassies may have varying requirements.

Both online and offline channels offer avenues for applicants to obtain a student visa for Saudi Arabia, allowing individuals to choose the method that suits them best.

Documents required for the application process

To apply for a Saudi student visa, international students must submit the following required documents:

  • Passport: A valid passport with a minimum validity of 6 months and at least two consecutive empty visa pages.
  • Visa Referral Note: This note indicates the visa number and expiration date, and it must be issued by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs or one of its branches in Dammam or Jeddah.
  • Birth Certificate: A copy of the applicant's original birth certificate.
  • Academic Credentials: High school diploma or other academic certificates as proof of educational qualifications.
  • Police Report: A police report issued within six (6) months of the application date, providing detailed information about the applicant's criminal record, if any.
  • Passport-size Photographs: Three coloured passport-sized photographs with a white background.
  • Medical Report: Three copies of a medical report along with all lab results. The report must be issued by a licensed physician, certifying that the applicant does not have any contagious diseases. The physician's signature, licence number, and address should be included on all copies.
  • Health Insurance: Depending on the requirements, health insurance may be necessary for travel to Saudi Arabia. Ensure that the chosen insurance coverage meets all the visa requirements and provides adequate coverage during your stay in Saudi Arabia.

Please note that applicants under 16 years of age are exempt from submitting a medical report. It is essential to gather all the necessary documents and ensure they meet the specified criteria for a successful student visa application to Saudi Arabia.

Time taken to process the Saudi Student e-Visa

The processing time for a Saudi student visa application may vary depending on your home country. In some cases, the process for international students can take up to 3 months. However, if you choose to apply for a student visa within Saudi Arabia, the application is likely to be processed more swiftly.

There are two processing options available for student visas:

  • Standard Processing: This option takes approximately 5 days for visa processing.
  • Rush Processing: If you opt for rush processing, you will receive your visa within 3 days.

The choice of processing time depends on your individual circumstances and how soon you need the student visa to be granted. It is advisable to plan and apply for the student visa well in advance to avoid any last-minute delays.

Fees to be paid to obtain the Saudi Student e-Visa

The fee for the Saudi student visa is SAR, and it is essential to also pay the applicable VAT at the prevailing rates. However, please keep in mind that visa fees are subject to potential changes.

It is crucial to note that, under recent regulations, the visa fee must be paid online when applying for a student or education visa in Saudi Arabia.Offline methods of payment may not be accepted, so applicants should ensure they are prepared to make the payment through the appropriate online channels.