Saudi Arabia State Department Travel


Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Middle East and is a popular destination for travelers from all over the world. It has a vast territory comprising of deserts, mountains, agricultural lands, and modern cities, making it a perfect location for a variety of activities to suit all types of travelers. The Saudi Arabian government has ratified an effort to increase tourism to the country, hence creating a multitude of visa procedures and regulations that all travelers must abide by. The government’s State Department Travel website provides detailed instructions on how to apply for a visa and start the process of traveling to Saudi Arabia.

Government Policies

The Saudi Arabian government has placed several strict restrictions on travel to Saudi Arabia. They are firm believers of their cultural and religious values, and as such enforce certain domestic laws to ensure these values are kept. For example, women over the age of 18 must have permission from a legal guardian in order to travel abroad. Additionally, there are also strict laws concerning the import and export of certain items, such as alcohol, narcotics, and pork products. It is essential for travelers to know the rules and regulations in order to avoid any unnecessary penalties and fines associated with not following the law.

Visa Requirements

In order to travel to Saudi Arabia, travelers must first obtain a visa, which can be done through the State Department Travel Website. It is important to carefully read all information provided on the website and ensure all the necessary documents, such as passports and photographs, are provided in order for the visa application to be accepted. In order to receive a visa, travelers must also have a sponsor or a guarantor, which can be either a Saudi citizen or a Saudi company. After the visa is approved, travelers must submit their travel itinerary and ticket details to the Saudi Arabian government.

Travel Tips

Saudi Arabia is full of culture and history, and should be explored with respect towards their customs and traditions. It is advised to dress modestly, and women should never wear Western clothing such as tank tops or shorts. Additionally, it is also important to be aware of the laws and regulations that the Saudi Arabian government enforces, as well as any safety warnings that may be issued. It is also advised to bring an adequate amount of cash with you, as there are limited ATM’s and most places do not accept credit cards.

Sabr Reit Investment

The Saudi Arabian government have embarked on a major drive to attract new capital investment to the country in the form of a Real Estate Investment Trust, Sabr Reit. The trust enables investors to purchase real estate with the aim of benefiting from rental income. It is hoped that this trust will lead to increased foreign direct investment, while providing foreign investors with an opportunity to enter the local market.

Taxation Regulations

It is important to note that the Saudi Arabian government has implemented strict taxation regulations in order to deter foreign investors from investing. This includes a capital gains tax of up to 20% on sales of property, which is significantly higher than in other countries. Additionally, there are also other taxes, such as income tax and estate/gift tax, that must be taken into consideration.

Language Barrier

The official language spoken in Saudi Arabia is Arabic, and most people in cities and towns are either bilingual or trilingual. This can present somewhat of a language barrier for travelers, as few people are able to speak English. It is advised to bring along a pocket-sized Arabic-English dictionary and translate any words or phrases you may need.

Health Considerations

The healthcare system in Saudi Arabia is well-developed and there are a lot of medical professionals available who can provide excellent advice and diagnosis. Health insurance is also mandatory for travelers visiting the country, and it is possible to purchase it from a number of different insurers. Additionally, it is important to ensure all routine vaccinations are up to date before traveling, and to examine current health advice regarding sanitary guidelines in the country.

Cultural Etiquette

It is essential to maintain the cultural etiquette of Saudi Arabia when visiting. As it is an Islamic country, visitors should always have respect for the customs, traditions, and religious beliefs of the people in the country. This includes not eating, drinking, or smoking in public, as well as avoiding public displays of affection and being aware of Islamic prayer times.


Accommodations in Saudi Arabia are very diverse, and it is possible to find a wide array of hotels, hostels, and resorts to suit every budget and preference. Additionally, there are also a number of private accommodation options that can be booked online. It is important to book in advance in order to ensure the most favorable rate and availability.

Safety and Security

The Saudi Arabian government has worked hard to provide a safe and secure environment for its citizens and travelers alike. Business travelers should make sure that their passports and visas are up to date and that their documents are properly validated. Additionally, it is also recommended to register with the nearest embassy or consulate upon arrival so that it is easier to contact in case of an emergency.


Travelers to Saudi Arabia have several options when it comes to transportation. The government-run bus network operates in major cities, while private car hire is also available. The country’s extensive railway network makes it a comfortable and convenient way of getting aroundthe country, although slightly more expensive. Additionally, travelers can also take advantage of low-cost domestic flights, whichcan be booked through the government’s State Department Travel website.

Food and Shopping

Saudi Arabia is well known for its traditional cuisine and authentic dishes, so travelers should take the opportunity to try them out. Most restaurants offer food at an affordable price, while shopping for traditional items is also a great way to gain an insight into the culture and customs of the country.


The country has a range of entertainment options that visitors can enjoy, from camel racing to sandboarding in the desert. Music and dance are also popular, with a variety of clubs and bars to be found in cities like Riyadh and Jeddah. Additionally, the country’s cinematic industry is in full swing, and there are several different movie theatres to watch a variety of films.

Jose Richard

Jose M. Richard is a journalist and author based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. With over a decade of experience in journalism, Jose has written extensively on Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region. Jose is passionate about promoting understanding of the region and its people, and his work has been recognised with international awards.

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