People who travel to a foreign country are usually concerned whether they can cross the border with just a passport or if they require a visa as well. When it comes to Saudi Arabia, the answer is affirmative. All foreigners who want to enter Saudi Arabia need both a passport and visa, which means that they need to apply for both documents. A passport does not require too much hassle. You can usually get it easily and pretty fast. The visa, on the other hand, is entirely another story.
Option number one involves a trip to a Saudi embassy. Depending on where you live, you may have to take quite the trip. Saudi embassies are not on each corner like pharmacies. Even so, you may not have a choice. You go there, you stand in line, fill in a form, and then you wait for your visa to be ready. It is not the ideal scenario since it is time-consuming and your efforts are consistent. Moreover, you may have to wait a while for your visa to arrive, depending on how many human resources are at the location. That is why the second option sounds a whole lot better.
The second option consists of an online application system. The long-awaited Saudi Arabia e-visa will go live in just a few weeks, to everyone’s satisfaction. Well, everyone is an overstatement since only the citizens of 35 states will be able to apply. Even so, it is a step up considering that the electronic visa is an initiative that has been discussed since 2006. With the electronic visa, you do not have to go anywhere. The application process is entirely online, and iVisa can help you with it. Furthermore, it should not take more than 20 minutes to complete the application, and you can do it disregarding business hours. It cannot get any better than that. The visa arrives via e-mail in the timeframe you choose during the application process, and the fee is affordable.
As you may well know, Saudi Arabia is a highly religious country, which is why some restrictions are imposed. For one, women cannot travel without a male companion if she is under the age of 45. If she is over 45, then she must travel with a group of women. Also, travelers who enter Saudi Arabia using an electronic visa are now allowed to enter either Mecca or Medina. It is best if you do your research before you travel to Saudi Arabia so that you do not have any surprises. So to answer your question, yes, you need a visa for Saudi Arabia if you plan a trip there. If you are eligible for a Saudi Arabia e-visa, the good news is that it will go live soon and you will be able to apply online. If not, you are required to go and make a request at a Saudi embassy just as all travelers have done so far. It implies more effort than an e-visa, but it is not like you have any other alternative.