Saudi Arabia launches first-of-its-kind stopover visa

Visitors travelling through Saudi Arabia can now get a free stopover visa for up to 96 hours and even a free hotel stay…

Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has launched an electronic service that allows passengers stopping in the Kingdom to obtain entry visas.

The free stopover visa is the country’s latest move to make the destination more accessible.


Here’s all you need to know about the new visa.

How does one apply?

The new service will be effective as of Monday January 30. The stopover visa application will be automatically available through the airline booking platforms on SAUDIA or Flynas for all passengers travelling to their final destination. For many, the application process can be completed in under three minutes and can be applied for up to 90 days before travel. A digital visa will be issued instantly and sent back to the beneficiary via e-mail.

How long is the validity of the visa?

The stopover visa will allow passengers to stay in the country for up to 96 hours, enabling more visitors than ever to explore Saudi’s historical, cultural, and spiritual sites.

Who can apply?

The transit visa for stopovers allows entry to Saudi Arabia for people in transit who wish to perform Umrah, visit the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and tour the Kingdom. Travellers can also use the stopover visa to perform the spiritual Umrah ritual. Spiritual travellers can book flights through SAUDIA and Flynas, but must also register for Umrah through the Nusuk platform.


A stopover can be made through any airport in Saudi Arabia. Visitors can also use the stopover visa to break up long-haul flights or book a bonus trip to experience the Kingdom’s burgeoning entertainment and seasonal events calendar or even extend a business trip on the way to their final destination.

How much is the visa?

The visa is free, will be immediately issued with the traveller’s ticket, entitles the holder to a four-day stay in the Kingdom, and has a three-month validity.

To help visitors make the most of their stopover, customised 24-, 48-, 72- and 96-hour itineraries have been prepared to inspire visitors to stroll through Jeddah’s Al-Balad, or visit the Al-Turaif district in Diriyah, one of Saudi’s six Unesco World Heritage Sites.


The best part is…

Even more exciting for visitors, stopover visa holders will be eligible for a complimentary one-night hotel stay during the stopover when booking through SAUDIA.

His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority, said, “The new stopover visa is yet another proof point in Saudi’s commitment to developing and encouraging growth in the tourism sector. It is open for travellers passing through Saudi on our national carriers, whether for leisure, business or Umrah. We will continue to work together across government and the tourism ecosystem as Saudi transforms into a leading global tourism destination.”

Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and Member of the Board at Saudi Tourism Authority, said, “Saudi is committed to a seamless visitor experience. In partnership with our national air carriers, SAUDIA and Flynas, we are using digital platforms to provide an instant stopover visa, which only enhances Saudi’s accessibility and our world-class destination offering.”

Images: Provided