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Saudi Student Visa Process

Saudi Arabia offers long and short-term educational visa schemes for foreign students from over 160 countries. These visas allow students to live and study in the country for the duration of their courses. To study in Saudi Arabia, international students must apply for a student visa, which requires meeting specific requirements and following the application process.

Saudi Student Visa Process

Overview of Saudi Arabia Student Visa

A student visa in Saudi Arabia is an official authorization stamped on your passport, issued by the immigration authorities. It allows you to enter the country and stay for a designated duration while pursuing your educational pursuits. In order to initiate the student visa application process, it is necessary to verify your admission or enrollment at the desired educational institution.

Latest Updates on Saudi Arabia Visas for Foreign Students

Details regarding the new student visa scheme called 'Study in Saudi Arabia':

Eligibility: Students from 160 countries around the world will have the opportunity to apply for a student visa to study in Saudi Arabia.

Sponsorship Exemption: Under this scheme, students applying for the student visa will be exempted from the requirement of having a sponsor within the Kingdom.

Visa Types: The student visa scheme will offer two categories based on the duration of the educational program:

  1. Short-Term Visas: These visas will be applicable for educational programs that last up to one year.
  2. Long-Term Visas: These visas will be granted for courses that extend beyond one year.

Broad Scope: The student visa scheme covers a wide range of academic and research activities, including innovation, training, teaching, and study.

Attractive Study Destination: The primary goal of the 'Study in Saudi Arabia' initiative is to present the Kingdom as an appealing study destination for international students.

Beneficiaries: The student visa scheme is open to students, experts, and researchers seeking academic study or research visits in Saudi Arabia.

Overall, the 'Study in Saudi Arabia' student visa scheme aims to facilitate educational opportunities and foster research collaborations by providing accessible and flexible visa options for international students and scholars.

Do I Need a Student Visa to Study in Saudi Arabia?

To obtain a Saudi Arabia student visa, you need to secure admission to an educational institution in the country. The institution will then apply for your visa authorization from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Validity of the Saudi Arabia Student Visa

The validity of the student visa in Saudi Arabia depends on the duration of the chosen course. Short-term visas, valid for up to 90 days, are granted for diploma certificates or language courses. Long-term visas are for degree programs lasting longer than 3 months.

How to Apply for a Saudi Arabia Student Visa

To begin the process of applying for a student visa in Saudi Arabia, it is advisable to first research various educational institutions and the courses they offer. Visit the official websites of these institutions to gather information about eligibility criteria and application requirements. 

After you have been accepted into a university, they will assist you in requesting a student visa from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Once your request is approved, you can proceed to apply for the visa at a Saudi embassy or consulate closest to your location.

Applying for a Saudi Arabia Student Visa Online

If you wish to apply for a student visa in Saudi Arabia, you can make use of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs portal (MOFA), which offers convenient electronic visa services. Through this portal, applicants can submit their visa applications online, and the approved visa will be sent directly to the nearest Saudi Arabian embassy.

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to apply for a student visa to Saudi Arabia:

  1. Visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) website.
  2. Locate the 'E-Services' section on the website.
  3. Within the list of services, find and click on 'Electronic Visas.'
  4. You will be presented with a range of travel visa options.
  5. Select the 'Study Visa Request' option and proceed to fill out the electronic form.
  6. Once you have submitted the form, you can track the status of your visa application. Typically, the processing time is approximately 3 days.

By following these steps, you can conveniently apply for a student visa to study in Saudi Arabia using the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' electronic visa services.

Applying for a Saudi Arabia Student Visa Offline

In addition to the online application process, applicants can also choose to apply for a Saudi student visa through offline channels by personally visiting the Saudi Embassy or consulate in their respective countries. It's important to note that each embassy may have its own specific procedures, so it's advisable to familiarize yourself with them beforehand.

Required Documents for a Saudi Arabia Student Visa

International students studying in Saudi Arabia must obtain a student visa, which requires the following:

  1. Valid Passport: Minimum 6 months validity and two consecutive blank visa pages.
  2. Visa Referral Note: Issued by Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs or its branches in Dammam or Jeddah.
  3. Birth Certificate: Copy of original birth certificate.
  4. Academic Credentials: High school diploma or relevant academic certificates.
  5. Police Report: Issued within the last 6 months, stating the applicant's criminal record.
  6. Passport-sized Photographs: Three colored photographs with a white background.
  7. Medical Report: Three copies of a recent medical report from a licensed physician, certifying good health and free from contagious diseases.
  8. Health Insurance: Recommended for adequate coverage during the stay in Saudi Arabia.

Note: Medical reports should be issued within the last 3 months. Applicants under 16 years old are exempt from providing a medical report.

Processing Time for a Saudi Arabia Student Visa Application

In Saudi Arabia, international students have the option of applying for a student visa within the country itself. 

  • The standard processing time for the visa is 5 days, with a fee of SAR 676 (USD 180). 
  • Alternatively, the rush processing option guarantees visa issuance within 3 days, at a cost of SAR 782 (USD 208).

Fee for a Saudi Arabia Student Visa

Kindly note that the current fee for a student visa in Saudi Arabia is SAR 50. Additionally, it is important to pay the applicable VAT rates along with this fee. Please be aware that the visa fee is subject to potential changes without prior notice.

As per the latest regulations, it is mandatory to make the payment for a student/education visa online. Offline methods of payment may not be accepted.


Q: How long does it typically take to process a student visa for Saudi Arabia?

A: The processing time for a student visa in Saudi Arabia can vary depending on your home country. In some cases, it may take up to 3 months. However, if you apply for a student visa within Saudi Arabia, the processing time is usually quicker.

Q: How fast can I obtain a student visa for Saudi Arabia?

A: If your visa application is approved during a visa interview, the average processing time is 7-10 working days. It may take an additional 2-3 working days for the visa to be delivered to you. However, if you are eligible for the 'Interview Waiver Program' and submit your application by courier without attending an interview, the process can be faster.

Q: Can I work with a student visa in Saudi Arabia?

A: In order to work in Saudi Arabia as an international student, you must first find a job, and then your potential employer will apply for the appropriate work permit on your behalf. There are opportunities for post-graduate employment in Saudi Arabia for international students.

Q: Is education in Saudi Arabia free for international students?

A: While citizens of Saudi Arabia receive free education and books, most international students are not eligible for free education. However, there are scholarships and financial aid options available for international students studying in Saudi Arabia.

Q: What are the advantages of studying in Saudi Arabia?

A: Saudi Arabia is known for its strong education in STEM fields, with increasing government spending on higher education. The country has several universities that are ranked highly for engineering and technology programs, offering quality education in these fields.

Q: Do I need to take the IELTS exam to study in Saudi Arabia?

A: For most undergraduate courses, an IELTS score of 6.0 is required, with a minimum score of 5.5 in each section. However, some courses may have higher English language requirements. It is important to check the specific requirements of your chosen course before applying.

Q: Is Saudi Arabia an expensive country to live in?

A: The cost of living in Saudi Arabia is, on average, 33.0% lower than in the United States. Rent, in particular, is significantly cheaper, with an average of 73.9% lower costs compared to the United States. However, living expenses can vary depending on the city and lifestyle choices.

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