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People who want to come to Saudi Arabia for some business purposes such as on a consultancy contract, have to apply for either a single entry or a multiple entry Business Visa.
Who comes on Business Visa to Saudi Arabia?
Business visa is generally applied by Saudi companies for its foreign customers, foreign suppliers or foreign consultant who need to visit Saudi Arabia on a temporary basis. Let’s say, a consultant needs to perform a task in Saudi Arabia which will be completed in a couple of months, the Saudi company doesn’t have to apply for an Iqama for him.
Iqama is suitable for those people who need to stay in Saudi Arabia for an extended period of time such as 1 year or more.
Who arranges a Business Visa?
As of now, we have established one thing that the business visa will be arranged by a Saudi sponsor which in most cases is a Saudi company. It is not something that you can apply yourself. There are several other options to enter Saudi Arabia if you just want to visit Saudi Arabia such as a Saudi Tourist Visa.
Should I hire an agent to process Business Visa?
You can either submit the application for a business visa for Saudi Arabia yourself or hire an agent to do the job for you. In some countries, the government has authorized Etimad and VFS Global to the job, so you will have to contact them. Otherwise, you should hire an agent yourself to process a business visa for Saudi Arabia.
Requirements for a Business visa of Saudi Arabia
Once the business visa is arranged by a Saudi sponsor or a company, the following documents are required to stamp the visa on your passport.
- The passport of the visitors should be valid for at least six months with at least two clear pages adjacent to each other.
- One recent photograph is required with a white background.
- Application form for the business visa must be filled with the black ink or filled and printed electronically. In case you need a multiple entry business visa of Saudi Arabia, you need to mention it while filling the application.
- The applicant needs to provide any of the following documents to prove his position;
- A letter from the employer of the applicant in the country from where he is applying for a visa addressing to the Royal Embassy and explaining his position in the company and why is he leaving for Saudi Arabia on a Business Visa.
- A copy of the company commercial registration in the local country as well as Saudi Arabia.
- The invitation letter from a Saudi company duly attested by the chamber of commerce as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia.
- Copy of the National Identity Card or the residence permit of the country from which the applicant is applying for a business visa.
The fee for Business Visa of Saudi Arabia
The applicant needs to pay the fee for a business visa online through Enjaz. In case you have hired an agent to process a business visa for Saudi Arabia, he will pay the fee on your behalf. The visa
Applicants must need to pay the visa fee online at this website. This is a website of the Saudi Government called Enjaz. If you have already hired an agent, he will make this payment on your behalf and take money from you in cash.
The visa fee is SR 400 for U.S. passport holders, for both single and multiple entries. For non-U.S. citizens, check this link. “Nationality Wise New Visit Visa Fee in Saudi Arabia“.
How to apply for Business Visa of Saudi Arabia?
Once you have all these documents, you will have to submit them to the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in your country. For the third time, I am suggesting hiring an agent for this purpose. Once the visa is processed, you just need to book your air ticket to travel to Saudi Arabia. It generally takes around 2 weeks to process the visa on your passport.
Business Visa Violations
Business visa holder should take care of some points to avoid violations to the rules and regulations in Saudi Arabia;
- Applicants should not overstay even a single day after the expiry of a business visa. We have covered the penalties and punishments he may have to face in case of an overstay of a business visa in Saudi Arabia. “Overstaying after Visa Expiry in Saudi Arabia”
- A business visa does not give the right to the applicant to work for someone other than the sponsor in Saudi Arabia.
- You cannot open your bank account in Saudi Arabia on a business visa.
- You cannot apply for Saudi Driving License on this visa. However, if you have an international driving license, you can drive a vehicle here for a maximum period of 90 days on that driving license.
Can I convert Business visa into Iqama in Saudi Arabia?
Many people who come to Saudi Arabia on a business visa want to know if they can covert it into Iqama or a work visa. Well, there is no possibility to convert a business visa to Iqama as the process to apply for a work visa is entirely different from the business visa.
In case you want to come on a work visa, your employer will have to apply for a visa, you need to go back to your country and fulfill the requirements to enter to Saudi Arabia on a work visa.
How to get a Multiple Entry Business Visa of Saudi Arabia?
In order to get a multiple-entry business visa of Saudi Araba, you will have to mention it in the visa application. I have heard that they don’t issue multiple-entry visas to all nationalities. For example, if you are a U.S. National, you can get a multiple entry visa for 5 years which is not available to someone who holds an Indian passport.
Pros and Cons of Working on Iqama v/s Business Visa
A Non-Saudi can work in Saudi Arabia on an Iqama as well as on Business Visa. What is a better option for an expatriate? Should he come on a business visa or a work visa? We have tried to analyze the pros and cons of both below;
Tax on income in KSA
A person coming on a business visa is a non-resident for Saudi Arabia. As per Saudi Tax Law, every company must deduct tax at a rate of 5% from the remuneration paid to non-resident persons.
Tax on income in Native country
A person coming on a business visa in Saudi Arabia is a resident in his own country. Tax laws in most countries impose taxes upon the income of the resident person earned out of the country. As a result of this, he will have to pay double taxes. Although tax credit is available in most countries still the higher tax rate will apply.
No Family Visa
No Bank Account
Only a Saudi resident (Iqama Holder) can open a bank account in Saudi Arabia. If a person is working in a business visa, he will have to receive his salary either in cash or transfer it to a bank account in his own country. First is risky and the second one is complicated.
No Employment Rights
Employment rights are only available to the people holding Iqama. A person coming on a business visa does not have any employment rights.
The situation becomes more critical if that person has contracted with the company in Saudi Arabia in an individual capacity. If a Saudi company does not pay him, he would not be able to do anything.