SAUDI ARABIA

SAUDI ARABIA

SAUDI ARABIA

SELECT YOUR NATIONALITY

– No current scheduled consular closures.
CONSULAR CLOSURES
TBC.
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Great Mosque of Mecca
Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The Great Mosque of Mecca is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a site of pilgrimage for the Hajj, which every Muslim must do at least once in their lives if able, the rites of which includes circumambulating the Kaaba within the mosque. It is also the main phase for the Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage that can be undertaken any time of the year. The Great Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim, and the hills Safa and Marwa. It is open, regardless of date or time.

The Great Mosque is the largest mosque in the world and has undergone major renovations and expansions through the years. It has passed through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, and is now under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia who is titled the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. It is located in front of the Abraj Al Bait, the tallest clock tower in the world, the construction of which has been surrounded by controversy concerning the destruction of early Islamic heritage sites by the Saudi government.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mosque_of_Mecca
Name: Mada’in Saleh
Location: Al Madinah Region, Saudi Arabia
Mada'in Saleh, is an archaeological site located in the Sector of Al-`Ula within Al Madinah Region in the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. A majority of the remains date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century CE). The site constitutes the kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after Petra (modern-day Jordan), its capital. Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found.

The Quran places the settlement of the area by the Thamudi people during the days of Saleh, between those of Nuh (Noah) and Hud on one hand, and those of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) on the other. According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis were punished by Allah (God) for their practice of idol worship, being struck by an earthquake and lightning blasts. Thus, the site has earned a reputation as a cursed place—an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada'in Saleh for its potential for tourism.

In 2008, UNESCO proclaimed Mada'in Saleh as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia's first World Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented façades, of the Nabatean kingdom.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taï_National_Park
Name: Kingdom Centre
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Kingdom Centre is a 41-storey, 302.3 m (992 ft) skyscraper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the fifth-tallest skyscraper in the country, whose tallest two buildings are the Abraj Al Bait Towers and the Capital Market Authority Tower. It is the world's third-tallest building with a hole after the Shanghai World Financial Center and the 85 Sky Tower in Taiwan.

It was developed by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and designed by architects Ellerbe Becket and Omrania in joint venture. When completed in 2002, it overtook the Faisaliyah Tower, which – at 267 metres – was the tallest tower in Riyadh at that time. Besides the shopping mall, Kingdom Tower contains the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and apartments. There is a 65m skybridge atop the skyscraper.

The building is situated on a 100,000–square metre site, with parking for 3,000 vehicles. The building structure consists of two systems: reinforced concrete columns, beams and core for the first 180 meters, and a steel frame structure for the building‘s remaining height. The foundation is a four-meter-thick, 3,100-square-meter raft foundation.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_Centre
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN SAUDI ARABIA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

COUNTRY INFORMATION GUIDE
PLEASE SEE BELOW FACTS, USEFUL US GOVERNMENT TRAVEL LINKS AND BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES, FOR TRAVEL TO SAUDI ARABIA.
FACTS:
Official Languages: Arabic
Currency: Saudi Arabia Riyal (SAR)
Time zone: AST (Arabia Standard Time) (UTC+3)
Drives on the right
Calling code: +966
Local / up-to-date weather in Riyadh (and other regions): BBC global weather – click here
US GOVT TRAVEL LINKS:

For more useful information on safety & security, local laws / customs, health and more, please see the below official US travel.state.gov web link for Saudi Arabia travel advice. NB: Entry requirements herein listed are for US nationals only, unless stated otherwise.

You can also find recommended information on vaccinations, malaria and other more detailed health considerations for travel to Saudi Arabia, at the below official US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) weblink.

BUSINESS VISITOR ACTIVITIES*:
Activities you may undertake on a business visa / as a business visitor:
PERMISSIBLE
ATTENDING MEETINGS / DISCUSSIONS: TBC
ATTENDING A CONFERENCE: TBC
RECEIVING TRAINING (CLASSROOM-BASED): TBC
NON-PERMISSIBLE
AUDIT WORK: TBC
PROVIDING TRAINING: TBC
PROJECT WORK: TBC
*This information does not constitute legal advice and is not an exhaustive list. For a full legal assessment on business visitor activities, please revert to your internal company legal team / counsel.
TRAVEL INFORMATION**
It is highly recommenced that you access the above official US travel.state.gov web link and read all safety & security information prior to making your travel arrangements / planning your trip.
PLEASE CLICK / TOGGLE BELOW FOR USEFUL TRAVEL INFORMATION TO SAUDI ARABIA.

The Saudi currency is the Saudi riyal, denoted by the symbol “ريال” or “SR” (ISO code: SAR) It is a fixed at 3.75 riyals to the US dollar. The riyal is divided into 100 halalas, which are used to mark some prices, but, in practice, all payments are rounded to the nearest riyal and odds are you probably will never see any halala coins. Bills come in values of 1, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, and 500 riyals, with two different series in circulation.

The riyal is effectively also pegged to the Bahraini dinar at a 10:1 ratio. If you are considering travelling to Bahrain, virtually all businesses in Bahrain will accept riyals, but the dinar is not as easily convertible in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia is still largely a cash society. Larger businesses will accept all cards, however most smaller businesses accept debit and credit cards but some will refuse if the amount is little. ATMs are ubiquitous, although those of many smaller banks do not accept foreign cards; Samba, SABB and ANB are probably your best bets. Money changers can be found in souks, but are rare elsewhere. Foreign currencies are generally not accepted by merchants.

BY PLANE:

Saudi Arabia is a large country, which makes flying the only comfortable means of long-distance travel. State carrier Saudia has the best schedules, with near-hourly flights on the busy Riyadh-Jeddah sector (90 min) and walk-up one-way fares costing a reasonable 280 Saudi riyals (SR) (or about US$75). Low-cost competitor Nas can be even cheaper if you book in advance, but their schedules are sparser, changes will cost you money and there’s no meal on board.

BY BUS:

The Saudi Arabian Public Transport Company (SAPTCO) operates long-distance buses linking together all corners of the country. Buses are modern, air-conditioned and comfortable, but often slow, and the bus stations are more often than not several kilometers away from the city centre. The Riyadh-Dammam service, for example, costs SR60 and takes around 6 hours.

Special “VIP” services operate on the Riyadh-Dammam and Riyadh-Bahrain sectors. For a surcharge of about 50%, you get a direct, non-stop city centre-to-city centre services, plush seating and a meal on-board. They are quite good value, if the sparse schedules match your plans.

BY TRAIN:

The railway network in Saudi Arabia used to be underdeveloped, but there has been a major push to expand rail coverage. The older line running between Riyadh, Al-Hofuf and Dammam has been complemented by a new north-south line between Riyadh, Buraydah and Al Qurayyat near the Jordanian border. In 2018, a new high speed link, the Haramain highspeed railway, connecting Jeddah with the holy cities of Mecca (45 min) and Medina (2 hours), opened.

Confusingly, each railway is operated by a different company. The classic line between Riyadh and Damman is operated by Saudi Railways Organization while Saudi Railway Company operates the north-south railway. Haramain Highspeed Railway operates its own website. Online tickets are available for all services. It is advisable to buy tickets in advance as the trains are often sold out.

The standard is very high with all passenger services offering both second and business classes, with plush leather seats and 2+1 seating. On trains between Riyadh and Damman, business class is slightly less extravagant as it has an extra class, delightfully named Rehab, which compares to business on other services. For North-South services, private sleeper cabins are also available at a premium. Almost all trains have a cafeteria car serving up drinks and snacks, as well as push-trolley service and there are slick waiting lounges at stations. Also, beware that most carriages reserve the forward-facing seats at the front of each carriage for families.

BY CAR:

Car rental is available and gasoline is some of the cheapest in the world. Highway quality is highly variable, except highways that connect major cities, which are generally excellent. However, there are important reasons to think twice about car rental. The country has some of the highest accident rates in the world. Accidents are common, and if a visitor is involved in one, they would be exposed to the extremely punitive Saudi legal system; see elsewhere on this page for the warnings about that. Also be aware that any accident involving a foreigner and a Saudi citizen is automatically regarded to be the foreigner’s fault under Saudi law, regardless of whose fault it actually is. Access to car rentals is limited to persons 21 and older.

If you are involved in a car accident all parties are required to stay where they are and wait for the Traffic Police (call 993) to turn up, which can take up to four hours. English is unlikely to be spoken by the police, even in big cities, so try to use the waiting time to arrange a translator. The police will issue an accident report, which you have to take to the traffic police station and get it stamped a few times in different queues (this takes most of a morning). Only then can any damage to the car be repaired, as insurance companies will not pay for any body work without this report.

It is not uncommon for the traffic police to resolve the incident there and then by determining the guilty party and deciding compensation. So, should it be your fault the Police will ask you to pay an amount to the other party, but you are not obligated to do so.

Notoriously, Saudi Arabia used to ban women from driving on public roads. However, the law changed in June 2018, and women are now allowed to drive in the kingdom, albeit only with permission from their male guardian.

BY TAXI:

Within cities, taxis are the only practical means of transportation. Standardized throughout the country, metered fares start at SR5 and tick up at SR1.60/km, but outside Riyadh you’ll often have to haggle the price in advance. Solo passengers are expected to sit up front next to the driver: this has the advantages of being next to the full blast of the air-con and making it easier to wave your hands to show the way.

EAT:

Eating is one of the few pleasures permitted in Saudi Arabia, and the obesity statistics show that most Saudis indulge as much as they can. Unlike other businesses which kick out their customers at prayer time, most restaurants will let diners hang around and eat behind closed doors through the prayer period. New customers are generally not allowed to enter until after prayer is over.

Fast food:

Fast food is a huge business in Saudi Arabia, with all the usual suspects (McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Subway) and not a few chains that rarely venture outside America elsewhere (e.g. Hardee’s, Little Caesars). Meals invariably served with fries and Coke cost SR10-20. Some local imitators worth checking out include:

  • Al-Baik – fried chicken- in Jeddah, Mecca, Medina and Taif but not Riyadh
  • Baak – Pizza (thin crust and quite good), fried chicken, lasagna, sandwiches
  • Kudu. Saudi sandwich chain, founded in 1988.
  • Herfy Burger. Biggest fast food chain in the country, 100% Saudi-owned.
  • House of Donuts – “The Finest American Pastries” – a chain started by Saudi students who studied in America

Cheaper yet are the countless curry shops run by and for Saudi Arabia’s large Indian, Pakistani, and Bangladeshi community, which serve up large thali platters of subcontinental fare for under SR10. Just don’t expect frills like air-conditioning.

Local cuisine:

The Middle Eastern staple of shwarma (doner kebab) is widely available in dedicated little joints, with SR 3-4 being the standard price for a sandwich. The Egyptian mashed fava bean stew foul is another cheap staple, and these shops usually also offer felafel (chickpea balls) and a range of salads and dips like hummus (chickpea paste) and tabbouleh (parsley salad).

Finding restaurants that serve actual Saudi cuisine is surprisingly difficult, although many larger hotels have Arabic restaurants. Your local Saudi or expatriate host may be able to show you some places or, if you’re really lucky, an invitation to dinner at home.

  • Mandi — Chicken or mutton cooked with rice in a pot suspended above a fire.

DRINK:

With alcohol, nightclubs, playing music in public and mingling with unrelated people of the opposite sex all banned, it’s fair to say that nobody comes to Saudi Arabia for the nightlife.

Coffee shops:

Pretty much the only form of entertainment for bachelors is the ubiquitous coffee shop, which serve not only coffee and tea, but water pipes (shisha) with flavoured tobacco. These are strictly a male domain. In a government effort to minimize smoking in major cities like Jeddah and Riyadh, establishments that offer shisha are either banished to the outskirts of towns, or offer exclusive outdoor seating arrangements.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a hazelnut frappucino, Starbucks and its legion competitors have established a firm foothold in the Kingdom’s malls. These usually welcome women, although 2008 saw several arrests of unmarried couples “mingling”.

As for the coffee (kahwa) itself, try mirra, made in the Bedouin style. Sometimes spiced with cardamom, it’s strong and tastes great, particularly drunk with fresh dates. Tea (chai) usually comes with dollops of sugar and perhaps a few mint leaves (na’ana).

Alcohol:

Alcoholic beverages are strictly forbidden throughout the country, although the police generally turn a blind eye to goings-on inside compounds for foreign expats, where homebrew wine is common. However, if they catch people involved in smuggling or distilling booze in quantity, then expat or not, Saudi law applies. A foreigner may not get the sentence a local would, but can expect a few days or weeks jail, public flogging, and deportation.

There is a local white lightning known among foreigners as “siddiqui” (Arabic for friend) or just as “sid”. This is generally horrible-tasting and very potent. In addition to the obvious legal risk, there is a risk of inexpert distilling making it downright poisonous. The stuff is emphatically to be avoided.

Do not drink and drive is good advice anywhere, but especially in Saudi Arabia. If you have an accident, or otherwise attract police attention, the consequences might be serious indeed.

Soft drinks:

As elsewhere in the Gulf, Saudis are big fans of various fruit juices, ranging from the ordinary (apple, orange) to the downright bizarre (banana-lemon-milk-walnut, anyone?).

Non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks are popular. Two of the most common are Saudi champagne, basically apple juice and Sprite or soda water, and malt beverages, i.e. non-alcoholic beer, always sweet and often strongly flavored with mango, strawberry, apple, lemon etc. essences.

Hotels of all types are available throughout the Kingdom. Most tourist cities (i.e. Makkah, Madinah, Taif, Al Abha) will also have very affordable and spacious shigka-maafroosha (short-term furnished rental apartments). Shigka-maafroosha owners generally loiter in hotel lobbies. Often, they will approach civilized-looking people (generally families) and make an offer. Prices for shigka-mafrooshas and small hotels are always negotiable to a great degree. Smaller hotels will only accept cash, normally in advance.

Larger, more expensive hotels are abundant in all major cities. After the lull caused by the insurgency in 2003, prices have been rising again, and you can expect to pay north of US$200 for a weekday night at a good hotel in any of the big Saudi cities. In exchange, you usually get excellent service and the ability to work around some restrictions (e.g. restaurants that stay open through prayer hours and daytime room service during Ramadan).

**All travel information has been sourced from wikivoyage. However like wikipedia, wikivoyage is an open platform editable by any member of the public. Therefore, although very useful, all above information IS INDICATIVE ONLY and must be verified prior to personal use. Moreover, if you wish to see more information please visit: https://en.wikivoyage.org/wiki/Saudi_Arabia
TOP ATTRACTIONS
PLEASE CLICK / HOVER ON THE IMAGES BELOW FOR MORE INFORMATION.
Name: Great Mosque of Mecca
Location: Mecca, Saudi Arabia
The Great Mosque of Mecca is a mosque that surrounds the Kaaba in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is a site of pilgrimage for the Hajj, which every Muslim must do at least once in their lives if able, the rites of which includes circumambulating the Kaaba within the mosque. It is also the main phase for the Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage that can be undertaken any time of the year. The Great Mosque includes other important significant sites, including the Black Stone, the Zamzam Well, Maqam Ibrahim, and the hills Safa and Marwa. It is open, regardless of date or time.

The Great Mosque is the largest mosque in the world and has undergone major renovations and expansions through the years. It has passed through the control of various caliphs, sultans and kings, and is now under the control of the King of Saudi Arabia who is titled the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques. It is located in front of the Abraj Al Bait, the tallest clock tower in the world, the construction of which has been surrounded by controversy concerning the destruction of early Islamic heritage sites by the Saudi government.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Mosque_of_Mecca
Name: Mada’in Saleh
Location: Al Madinah Region, Saudi Arabia
Mada'in Saleh, is an archaeological site located in the Sector of Al-`Ula within Al Madinah Region in the Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. A majority of the remains date from the Nabatean kingdom (1st century CE). The site constitutes the kingdom's southernmost and largest settlement after Petra (modern-day Jordan), its capital. Traces of Lihyanite and Roman occupation before and after the Nabatean rule, respectively, can also be found.

The Quran places the settlement of the area by the Thamudi people during the days of Saleh, between those of Nuh (Noah) and Hud on one hand, and those of Ibrahim (Abraham) and Musa (Moses) on the other. According to the Islamic text, the Thamudis were punished by Allah (God) for their practice of idol worship, being struck by an earthquake and lightning blasts. Thus, the site has earned a reputation as a cursed place—an image which the national government is attempting to overcome as it seeks to develop Mada'in Saleh for its potential for tourism.

In 2008, UNESCO proclaimed Mada'in Saleh as a site of patrimony, becoming Saudi Arabia's first World Heritage Site. It was chosen for its well-preserved remains from late antiquity, especially the 131 rock-cut monumental tombs, with their elaborately ornamented façades, of the Nabatean kingdom.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taï_National_Park
Name: Kingdom Centre
Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Kingdom Centre is a 41-storey, 302.3 m (992 ft) skyscraper in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. It is the fifth-tallest skyscraper in the country, whose tallest two buildings are the Abraj Al Bait Towers and the Capital Market Authority Tower. It is the world's third-tallest building with a hole after the Shanghai World Financial Center and the 85 Sky Tower in Taiwan.

It was developed by Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal and designed by architects Ellerbe Becket and Omrania in joint venture. When completed in 2002, it overtook the Faisaliyah Tower, which – at 267 metres – was the tallest tower in Riyadh at that time. Besides the shopping mall, Kingdom Tower contains the Four Seasons Hotel Riyadh and apartments. There is a 65m skybridge atop the skyscraper.

The building is situated on a 100,000–square metre site, with parking for 3,000 vehicles. The building structure consists of two systems: reinforced concrete columns, beams and core for the first 180 meters, and a steel frame structure for the building‘s remaining height. The foundation is a four-meter-thick, 3,100-square-meter raft foundation.

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kingdom_Centre
FLIGHT TIMES / MAJOR CITIES
PLEASE SEE BELOW MAJOR CITIES IN SAUDI ARABIA / CLICK OR TOGGLE BELOW FOR FASTEST AVERAGE FLIGHT TIMES FROM USA.

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

New York: TBC
Washington DC: TBC

...WHO ARE WE?

...WHO ARE WE?

…WHO ARE WE?
…WHO ARE WE?

My name is Manny and I would like to personally welcome you to Global Visas.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluable.

Our team is dedicated to providing a consular service which focuses on attention to detail, delivering a personal approach and with a high focus on compliance. Feedback is very important to us, therefore any comments you provide about our service are invaluableI have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects...

I have provided some of my own personal testimonials over my years in immigration below; working and leading on very large projects.

Please do also view our introductory video at the following web link:

https://usglobalvisas.com/personal/more/about-us

We look forward to working with you and meeting all your expectations.

Global Immigration Leader, Big 4

“Manny. You have really gone the extra mile in supporting the US Business Visitor Service. You have demonstrated real commitment and energy, working a late shift night while we try and find others to fill the position. I know that the other night you stayed until 4am. You are always so positive and your cheerful disposition and attention to detail has resulted in excellent client feedback. On Monday the key client came to London and she was effusive about the service. This is largely due the cover you provide.”

Internal stakeholder, Big 4

“Manny is a big reason why the move from (external provider) to the UK firm’s passport and visa provision has been so smooth. He’s an extremely likeable honest hard working guy who takes his role very seriously. We’re very fortunate to have him leading our dedicated team”

External client, Private practice

“Most of my contact was with Manpreet Singh Johal. He did the best job someone could imagine. Extraordinary service from his side.”

Team member, Big 4

“Working on two priority accounts is naturally pressurised especially where he has also been responsible for billing on both accounts; yet Manny delivers every time and this I believe is an exceptional quality.”

Please think before printing – click here for more info

WEB LINKS

LOCATIONS