Table of Contents
Singapore has recently announced an exciting development for Saudi Arabian citizens – visa-free entry will be granted starting on June 1, 2023! This means that Saudi passport holders will no longer need to apply for a separate Singapore visa when traveling to the city-state for tourism or business purposes.
This guide will cover everything you need to know about the new visa waiver program for Saudis, including:
- The application process before and after June 1, 2023
- Documents required
- Length of stay and other restrictions
- Frequently asked questions
- Tips on making the most out of your visa-free Singapore visit
So if you’re a Saudi national planning your first visa-free trip to explore the sights and sounds of multicultural Singapore, read on!
A Brief Background on Singapore’s New Visa Rules for Saudis
Up until recently, Saudi citizens had to apply for an entry visa at a Singaporean embassy or through an authorized visa agent before traveling to Singapore, even for tourism or business.
The standard visa approval process took 1-3 working days and required documents like a visa application form, passport photocopies, confirmed flight itinerary as well as a processing fee starting from around $21 USD.
However, as part of deepening bilateral ties between the two countries, Singapore has decided to grant Saudi passport holders visa-free entry for short-term stays from June 1, 2023 onwards.
Both countries had previously signed MOUs on transport, logistics, infrastructure development and more during a Saudi-Singaporean ministerial committee meeting in November 2022.
New Entry and Visa Rules for Saudis Explained
According to a joint press statement, the Singapore Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) has stated the following new visa entry conditions for those on a Saudi passport traveling after June 1:
- No pre-travel visas will be required for short term tourist or business visits
- The visa waiver will be applicable to Saudi passport holders only
- Except for diplomatic passport holders, all other Saudi nationals must still apply for Singapore visas as per the current process before June 1, 2023 for travel before then
- No refunds on existing Singapore visa processing fees that have already been submitted
- All Saudi visitors must still fill up the Singapore Arrival Card electronically before landing
Please note that while previously issued Saudi visas will still be valid for travel before June 1, they cannot be extended for use after that date when the new visa waiver program comes into effect.
Upon Singapore’s official announcement, Saudi Arabia also removed visa requirements for Singaporean tourists and business visitors starting July 2023 based on the principle of reciprocity.
Step-by-Step Guide to Applying for a Singapore Visa as a Saudi Before June 2023
Since the new visa-free travel eligibility will only come into force post-June, Saudi Arabia passport holders still need to apply for a short term Singapore visa in the standard way before then. Here are step-by-step application instructions:
1. Prepare Required Documents
When applying for the visa, you will need to submit:
- A fully completed visa application form
- One recent passport-sized colour photograph with a white background
- Photocopy of your Saudi passport biodata page and other visas
- Flight itinerary confirming entry and exit from Singapore
- A Letter of Invitation (LOI) from a company or contact in Singapore, if required
- Any additional documents requested by embassy
:::info IMPORTANT: All documents in Arabic must be translated to English
2. Submit Documents at Authorized Visa Agents
Currently, the Singapore consulate and embassy in Saudi Arabia do not accept direct visa applications.
Instead, you must submit your completed forms and supporting documents to VFS Global – an authorized Singapore visa processing agent.
Alternatively, you can also apply through an accredited agent in your home country if available. Check the Singapore government website for a list of visa agents.
3. Make the Visa Payment
There is a non-refundable S$35 (SAR 80) processing fee per visa application that must be paid upfront to the agent by cash or card. Do not submit personal cheques.
In some cases, the authorized visa agent may also charge additional administrative fees for document submission, so enquire directly.
4. Check Processing Timelines
Once your complete set of documents is received, the Singapore visa application is usually processed within 1-3 working days. Complex cases may take longer.
Track your application status directly through the agent or check processing timelines on the ICA website. You will receive your approved visa by email/post.
Entry Requirements for Saudis Visiting Singapore Visa-Free Starting June 2023
With the visa waiver program starting June, travel to Singapore will be easier than ever for Saudi tourists and business visitors! Here is what you need to do before departure:
Be Eligible for Visa-Free Entry
To benefit from the new visa-free facility, you must:
- Be a citizen of Saudi Arabia
- Hold a valid Saudi passport issued in Saudi Arabia
- Travel to Singapore directly without transiting
- Enter Singapore through air, land or sea checkpoints
Other eligibility criteria may apply, so do check the ICA website.
Have An Onward or Return Ticket
Although visas are no longer needed, immigration officials may still ask you to show proof of onward or return travel from Singapore as a condition of entry.
Fill the Singapore Arrival Card
While visa-free, all international visitors must still complete the Singapore Arrival Card (SGAC) online at least 3 days prior to landing.
Be ready to provide details of your accommodation, flight information and health declaration.
Carry Travel Medical Insurance
It is highly recommended to purchase travel insurance with medical coverage before leaving Saudi Arabia. This will cover costs of treatment in case of illnesses or accidents abroad in Singapore.
Check policy coverage, claim processes and contact details beforehand.
Frequently Asked Questions on Singapore’s Visa Changes for Saudi Citizens
Here are answers to some common queries on the new visa-free entry conditions and application procedures for Saudis looking to visit Singapore:
Will I Get a Refund on My Existing Singapore Visa?
No, there will be no refunds provided for already purchased visas, regardless of processing outcomes or remaining validity at the time the visa waiver program comes into effect from June 2023.
Do Diplomatic Passport Holders Need to Apply For Visas?
No. Those carrying a valid Saudi diplomatic passport have always been eligible for visa-free entry and will continue enjoying visa exemptions when traveling to Singapore.
Can I Visit Singapore Without a Visa While in Transit?
Unfortunately, visa-free privileges do not apply if you are merely transiting through Singapore’s Changi airport without formally entering the country.
You cannot leave the transit area or need to get a regular Visitor Pass like other foreign nationals. The same goes for docking cruise ships.
What Documents Will Be Checked on Arrival?
At Singapore’s immigration checkpoint, you must present your valid Saudi passport, payment receipt for the SG Arrival Card, confirmed return/onward ticket and any other documents requested by officials.
Carry digital or print copies of these for a smooth entry process.
Handy Tips for Planning Your Upcoming Visa-Free Trip
As you count down the days to June 2023 for when you can finally explore Singapore without applying in advance for visas, here are some helpful trip planning pointers:
Book Accommodation Early
With Saudis enjoying visa-free privileges, demand for hotels may rise so reserve rooms early after finalizing your flight tickets.
Browse different areas to stay in based on your interests and budget.
Get a Local SIM Card
At Changi Airport, you can conveniently purchase a local prepaid tourism SIM card with mobile data and local calling rates. This will help you stay connected throughout your trip.
Use Public Transport to Get Around
Singapore has an excellent public transport system so get a tourist pass upon arrival. The MRT and public buses make exploring different hotspots efficient and cost effective.
Indulge in Local Cuisine
As a foodie capital, be sure to try popular dishes like Hainan Chicken Rice, Nasi Lemak, Laksa andchendol when visiting hawker centres. The vibrant mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian flavours is a must-try!
So get ready to make the most of Singapore’s visa-free entry for Saudis when the new rules kick in mid-2023 onwards!
In Summary: Key Highlights of Singapore’s Visa Waiver for Citizens of Saudi Arabia
To conclude, here are the main takeaways for Saudi tourists and business visitors on Singapore’s upcoming visa-free entry facility:
- Starting June 1, 2023, Saudi passport holders can enter Singapore without applying for visas in advance
- Short-term visa-free access for tourism, social visits and meeting purposes
- Still need to finish online arrival procedures beforehand
- Ineligible for visa waivers: Saudi residents on foreign passports, transit passengers, visa extensions after June 2023
- Pre-travel visas mandatory for Saudis looking to enter Singapore before June this year
- Visit the ICA website for latest visa and entry requirement updates
With streamlined visa policies for Saudis, travel between the two countries is set to rise substantially in 2023. So get ready to book your next holiday to marvel at Singapore’s world-famous attractions!