Covid-19 and travel guidelines update
The IVC executive committee is closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation and we will follow recommendations concerning travel and public events. At this time, we are continuing preparations for the 12th IVC to take place in Riyadh in September 2021. However, we will review this on an ongoing basis as well as engaging in contingency planning. We are also working on alternatives to the physical conference and we will update you on any decisions regularly.
About the host country
Arabic is the official language of Saudi Arabia and the primary language used in all dealings and public transactions. English serves as an informal second language in the Kingdom and is spoken by a large section of its society. All road signs are bilingual, showing information in both Arabic and English.
Saudi Arabia’s rich heritage and traditions have been shaped by its position as a historic trade hub and the birthplace of Islam. In recent years, the Kingdom has undergone a significant cultural transformation, evolving century-old customs to fit the contemporary world we live in today.
Currencies & Payments
Saudi Arabia’s national currency is the Saudi riyal (ر.س SAR). All banks in the Kingdom offer currency exchange services. Exchange bureaus are located at airports, some shopping centres and various other locations in the country. The US dollar is equivalent to SAR 3.75 (fixed rate). Credit cards, such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express are accepted throughout the Kingdom. ATMs are also widely available.
Laws & Etiquette
- Both men and women are asked to dress modestly in public, avoiding tight-fitting clothing or clothes with profane language or images. Women should cover shoulders and knees in public.
- Public displays of affection are not consistent with local culture and visitors should also avoid using profane language or gestures.
- The sale, purchase and consumption of alcohol are illegal in Saudi Arabia. It is illegal to bring alcohol or drugs into the country.
About the tourist visa (E-visa)
Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to visitors from all over the world with a new entry visa regime in place from 27th September 2019. Tourists will obtain a multiple-entry visa valid for a year that will allow them to stay in the country for up to 90 days.
The new visa system is a historic milestone in opening Saudi Arabia to tourism. International visitors will discover the warm hospitality of Saudi people: our rich heritage, vibrant culture, and diverse and breath-taking landscapes, from the mountains of Abha to the beaches of the Red Sea and the shifting sands of the Empty Quarter.
Tourists from eligible countries can apply for a tourist visa online through our fast and easy-to-use e-Visa portal (https://visa.visitsaudi.com) ahead of their trip, or upon arrival in Saudi Arabia through visa kiosks at immigration. Tourists from other countries should apply for a consulate visa through Saudi embassies and consulates.
Applying for a tourist visa to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia is easy. If you are from one of the 49 eligible countries, you can apply through the e-Visa website. Other countries need to apply through their nearest Saudi embassy or consulate.
Getting Around & Useful Contacts
Hiring a car is an efficient and cost-effective way to explore Saudi Arabia and visit the country’s many tourist attractions. Cars can be rented at airports, or in most cities, making it easy to get out and explore.
Taxis in Saudi Arabia are easy to find, particularly around busy locations such as shopping malls, hypermarkets and public parks. All are equipped with a digital meter detailing the fare, together with information on the driver and operating company. Some hotels offer cars for private hire too.
Using Ride-hailing Apps
A number of ride-hailing apps operate in the Kingdom, including Uber and Careem. Just tap in your pick-up and drop-off locations and track your driver’s arrival online. Payment can be made either by cash or credit card.
*In the case of any issue or problem do not hesitate to call 938
Telephone code & providers
- Saudi Arabia’s country code is 00966.
- There are three mobile network providers in Saudi Arabia: STC, Mobily and Zain.
Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Saudi Arabia.
Link to website: https://www.visitsaudi.com/en
* All media & information on this page are from Visit Saudi’s website.