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Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia Bans Jewish Visitors

(February 2004)

The following appeared on the official website of the Saudi Supreme Commission for Tourism in February 2004. The site says the policy of the Saudi Arabian government is to deny visas to Jewish People. After this anti-Semitic language was discovered and publicized by the media and Congressman Anthony Weiner, the Saudi government removed the offensive language claiming that it was a "mistake." Rep. Weiner noted that the Saudi record of anti-Semitism suggests otherwise and subsequently sponsored a bill that would control the distribution of visas to Saudi citizens until the President certifies that the Saudis do not discriminate on the basis of religious affiliation or heritage when issuing visas:

Everyone who enters the Kingdom should have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity and the appropriate visa.

Unless you are a visitor from a GCC country or in transit, all other nationalities require a visa to enter the Kingdom. Visas can be for business, tourist, transit, residency, family, Hajj, or conference attendance.

Visas can be obtained from the visa department in the Saudi Embassy of the visitor's home country or from Saudi Consulates available in all main cities around the world.

The cost of a visa is generally 200 Saudi Riyals however visitors should ensure that they check with the Saudi Embassy or Consulate.

Visas will not be issued for the following groups of people:

  • An Israeli passport holder or a passport that has an Israeli arrival/departure stamp.
  • Those who don't abide by the Saudi traditions concerning appearance and behaviors. Those under the influence of alcohol will not be permitted into the Kingdom.
  • There are certain regulations for pilgrims and you should contact the consulate for more information.
  • Jewish People

Note that the tourism site now says the “religion of applicant is not relevant.”

Sources: Congressman Anthony Weiner, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia