What is the change? Individuals traveling from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia on either a multiple-entry or a single-entry visit visa will be required to enter and exit Saudi Arabia using the specified mode of entry (air or land). The change has not been officially announced or confirmed by immigration authorities, but has been implemented and applied in practice.

What does the change mean? Previously, individuals living in Bahrain but working in Saudi Arabia were able to commute to Saudi Arabia for business purposes regardless of the specified mode of entry. Border immigration officials are now enforcing the mode-of-entry specification and are not allowing individuals with visit visas with the “air” mode of entry to go through the Bahrain-Saudi Arabia causeway except on an exceptional basis.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visit visas to enter Saudi Arabia.
  • Who is affected: Business visitors traveling or commuting from Bahrain to Saudi Arabia.
  • Business impact: The change reduces the ease of travel between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain for business purposes and may increase the cost for Saudi Arabian businesses if employees are required to travel by air. Employees may see delays if they are required to apply for a “land” mode-of-entry visit visa to travel across the causeway.

Analysis & Comments: When businesses are applying for a Saudi Arabian visit visa from a Gulf Cooperation Council country (excluding Qatar), they have an option to mark the mode of entry as “open” rather than the specified “air” or “land” mode of entry. For future visit visa applications, employers are encouraged to take note of this option to avoid delays when employees travel to Saudi Arabia.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.