What is the change? Saudi Arabia has temporarily suspended visa processing for all visa types other than Hajj visas during the pilgrimage season. Some embassies and consulates may continue to accept visa applications until two days before the Eid holiday but will not process them until after the holiday break.

What does the change mean? Applicants for work visas, business visas and other types of visas will need to wait until after the Eid holiday, approximately Aug. 26, when processing resumes.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing until approximately Aug. 26.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visas other than Hajj visas.
  • Who is affected: All foreign nationals applying for non-Hajj visas.
  • Business impact: Employers and foreign nationals may need to delay business schedules and work start dates.

Background: Dhul Hijjah, or “month of pilgrimage,” is the 12th month of the Islamic lunar calendar during which pilgrims from around the world travel to Mecca to complete religious rites. The beginning of the month is not declared until the new moon is sighted, which is estimated to occur Sunday or Monday, Aug. 12 or 13. The EId al-Adha holiday follows on the 10th day of the lunar month and lasts for one to several days, depending on location.

BAL Analysis: Applicants should contact appropriate Saudi missions for individual schedules. Employers should factor in the processing suspension and anticipate a possible backlog and influx of applications when services resume after the holiday.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider Tools & Solutions located in Saudi Arabia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

Copyright © 2018 Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. All rights reserved. Reprinting or digital redistribution to the public is permitted only with the express written permission of Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. For inquiries please contact