Travel.State.Gov > U.S. Visas > U.S. Visa: Reciprocity and Civil Documents by Country > Saudi Arabia
Select a visa category below to find the visa issuance fee, number of entries, and validity period for visas issued to applicants from this country*/area of authority.
Visa Classification: The type of nonimmigrant visa you are applying for.
Fee: The reciprocity fee, also known as the visa issuance fee, you must pay. This fee is in addition to the nonimmigrant visa application fee (MRV fee).
Number of Entries: The number of times you may seek entry into the United States with that visa. "M" means multiple times. If there is a number, such as "One", you may apply for entry one time with that visa.
Validity Period: This generally means the visa is valid, or can be used, from the date it is issued until the date it expires, for travel with that visa. If your Validity Period is 60 months, your visa will be valid for 60 months from the date it is issued.
Available: At time of birth. Sometimes hospitals are able to reproduce birth notifications and/or endorse copies at a later time.
Fees: Fees vary from hospital to hospital.
Document Name: Birth Certificate/ Birth Certificate for Non-Saudis. Older versions of the birth certificate are either paper documents or small booklets issued by the Ministry of Health. Either of these is acceptable for immigration purposes. In the past, Saudi authorities would issue a ‘temporary’ birth certificate and hold the permanent document until the baby completed its vaccinations. These temporary birth certificates are also acceptable. For recent newborns, Saudi Authorities issue certificates in the shape of large notecards. These are acceptable for immigration purposes. When a baby is born, the hospital issues a birth notification to the Ministry of Civil Affairs. The parents can then receive the birth certificate from the Ministry.
Issuing Authority: Ministerial Agency for Civil Affairs, Ministry of Interior
Special Seal(s) / Color/Format: Civil Affairs Seal; Color white (older version green)
Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Varies. Sometimes issued by a magistrate, sometimes a registrar. The document may have a signature or name stamp.
Registration Criteria: Parents must hold valid identification. For non-Saudis, both parents need to be legally-documented (iqama-holding) residents of KSA in order to obtain a birth certificate. The Iqama is the Saudi legal residency card for non-Saudis.
Procedure for Obtaining: Request at the Ministerial Agency for Civil Affairs (Al Ahwal Al Mudniyah) office in district of residence. The Ministry will require a birth notification from the hospital where the baby was born and parents’ valid identification. Appointment can be made online: moi.gov.sa
Certified Copies Available: The Saudi government will authenticate copies of the birth certificate, provided that the requester presents a copy of the original document to the Ministerial Agency for Civil Affairs.
Alternate Documents: In cases where a birth certificate is not available, the nationality card (Tabiya) should be used. Tabiyas are only available to Saudi citizens. Third country nationals born in Saudi Arabia who are unable to obtain birth certificates should provide two affidavits of birth attested by a Saudi government entity such as a government ministry, court, or neighborhood chief (Omdah), or a lawyer.
Exceptions: Birth certificates are not available to persons born prior to 1968.
Comments: Birth certificates issued by embassies or foreign missions in Saudi Arabia are generally not acceptable for immigration purposes. However, third country nationals living in Saudi Arabia originating in countries experiencing serious civil unrest (such as Yemen, Syria or Somalia) and therefore unable to access civil services from their home countries, or those born while their parents were not in legal status in Saudi Arabia and therefore unable to obtain a Saudi birth certificate, may approach a special office in their embassy to obtain a birth certificate. To be considered, these embassy birth certificates must be authenticated by the Saudi MOFA.
Document Name: Death Certificate / Death Certificate for Non-Saudis
Issuing Authority: Ministerial Agency for Civil Affairs, Ministry of Interior
Special Seal(s)/Color/Format: Civil Affairs Seal; Color white/blue
Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Varies
Registration Criteria: Police report, burial letter from the cemetery, identification documents
Procedure for Obtaining: Request from the Ministerial Agency for Civil Affairs in district of residence. Requester must provide: Ministry of Interior Police Report, burial letter from the cemetery, and identification documents. Appointment can be made online: moi.gov.sa
Certified Copies Available: Certified copies by Sharia Court are available (see below sections).
Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents
Available: Marriages in Saudi Arabia are conducted in accordance with Sharia (Islamic) law.
Fees: There are no fees
Document Name: Marriage Certificate/ Marriage Certificate for Non-Saudis/ Marriage Contract
Issuing Authority: Sharia courts. Sharia courts fall under the Ministry of Justice.
Special Seal(s)/Color/Format: There are two main documents to consider: the marriage certificate and the marriage contract. The marriage contract deals with arrangements to include dowries, names of witnesses, and other legal details of the marriage. The marriage certificate is a simplified document without the financial details. Either are acceptable documents for immigration purposes. The marriage certificate is a small booklet with a green cover. The marriage contract is a document, currently issued on A4 letterhead. A Saudi-issued marriage contract has the Ministry of Justice logo (a small picture of a book) in the top margin. Older versions of the marriage contract are printed on oversize stock paper (approximately 11x28 size). Non-Saudi Sharia Court marriages may be recorded with different documents (see exceptions).
Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Sharia Court, Ministry of Justice. Islamic weddings are performed by a judge.
Registration Criteria: In accordance with Islamic laws, two witnesses must be present at the marriage.
Procedure for Obtaining: Sharia courts issue marriage and divorce certificates. Every district in Saudi Arabia has its own Sharia Court. Depending on the size of the court in that district, there may be a Personal Affairs Office under the Sharia Court which deals with marriage certificates.
Certified Copies Available: Contact the Sharia Court by phone or E-mail.
Alternate Documents: Authenticated copies of the certificate are available, provided the requester presents to the court a copy of the original document. These authenticated copies are acceptable for immigration purposes. Once the Sharia Court verifies the copy with their records, the judge will stamp the document with his seal. The seal’s pattern and color vary.
Exceptions: Only the Saudi government is authorized to create legally-binding marriages that are valid for immigration purposes. In the cases of third country nationals who get married outside of a Sharia Court in Saudi Arabia, that marriage must be endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There are MOFA offices located in most major cities. For example, a third country national who performs his/her wedding ceremony at his/her country’s embassy in Saudi Arabia must have their wedding certificate and/or marriage contract endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will affix a small stamp with two crossed sabers and a tree on it when they endorse the document.
Of note, under Sharia law in Saudi Arabia, women are not permitted to remarry after the death of their husbands until four months and ten days have elapsed.
Comments: If a copy of the original document cannot be presented, the court can only state it has confirmed details of the marriage or divorce based on its records. This would be acceptable for immigration purposes.
Available: Divorces are conducted in accordance with Sharia (Islamic) law.
Document Name: Divorce Deed
Issuing Authority: Sharia courts
Special Seal(s)/Color /Format: Saudi-issued divorce certificates come from the Ministry of Justice and bear a court seal. The document is issued on A4 letterhead with the Ministry of Justice logo (small book symbol) on the top. Older versions of the divorce certificate are printed on oversize stock paper (approximately 11x28 in size).
Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Justice Clerk and/or Judge
Registration Criteria: Both parties or their representative must attend in person and deliberate after the initial oral divorce pronouncement by the husband is made.
Procedure for Obtaining: Sharia courts issue marriage and divorce certificates. Every district in Saudi Arabia has its own Sharia Court. Depending on the size of the court in that district, there may be a Personal Affairs Office under the Sharia Court which deals with the divorce certificates.
Certified Copies Available: Requester should contact the Sharia Court by phone or online.
Alternate Documents: Authenticated copies of the certificate are available, provided the requester presents the court a copy of the original document.
Exceptions: Divorces conducted outside of Saudi Sharia Courts (such as at a foreign embassy or consulate) may have a different appearance. However, a divorce conducted outside of the Saudi Sharia courts (for a marriage carried out within Saudi Arabia) must be endorsed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to be legal for immigration purposes. A Saudi official will place a stamp on the document with two crossed sabers and a tree.
Comments: If a copy of the original document cannot be presented, the court can only state it has confirmed details of the marriage or divorce based on its records. To be acceptable for immigration purposes, there are some additional criteria depending on the type of divorce. The first set of criteria applies to the talaq type of Islamic divorce. Talaq is the unilateral pronouncement by a man that he divorces his wife. Typically, these types of divorces are identifiable in the divorce document by the phrase “talaq, talaq, talaq,” or use of the modifier “revocable” in the divorce contract. If the husband pronounces “talaq” the divorce is valid, but revocable for a period of three menstrual cycles (iddah). Officially, this period of time corresponds to 90 days. If he says “talaq” privately, the divorce is still valid, but witnesses are required to authenticate the divorce in writing. During the iddah waiting period the parties can reconcile, which effectively revokes the divorce. Talaq divorces must specify both the registration date and its later authentication. The registration date is when the divorce proceedings began (typically when the husband initially pronounces divorce). The authentication date is when an official confirms that the iddah has passed and the divorce is both final and irrevocable. If there is no authentication date on the document, then any subsequent marriage within the 90-day period of the registration date are not acceptable for immigration purposes.
Typically, Saudi courts will only issue divorce certificates after the iddah period has passed. These divorce certificates will specify that the 90 day period has passed and the divorce is final. However, this can vary based on the different grievances of both parties, how property was divided, etc. In summary, divorce certificates that are generated in Saudi Arabia are acceptable for immigration purposes if they (1) demonstrate that both parties are informed of the divorce (2) are issued or endorsed by the Saudi government (3) and clearly show that the divorce is final/irrevocable.
Unavailable: Adoption in Saudi Arabia is not legal. In Islamic tradition, a surviving family member may be granted guardianship, but parentage cannot change. Guardianship is not acceptable for immigration purposes.
For non-Saudis, residence cards (Iqamas) are typically arranged by the employer. The employer becomes the sponsor, and the employee may then stand as a sponsor for his/her family members.
Fees: 30 Saudi Riyals
Document Name: Criminal Record
Issuing Authority: Ministry of Interior
Special Seal(s)/Color/Format: White paper with blue stamps/seals.
Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Interior.
Registration Criteria: Police clearances are available for Saudi citizens and resident third country nationals. Saudi citizens currently residing overseas must return in person to process the police clearance.
Procedure for Obtaining: In order to obtain the police certificate for immigration purposes, applicants will need to obtain a request letter addressed to the Saudi authorities from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh or U.S. Consulate General in Dhahran. Applicants in the Consulate General Jeddah district should check with the police station in their town or city to determine whether they require a letter in order to obtain the police certificate, as some stations do not require any documentation. If a letter is required, applicants in the Consulate General Jeddah district can obtain the letter from their country’s embassy/consulate [NOTE: If applicants are unable to obtain the letter from their embassy/consulate, Consulate General Jeddah can furnish the letter]. This letter will contain the applicant’s name and Iqama number (non-Saudis)/national ID number (Saudis). Upon receipt of the request letter, applicants must authenticate the document with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office (every major city has a Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office). Next, applicants present the letter to the Crime Branch Division Police Station in their district for processing. Applicants will need to bring their Saudi identification document (Tabiya for Saudis or Iqama for third country nationals) and the letter from the embassy/consulate requesting the police clearance.
Applicants may request a letter from the appropriate U.S. Mission office as follows:
Police certificates are valid for one year.
Certified Copies Available: Certified copies are not available, but police departments can issue new certificates.
Alternate Documents: There are no alternate documents.
Exceptions: Police clearances are unavailable for third country nationals who no longer reside in the Kingdom.
Comments: The best time to go to the police stations is 10:00am Sunday-Thursday. Police clearances from Riyadh are now processed electronically. However, other cities may still issue the paper version. Police certificates will only confirm that ‘no charges’ exist against the applicant. They will not provide details of the crime or the civil action.
Types Available: Regular, Diplomatic, Special (Official)
Information regarding regular passports is available here: mofa.gov
Information regarding diplomatic and special passport is available here:
Document Name: Passport (Jawaz Safr)
Issuing Government Authority: Ministry of Interior (Jawazat)
Special Seal(s)/Color/Format: Regular (Green) Diplomatic, Special (Dark green)
Issuing Authority Personnel Title: Ministry of Interior (Jawazat)
Registration Criteria: Must be a Saudi Citizen holding a national identity card. NOTE: In rare cases, a Saudi employer or friend who is well-connected at the Ministry of Interior can obtain a Saudi passport for a non-Saudi, usually from a nationality with onerous visa requirements, to facilitate his/her foreign travel. These passports do not confer any citizenship benefits to the bearer, and if doubts exist about an individual’s Saudi citizenship, s/he should be asked to present his/her Saudi national ID card.
Additional information for regular passports is available here: mofa.gov
Additional information for diplomatic and special passports is available here: mofa.gov
Procedure for Obtaining: In the case of a lost or damaged passport, an applicant must report the loss within one week from the date of knowledge of the loss. He or she must also provide either a police report in the case of a lost/stolen passport, or a civil defense report if the passport was destroyed in a fire. Next, the applicant must create an appointment electronically via the following link: moi.gov
Guardians must be present for women or children under the age of 21, and married applicants of all ages must attend personally. Everyone over the age of 15 must have a national identity card when a Saudi passport is issued to replace a loss. Applicants must provide two photos 4cm×6cm white background (those over the age of 15 are preferred to be in Saudi national attire), and fill out the following form: gdp.gov.sa/sites/pgd/ar-SA/PassportServices/Forms/Pages/default.aspx. Any applicant under the age of 15 must bring to the appointment their original family card and a paper copy of it. The principle applicant or the guardian may collect the passport after issuing.
Alternate Documents: Saudis can travel with their Saudi national identity card to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries without the Saudi passport.
Post Title: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Embassy)
Unit 61307, APO AE 09803-1307
Phone Number: +966-11-488-3800
Comments / Additional Information: None
Riyadh provides Immigrant Visa services for all of Saudi Arabia. Nonimmigrant Visa Services are provided in Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dhahran.