Although not for the casual study abroad student, Saudi universities are attractive for their world-class technology and research departments and their generally free tuition. The Saudi government has been pushing for investment in domestic universities, a change in the current trend of financing Saudi nationals to attend university in the United States, Europe and Canada. Newer universities like the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology offer scholarships for students all over the world. The first step to studying in the Kingdom is obviously to contact the school or program of interest and follow the guidelines to apply. Most programs require a scholarship for foreign students and can therefore be quite competitive. Once accepted into the program, you still must apply for a student visa.
Perks of a Saudi student visa:
Student visas first and foremost allow the student to access their scholarship. Admitted students can still be denied visas at the Saudi embassy thus losing their spot at the school. Therefore, it is important for students to carefully follow directions for the visa application process. Student visas generally allow for multiple re-entries provided that the student does not reside outside the Kingdom for more than 13 months.
How to apply for a student visa:
First, you will need a passport which is valid for at least 12 months with two blank adjacent pages. You will also need the electronic authorization and invitation letter from the Saudi university. The other requirements are very similar to those needed for Saudi employment visas: local police clearance, medical reports signed and stamped by a doctor and a visa questionnaire. Additionally, students will need to provide their original birth certificate and high school diploma. Students under the age of 18 must also provide notarized written consent from their parents. Visa fees, like all Saudi visas, can only be paid through Enjaz. Travel Visa Pro can complete your Enjaz and payment on your behalf as well as personally take your visa application to the embassy, so you can avoid the hassle of shipping it directly to the embassy.