For tourists from the Middle East, Saudi Arabia attracts millions of tourists every year. Access to mobile data while traveling is essential for staying connected and getting around the country quickly. Many travelers choose to buy local SIM card at Saudi Arabia airports upon arrival, as it is a convenient option. This comprehensive guide will give you all the necessary information to get a SIM card at Saudi Arabia airports.

sim card at Saudi Arabia airports

I. Which Airport in Saudi Arabia Offers SIM Card for Tourists?

Which Airport in Saudi Arabia Offers SIM Card for Tourists
Which Airport in Saudi Arabia Offers SIM Card for Tourists?

If you will be visiting Saudi Arabia soon, fortunately, the kingdom’s largest international airports make it very convenient for tourists to purchase prepaid SIMs upon arrival. Major hubs like those located in Jeddah, Riyadh, Dammam all offer easy access to temporary SIM cards from major carriers like STC, Zain and Mobily.

  • King Abdulaziz International Airport (Jeddah):  Located in Jeddah, it’s one of the busiest airports in the Middle East. You can purchase SIM cards from stalls operated by the three major carriers – STC, Zain and Mobily.
  • King Khalid International Airport (Riyadh): Situated in Riyadh, the capital city. SIM cards available for purchase at stores within the airport. Plans catered to travelers with data-only options.
  • King Fahd International Airport (Dammam):  Serves the Eastern Province city of Dammam. You can head to carrier counters near luggage claim to activate a prepaid SIM with short term packages.

In summary, the three major international airports of Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam have multiple locations where prepaid SIM cards issued by local Saudi telecommunications carriers can be obtained and tourists who land on that flight these stations will have a SIM card.

II. Where to Buy SIM Card at Saudi Arabia Airports?

Here are the main locations to buy SIM card at Saudi Arabia airports within the arrival areas:

  • SIM card kiosks: Independent SIM card kiosks and shops are present within arrival halls of Saudi airports, usually located close to the baggage belts. These sell SIM cards from various network providers in one location for ease of comparison. You can buy and activate a SIM card quickly at these kiosks.
Getting SIM card in Riyadh - Airport kiosk
Getting SIM card in Riyadh – Airport kiosk
  • Airport convenience store: Many airport duty free stores and convenience outlets also stock SIM cards from leading Saudi carriers. These shops are easily accessible in the arrival zone. You can purchase a Saudi SIM card along with other items you need at the airport.
Buying SIM card at Saudi Arabia Airport - Convenience Store
Buying SIM card at Saudi Arabia Airport – Convenience Store

III. What to Prepare to Buy a SIM Card at Saudi Arabia Airports?

Here are some tips on things to prepare and keep in mind when purchasing a SIM card at Saudi Arabia airports:

  • Carry your passport – Your passport is mandatory to show as ID proof when buying a Saudi SIM card as a foreign tourist. SIM card agents will make a copy of your passport personal info page to register and activate the SIM.
  • Know your phone requirements – Check if your phone has an unlocked SIM slot that can accept a foreign SIM card. Also confirm the SIM card size – regular, micro or nano – that fits your phone model before purchasing.
  • Decide on a data plan – Browse prepaid data packages offered by Saudi telcos online in advance. You can choose plans with enough data, SMS and calling balance suited to your trip duration and needs. Share your preference when buying the SIM.
  • Have cash ready – Most SIM card kiosks at Saudi airports accept cash payments in Saudi Riyals (SAR) or US Dollars. Have the right amount ready to make the payment smooth. Some may accept credit/debit cards as well.

Tips: Check that the SIM card is activated and working before leaving the airport. Ask the sales staff for help to test it out by making a call or using mobile data.

IV. Saudi Arabia eSIM – an Alternative to Airport SIM Card

Saudi Arabia eSIM - Alternative for tourists
Saudi Arabia eSIM – Alternative for tourists

While SIM card at Saudi Arabia airports provide the convenience of connectivity right upon arrival, eSIMs offer greater flexibility and security during your stay in Saudi Arabia. Here are some benefits of using eSIM instead of SIM card at Saudi Arabia airports:

  • Easy online purchase – eSIMs can be purchased digitally on provider websites without visiting a store. 
  • Instant activation – eSIMs activate quickly over-the-air by scanning a QR code or through mobile apps. 
  • Greater flexibility – You can purchase data packs on eSIM as per your actual usage and keep adding more data during the trip. 
  • Multi SIM functionality – eSIM allows you to access two different network provider plans on a single device simultaneously. 
  • Better security – eSIMs are embedded securely on device hardware and can’t be removed or stolen physically like regular SIM cards.

With, you’ll have one less thing to stress about. As the leading provider of eSIM plans for the Kingdom, they offer simple digital SIMs that provide fast 4G LTE data anywhere in the country. Whether you need coverage for 3 days or an entire month abroad, their flexible package options start from just $5.

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Do I need to show passport to buy Saudi Arabia SIM card?

Yes, showing your original passport is mandatory at the time of purchasing a SIM card as a tourist in Saudi Arabia for registration and verification purposes.

How much data and validity do Saudi airport SIM cards have?

Prepaid SIMs from airport kiosks typically come with 1GB to 2GB data valid for around 7 to 15 days. Higher data packages with longer validity periods are also available.

Can I use Saudi SIM card in other GCC countries?

Saudi Arabia SIMs may have limited roaming access in some GCC states depending on the telecom provider. But charges could be very high for using Saudi SIMs outside Saudi Arabia.

Do eSIMs work on all smartphones?

No, eSIM capability is currently limited to newer models of iPhones and few Android smartphone brands. Check your device compatibility before opting for eSIM.

Can I use Saudi SIM in WiFi routers or tablets?

Regular mini/micro/nano SIMs can be used in WiFi routers, tablets, laptops etc. with SIM slots. But eSIMs will not work as they are embedded into smartphones. For other devices, buy a separate physical SIM.

VI. Conclusion

Purchasing a local SIM card upon arrival should be a priority for any tourist visiting Saudi Arabia to stay conveniently connected through their trip. The major Saudi Arabia airports at Jeddah, Riyadh and Dammam offer multiple SIM card outlets and kiosks for foreigners right in the arrival zones.

Also consider eSIM from that can be purchased digitally for greater flexibility, you can have seamless cellular and data access to make the most of your time in Saudi Arabia.