There are different kinds of natural resources located in the world, but not all countries possess all these resources. For example, despite the presence of deserts, there is one country whose beaches attract tourists, which is Saudi Arabia. It would be better if you have a local Saudi Arabia SIM card while traveling around the country for calling, texting or using data services throughout the trip. The following guide provides useful details on how to get a SIM on visit visa in Saudi Arabia.

I. Should I Buy a Saudi Arabia SIM Card For My Saudi Trip?

Should I buy a new Saudi SIM card
Should I buy a new Saudi SIM card?

If you’re planning a trip to Saudi Arabia, there are several options to stay connected, including: Free WiFi, pocket WiFi, roaming, local SIM card, and most recently, eSIM.

While free public WiFi networks are widely available, they often block popular communication apps like WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype, limiting their usefulness. Roaming on your home cellular plan is not ideal either, as overseas charges can burn through your budget quickly.

Rental pocket WiFi routers that tap into local cellular networks improve on public WiFi but don’t solve the app blocking issue. Using a local SIM card gives you cellular data access at affordable prices, but you’ll face the same app restrictions or you need to use VPN.

For reliable, uncensored internet usage with full access to all your apps, an eSIM is a new solution. It provides you with a legitimate local mobile number connected to the fastest 4G/5G networks, so you get full speed and coverage wherever you go. With all the benefits of using a local cellular service but without physical SIM limitations, eSIM lets you easily communicate digitally through censored apps like a native resident during your travels in the KSA.

II. How Can I Get a Tourist SIM in Saudi Arabia?

Saudi SIM card - Mobily Store
Saudi SIM card – Mobily Store

Here are the 3 main options for getting a SIM card on visit visa in Saudi Arabia as a tourists:

  1. Buying online before your trips: If you want to ensure you have mobile connectivity arranged ahead of time, you can purchase a prepaid SIM card online from the websites of major Saudi mobile operators like STC, Mobily or Zain before your travel. During the online purchase process, you will need to provide your passport details for verification and identity confirmation purposes.
  2. Buying upon arrival in Saudi Arabia: Another convenient option is to purchase a prepaid SIM card directly after you land in the country from retail outlets of the mobile operators, which can be found easily at airports and major shopping malls. When buying from a physical store, you may need to show your passport for photocopying or scanning for verification and activation of the SIM card.
  3. Purchasing an eSIM: You can now activate an Saudi Arabia eSIM remotely.  For travelers who prefer connectivity without any paperwork hassle, an eSIM provides the benefit of instant start to mobile services upon arrival in KSA.

So in summary, airports on arrival, operator stores, or online purchases are the easy options for tourists to smoothly buy a prepaid Saudi SIM card or eSIM and stay connected throughout their visit. Instant connectivity is assured through the purchase options.

III. Saudi Arabia SIM Card Types – Which One is the Best for Tourists?

There are a few different types of SIM cards available in Saudi Arabia for tourists to choose from:

CategoryType of SIMFeatures
FormPhysical SIMTraditional plastic SIM card that needs inserting into device. Available at retail stores.
eSIMDigital SIM profile installed via QR code scanning. No physical card.
FunctionData-only SIMProvides only high-speed data connectivity. More affordable option.
Voice & Data SIMCombines data usage with a local phone number for calls/texts.
Tourist SIMShort-term prepaid plans targeting travelers. Data-focused options without voice minutes.

In summary, eSIM has made staying connected incredibly simple for modern tourists. By removing the need for physical SIM cards, it offers unmatched flexibility and convenience of connectivity across international travels. No wonder, eSIM is fast becoming the preferred connectivity solution for global nomads.

IV. How Much Data is Enough for a Prepaid Tourist SIM Card for Saudi Arabia?

The use of data during a trip depends on an individual’s needs and as such, the corresponding data requirements may differ significantly. Here are some considerations on data needs:

Usage LevelData AllowanceTrip DurationPurpose
Light Usage2-4GB1-2 weeksOccasional emails, simple maps, translating words
Moderate Usage6-12GB1-3 weeksMore frequent social media, navigation, music streaming
Heavy Usage15-30GB or more1-4 weeksStreaming movies/shows, online gaming, VR usage

In summary, 5-10GB of data is generally sufficient for most 1-2 week tourist trips to Saudi Arabia to stay comfortably online through basic and moderate usage. Adjust based on your specific travel plans and digital habits.

V. How Much Does a Saudi Arabia SIM Card Cost?

There are three major mobile network operators in Saudi Arabia – STC, Mobily and Zain. All three offer affordable prepaid SIM card plans with varying data and call minute allotments to suit different traveler needs. Costs for prepaid Saudi SIM cards are quite affordable, with the following typical rates:

OperatorPlanData AllotmentSocial Media DataCall MinutesCost (SAR)Valid ForCost (USD)
STCsawa basic1GB1 GB6040.254 weeks$10.72
sawa flex10 GB10 GB50086.254 weeks$23.01
sawa captain15GBUnlimited50097.754 weeks$26.01
sawa share plus25 GB25 GB500132.254 weeks$35.20
sawa post plus70 GBUnlimited800195.54 weeks;$52.01
MobilyPrepaid 755 GB5 GB600754 weeks$20
Prepaid 11010 GB15 GB1,5001104 weeks$29.33
Prepaid 15020 GBUnlimited3,0001504 weeks$40
Prepaid 18050 GBUnlimitedUnlimited1804 weeks$48
Unlimited 220100 GBUnlimitedUnlimited2204 weeks$58.67
ZainVisitor 303GB2 weeks303034.52 weeks$9.20
Visitor 5015GB2 weeks505057.52 weeks$15.33
Visitor 7010GB4 weeks707080.54 weeks$21.47
Visitor 13025GB4 weeks1300149.54 weeks$39.87

So in summary, Saudi SIM card with adequate data allowance for short tourist visits to this country can be obtained from as low as 10 USD, allowing travelers to stay connected throughout their trip with ease. The variety of plans across operators also provides flexibility based on specific budget and usage needs.

VI. Saudi Arabia eSIM – Alternative to Physical SIM Cards

If you’ll be traveling to Saudi Arabia soon, an eSIM provides a seamless alternative to dealing with physical SIM cards. allows you to easily purchase a plan online before your trip and get connected as soon as you arrive without having to swap SIM cards. By using Zain’s stable and fast network, you’ll be able to stream media, download apps, and browse the web with ease while on the go in Saudi Arabia.

Starting from as low as $5 for a 7-day package, travelers on a budget will find eSIM plans to be highly affordable. Say goodbye to the hassle of finding a SIM card kiosk at the airport or struggling to insert a tiny nano-SIM into your phone.

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VII. How to Set Up Your Saudi Arabia SIM

Activating your new Saudi Arabia SIM card is a quick and easy process:

  • Step 1: Insert the SIM card/ Activate eSIM
  • Step 2: Activate your plan. Once you’ve inserted the SIM card or scanned the QR code, you might need to activate your chosen data plan with the provider. Instructions will usually be provided during setup or on the provider’s website.
  • Step 3: Turn on mobile data. Find the mobile data toggle in Settings and switch it on. Your carrier details should now populate.
  • Step 4: Activate internet access.

That’s it! Within a few minutes, you can have mobile service for your Saudi Arabia trip.

VIII. Best Mobile Operators for Saudi Arabia SIM Cards

Here are the top three providers tourists should consider for prepaid Saudi Arabia SIM cards:

ProsWidest coverage nationwideCompetitive prices for data packsGood selection of plans for tourists
ConsPlans on the expensive sideLimited coverage compared to othersCustomer service needs improvement
CoverageVirtually 100% of country95% coverageAround 98% coverage
Price range (SAR)40-19530-15075-220
Price range (USD)$10.67 – $52$8 – $40$20 – $58.67
eSIM Available?Yes, can purchase eSIM onlineYes, purchase eSIM onlineYes, eSIM available online

All three networks have excellent nationwide coverage, fast LTE speeds and affordable prepaid packages. Each offers great options for tourist SIMs in Saudi Arabia. While not as extensive as market leader STC, Mobily covers around 98% of the country which includes all major cities, towns and tourist spots. Their network reaches where most travelers need connectivity. So, for great prepaid plan deals and worthwhile connectivity as a tourists, Mobily comes highly recommended as one of the top operator choices.

IX. Tips for Saving Data on Saudi Arabia SIM Card

To reduce data usage on your Saudi SIM and avoid costly top-ups, follow these tips:

  • Use WiFi whenever available in hotels, cafes etc.
  • Download maps, music via WiFi before traveling outdoors
  • Disable auto app updates; update manually over WiFi
  • Limit streaming, download content in advance
  • Keep data roaming off to avoid charges outside KSA
  • Track usage in settings to monitor consumption

Following these tips will help you minimize unnecessary data usage and stick within your prepaid SIM allowance during your Saudi trip!


Can I use my regular SIM card from home in Saudi Arabia?

You can, but it is very expensive as you will pay high roaming rates for calls, texts and mobile data. A local SIM is much cheaper.

Are there SIM card scams to watch out for?

Only buy SIMs from official mobile provider stores/kiosks, authorized resellers, or major retailers. Avoid street vendors.

Do I need to show passport/ID to buy a SIM card?

No, you can purchase a prepaid tourist SIM with just cash. No identification is required.

Can I use a Saudi SIM across the Middle East?

No, Saudi SIMs only provide service within Saudi Arabia. Roaming charges apply outside the country.

Are there any activation fees for prepaid Saudi SIMs?

No, prepaid SIMs offer great value without any activation fees or contracts. You just pay for the SIM credit upfront.

How many SIM cards are allowed in Saudi?

Travelers on visit visas can purchase up to 2 prepaid SIM cards during their stay in Saudi Arabia. These SIM cards cannot be used indefinitely and must be deactivated before departure.

XI. Conclusion

Getting a Saudi Arabia SIM card is highly recommended for staying conveniently connected on your trip through calls, texts and internet data. With a local Saudi SIM, you can have constant access to maps, travel apps, social media, messaging and more. This allows you to better explore everything Saudi Arabia has to offer!