Here are some of the common questions and answers about KAUST Commencement

Commencement participants are welcome to invite guests to both the Ceremony and Reception. Note that the maximum capacity for each event’s guests is six guests per graduate.

You must register all guests. An email with the registration link and details has been sent if you have registered to take part in the Commencement. Guests must be aged 12 and over for the Commencement Ceremony and Reception.

Registration for guests to the Commencement Ceremony is open until November 30, 2023.

It is important to note the following:

-          Guests at the ceremony & reception must be 12 years and over.    

-          A separateregistration for the reception is required. [1] 

-          Only guests with valid tickets will be permitted to enter the Commencement reception. 

-          For guests who will need a visa to travel to the Kingdom, you are encouraged to use the tourist visa process.  If your guests are not eligible, you will be able to apply for government visas for your guests. Given the additional time needed for the government visa process, all government visa requests need to be completed no later than November 13, 2023.

More details on tourist visas are available here - Visit Saudi Official Website: Tourist visas.

As plans for the Ceremony could change due to unforeseen circumstances, we suggest that you ensure that travel costs are transferable or refundable.

KAUST cannot confirm the accuracy or completeness of the information provided from the above links and, as such, assumes no responsibility for any costs, fines, prohibitions, or needed changes that may be the result of not meeting the travel requirements.

Please note that travel and accommodation costs are the responsibility of Commencement participants and their guests.

OCEE need to confirm what's the registration mechanism is for the reception.

Yes, registration for Commencement is required for all participants. Registration is open from Monday, October 16, 2023, through Sunday, November 5, 2023, and an email with registration details is sent to all eligible students.

Guest registration opens on November 1, 2023. The registration link is sent directly to all registered students to participate in the Ceremony.


As of June 13, 2022, the Government of Saudi Arabia no longer requires the use of a face mask or proof of vaccination (Tawakkalna app) to enter the Kingdom.

Keep up to date with travel information by visiting the Visit Saudi website.


KAUST cannot confirm the accuracy or completeness of the information provided from the above links and, as such, assumes no responsibility for any costs, fines, prohibitions, or needed changes that may be the result of not meeting the travel requirements.


Spouse, daughters/sons (all attending children must be registered as guests), father, mother, sister, brother, the immediate family of sister, immediate family of brother, father-in-law (if spouse is a KAUST resident), mother-in-law (if spouse is a KAUST resident), sister-in-law and her immediate family, brother-in-law and his immediate family, grandfather, grandmother, step-father, step-mother, step-son, step-daughter, uncle, aunt


KAUST resident guest (Current student, staff member, Research Park tenant, KAUST Community member)

All participating graduates are required to process gate access for their guests through the VMS system (https://vms.kaust.edu.sa/) on their own.

All international travelers must possess valid passports and visas to travel to Saudi Arabia. If a Kingdom guest is eligible for a tourist visa, this is the process that should be used.

For guests not eligible for a tourist visa, to obtain a Saudi visa, there are several required steps, which are described below:

  1. Degree candidates must complete the guest registration process and indicate visa assistance is needed.

    Note that a visa request must be completed for each 
    out-of-Kingdom guest who needs assistance.

    - The following documents must be uploaded at the time of registration:
    - Passport copy for each visitor
    - Notarized proof of relation to the family member (i.e., marriage certificate, birth certificate)
    - Passport copy, or iqama copy, of the degree candidate (who is applying for the visa)
    - Other documents may be required

    No submissions will be reviewed or approved until all requested documents are submitted.

  2. All visa requests for students and family members wishing to attend Commencement must be submitted as described above by November 13, 2023. Any forms submitted after this date may not have enough time for processing. The degree candidate must complete the visa request form for their family members.

  3. Upon completing the visa request(s), the University will request a visa approval letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Once a visa approval letter has been issued, it will be sent to all eligible degree candidates, who can then send it to their families to apply for a Saudi visa.

  4. All attendees (student and family member) who are residing outside of the Kingdom will then apply for a visa by sending the required paperwork (including passport, visa approval letter, visa application form, and any other documents specified in the application) to the agent recommended by the Saudi Embassy/Consulate in the city from which the visa will be issued.

    Government Affairs ' Embassies Relations will provide a list of recommended visa agencies (upon request), along with the visa approval letter. Some countries require the visa process to be completed through a VFS TasHeel visa agency (which requires personal attendance for its fingerprinting process).

    As visa requirements and policies can change, applicants are urged to seek current information from the agent recommended by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in their home country before applying for the visa.

Visa Type and Validity (Government Visit Visa)

  1. The visa approval number is valid for 90 days from the date of its issuance; visitors must have their passports stamped during that period. 
  2. Visitors must enter the Kingdom within 90 days of stamping the visa. 
  3. The duration of stay is 30 days.
  4. Visitors) They must depart from Saudi Arabia on or before the last day they are authorized to be there. Should a visitor stay beyond the permitted period, a penalty of 200 SR per day will be imposed.
  5. Commencement-related visas must only be used for visiting Saudi Arabia from December 1 through December 31, 2023.


Passport Validity

Passports must have a minimum of six months remaining validity upon the date of arrival into the Kingdom to allow entry into Saudi Arabia. Passports should contain at least two empty pages adjacent to each other for the visa. Saudi Embassies do not accept handwritten passports. Also, the passport must have at least two names (first and last) for an individual, as one-name passports are not accepted.

KAUST cannot confirm the accuracy or completeness of the information provided from the above links and, as such, assumes no responsibility for any costs, fines, prohibitions, or needed changes that may result from not meeting the travel requirements.


KAUST lends participants regalia (free of charge) for the Commencement Ceremony; however. A personal fitting with the tailor, if requested, is included and will take place on Nov. 14 to 16, 2023.

You can select the option to purchase regalia on your registration form at the cost of SAR 1,955.00, including VAT (MS Gown) and SAR 2,127.50, including VAT (PhD Gown).*

* Correct as of November 20, 2023.

The option to purchase regalia can only be selected at the time of Commencement registration.

The availability of in-person collection dates is from November 14 to 16, 2023. If you are unable to attend your selected collection date, you may NOT get regalia on the rehearsal and ceremony days.

You are responsible for looking after your regalia from the collection date until the rehearsal and ceremony. 

If you choose to borrow your regalia, you will check in when you arrive at your regalia collection location. Staff will be on hand to assist you with the size you selected on the registration form. Once you have collected your regalia, a photographer will take your regalia headshots, and you will take the regalia with you. 

Note that you are responsible for keeping your regalia in good condition and must bring it on the rehearsal and ceremony days. 

If you choose to purchase your regalia, you will check in when you arrive and will be fitted at this time. Your regalia is then tagged and stored for you to collect before Commencement rehearsal. Times will be sent closer to the day.

If you registered to attend Commencement, you must register for your regalia collection. You should have received an email with information about regalia pickup dates and have been asked to register.

-          If you choose to borrow your regalia, you must register to collect them at the available times from November 14 to 16, 2023. If you miss registering and collecting your regalia on the allocated dates, you may NOT get regalia on the rehearsal and ceremony days. 

-          If you choose to purchase your regalia, you are still required to register and come on those dates to get fitted for your regalia.  You will be informed once your regalia is ready for collection at another date.

-          We will have a photographer, and your headshot will be taken at those regalia collection dates, so please come prepared.


Questions? Email commencement@kaust.edu.sa

You will be asked for your size details as part of the Commencement Registration. You must inform us at commencement@kaust.edu.sa if you are outside of the Kingdom and will not be able to collect your regalia on those dates, November 14 to 16, 2023. We will then prepare and store your regalia for collection at an appointed date to be confirmed. 

Once you have completed the guest registration form, you will then be eligible to book rooms for yourself and/or guests at Alkhozama Hotel at KAUST. The hotel booking can be made through the Hotel Booking Form here. Note that room availability is limited; you are advised to make your reservation as soon as possible.

A paper ticket will be given to the students for their guests on the rehearsal day. These will be distributed in December after guest registration has been completed.

This year's Commencement introduces an exciting new format. An in-person Ceremony for participants and limited guests will take place in building 20, Auditorium, on December 15, 2023.

First, the Plenary Ceremony, scheduled from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m., will feature the arrival of distinguished guests, the Commencement speaker, faculty, and graduates. The program commences with the National Anthem and a Quran recitation, followed by inspiring speeches from the Vice Provost, President, and the Commencement speaker. Families can be part of the Plenary Ceremony through live streaming on YouTube.

Subsequently, the three Academic Division Ceremonies will run from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Each ceremony accommodates 4-6 guests per student, with a personalized experience with speeches and degree conferral. Closing with a Post-Ceremony Celebration at the University Spine after each Academic Division Ceremonies.

Commencement Reception: Thursday, December 14, 2023 – KAUST Amphitheater

Commencement Ceremony: Friday, December 15, 2023 – Building 20, Auditorium

Digital photos taken at the regalia pickup dates will be sent to students at the end of February 2024.

For attendees requiring a visa:

Tourist visa: A tourist visa is the quickest way to obtain a visa for your guest(s), and a tourist visa should be used for any attendee who is eligible to apply.  To see applicable countries and to apply, please use the Visit Saudi website

Family Visit Visa: Family Visit Visas (FVV) are only available for guests of participants who have not exited KAUST and who are not eligible for a tourist visa. To obtain, you need to apply directly through Government Affairs services. Please note that you must first complete the above guest registration form to register them as a Commencement guest. Due to visa processing times, all requests for FVV letters through KAUST must be requested no later than November 13, 2023.

Business Visa: Business visas will only be issued for guests of non-Saudi graduates who have exited the University and whose guests are not eligible for a tourist visa. You can obtain a visa letter by filling out the information required in the Business Visit Visa Letter Request Form and sending it back to us in order to get a visa letter for you and your guests. Due to visa processing times, all requests for business visit visa letters through KAUST must be requested no later than November 13, 2023.

Once you receive the visa letter for you and your guests, please visit this website to find out the agency information you need to get your visa from the country you and your guests are coming from. Note that it is the student's and the guest's guardian's responsibility to process their visa from their home country. KAUST can assist in providing a visa invitation letter, which will be sent to you for your guest to use when applying for a visa from their home country. 

As you prepare for this momentous occasion, we kindly request that you be mindful of the presence of other graduates and guests by not bringing children under 12 to the event.

To ensure the safety and enjoyment of all participants, we have arranged a childcare service during the ceremonies. Please note that registration is required in advance and will close on December 3.

To register your child for the childcare service, please follow the link here

Important information:

●       The childcare service will be provided exclusively for graduate students and faculty members.

●       The service will operate during the ceremonies on Dec. 15 from 3:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the campus library; see view.

●       Children will receive soft snacks (only vegetable sandwiches and fruit) and water. If there are any other food requirements, the parents or caregivers should be at the place to feed the kids with their food supplies.

● The family should provide diapers, wipes, and other required items.


KAUST invites you to bring up to six guests to Commencement 2023. However, this is at your own expense, and KAUST does not hold any obligation to pay for any costs your guests might incur. 

Arrangements for Commencement may change should unforeseen circumstances arise.  These changes may occur at short notice.  KAUST is not responsible for any costs incurred by participants or their guests.

If you are returning from Out of Kingdom or Out of KAUST, we invite you to do so at your own expense. KAUST is not responsible for the cost incurred.

Still need help?

For any other questions, please write us at commencement@kaust.edu.sa