Instant Saudi e-Visa Now Available for the US, UK, and Schengen Visa Holders
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced a new instant e-Visa scheme for the US, UK, and Schengen visa holders. Travelers matching the said categories can now apply for a Saudi online visa provided that they have used their existing visas to enter the issuing country at least once.
The Saudi Arabia e-Visa is also to be available to permanent residents of all EU member countries. Their first-degree relatives will also be eligible for a Saudi Arabia visa on arrival at any entry point in the Kingdom, whether entering via land, air, or sea. These travelers are currently entitled to apply for a tourist visa online.
The KSA Government also has underlined that the e-Visa system does not allow one to obtain a visa for the purpose of Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage.
New visa policy aims at facilitating tourism
The number of recent changes in the Saudi Arabia visa policy is aimed at boosting the country's tourism sector and encouraging international visitors to visit the Kingdom.
The entire visa application process will be online, without any need to fill out documents physically or book an in-person embassy or consulate visit.
Saudi Arabia is currently one of the fastest-growing tourism markets globally. In 2022 alone, the country welcomed more than 93 million visitors, and it is just the beginning of the country's plan.
By 2030, the Kingdom plans to reduce its dependence on oil, diversify its economy, and develop public service sectors, among other things, focusing on tourism.
Other recent changes in Saudi Arabia Visa Policy
Instant e-Visa service is just one of the recent reforms made in the KSA visa policy.
In 2019, Saudi Arabia introduced its first electronic visa platform allowing nationals of 50 different countries to get a visa to the KSA online.
Recently, the list of e-Visa eligible countries has been extended by residents of the GCC countries, i.e., holders of residence cards of the following countries:
- United Arab Emirates
Yet another recent change was made at the beginning of 2023 when the Saudi government dedicated to introduce a stopover visa for travelers who only need to transit through the KSA before reaching their final destination.
This stopover visa permit passengers in transit traveling on Flynas or Saudia flights to exit the airport zone and explore tourist attractions of the Kingdom for maximally 96 hours before taking the connecting flight.