Saudi Arabia to Extend e-Visa Service to 7 New Countries
The KSA has announced 7 new countries as new beneficiaries of the Saudi Arabia e-Visa system. It means no more visa stickers on passport holders of Egypt, India, UAE and 4 more countries visiting the Kingdom.
According to the official statement of the Saudi Arabia embassy in Egypt, the e-Visa service was expanded to seven countries as of 11th May 2023.
This decision was preceded by an initiative announced by the KSA Foreign Ministry earlier this month, which assumed the implementation of e-Visa service at certain missions of Saudi Arabia located abroad.
Countries added to the KSA e-Visa service
The first stage of the entire procedure is expected to start e-Visa issuance in Jordan, Egypt, the UAE, India, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Bangladesh.
Nationals of these 7 countries no longer need visa stickers on their passports as they were replaced by e-Visas issued with QR codes.
The expansion of the e-Visa service is part of the activities aimed at upgrading and automation consular services and procedures, including the issuance of work, visit and residency visas to the KSA.
The KSA and its attempts to attract more foreign visitors
Saudi Arabia attracts many ex-pat workers and the country tries different attempts to encourage more and more foreign visitors and diversify its oil-reliant national economy.
In January 2023, the number of foreign visitors to the KSA reached 2.4 mln, while a month later, it was 2.5 mln.
By the end of 2023, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia expects to welcome 25 mln foreign visitors.
As the cradle of Islam, Saudi Arabia has recently opened a number of facilities for Muslims who wish to visit the Kingdom for the purpose of pilgrimage or performing Umrah.
Undertaking Umrah is possible based on different entry visas held, including personal, visit and tourist visas.
Earlier this year, the Kingdom also expanded e-Visa eligibility to GCC residents of all professions, while previously, they were allowed to apply for a tourist visa online only while only performing the professions accepted by the KSA government.
Saudi Arabia e-Visa characteristics
Saudi Arabia e-Visa is issued as a multiple-entry visa and permits a stay of 90 days in total throughout a 1-year validity period. This visa is recognized at all seaports and airports across the Kingdom. The KSA e-Visa does not cover business-related purposes.
The visa covers mainly tourism-related activities, including:
- family/friend reunions
- pilgrimaging to Mecca (Umrah)
Important: Participation in Umrah with Saudi e-Visa is only permitted out of the Hajj season. Performing Umrah during the Hajj requires applying for a special visa directly at the Ministry of Hajj.