Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has recently released details of the tourist visa issued by the country. As per the new norms, visas will be released within hours after registering by email on the ministry’s website and uploading the required documents, much to the joy of visitors.
Foreign residents of other Gulf nations can secure the Saudi tourist visa by submitting a fee of 300 Saudi riyals and the insurance policy amount. Visitors arriving with this visa can perform ‘Umrah’, but not the Hajj pilgrimage. The tourist visa can be used multiple times.
“People in other countries can check the website visitsaudi.com, provide the details and attach the necessary documents to receive the visa by e-mail,” said Princess Haifa bint Mohammed Al-Saud, the vice minister of tourism.
Meanwhile, the Saudi authorities have imposed a condition for foreign travellers from other Gulf nations which states that the validity of their resident permits (iqama) should be at least three months and that of their passports six months.
There are two categories of tourist visas – single entry and multiple entry. With the former, a visitor can stay for a maximum of three months in Saudi Arabia. A multiple entry visa enables a stay of one year but the holder cannot remain at a stretch in Saudi Arabia for more than three months.
Under the new rules, initially parents have to apply for e-visa for their children below the age of 18 years.
According to observers, the latest visa rules would ease the journey of foreign citizens living in other Gulf countries, USA, UK and European nations to Saudi Arabia.
Earlier, people from Gulf nations utilized the business visa to visit Saudi Arabia. Incidentally, it was only in 2019 that Saudi Arabia started issuing tourist visas.