Saudi Arabia expands list of nationals who can apply for tourist visa
On September 27, Saudi Arabia made the historic announcement it was opening its doors to the rest of the world and ushering in a new era of tourism and tolerance. As part of this mission, the Kingdom are continuing to make it even easier to get into the country.
The announcement last month revealed that around 50 different countries now have the opportunity to apply for an eVisa or obtain a tourist visa on arrival. The list is expected to grow in the future but currently includes citizens from the likes of China, Italy, United Kingdom, United States, Malaysia and Japan.
Recent reports have revealed however that the list of edible visitors is already growing as a new system has been announced. Nationals of other countries can now also apply for the Saudi tourism visa so long as they have an existing commercial or tourist visa from the US, UK or the EU’s Schengen Area.
This stipulation gives the opportunity to a whole host of different nationals to enter KSA for holiday reasons, so long as they have an issued visa from one of these agreed areas.
The Saudi Arabia eVisa is valid for an impressive 90 days, allowing tourists to visit multiple times per year within a one-year period. The eVisa costs around US $120 (AED 441), along with a health insurance fee.
Saudi’s push into the world of tourism comes as the country is preparing to diversify its economy and ready itself for a post-oil era. It makes up part of crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030, consisting of law changes and economic diversification. Other examples include the increase in sporting and music events in KSA, with the K-pop legends BTS appearing in the country.
Known as a very traditional and conservative land, Saudi Arabia has been gradually relaxing its laws to become more appealing to more Western tourists. These relaxations include no longer needing to wear an abaya or hijab in public or tourist women, as well as tourist women being allowed to share a hotel room with an unmarried man.
"Opening Saudi Arabia to international tourists is a historic moment for our country," tourism chief Ahmed al-Khateeb said in a statement.
The country has been proving its tourism worth with a series of beautiful campaigns, showcasing the surprising variety of what the Arab country has to offer. It offers everything from diving, to rock climbing, to beaches, to historical Islamic sites.
Read more on Saudi Arabia’s tourism offerings here.