The Government of Saudi Arabia has decided to reintroduce and grant visa-on-arrival to international visitors, but only when some preset criteria are met.
This new procedure came into play about two weeks after all travel restrictions, set due to the pandemic, was lifted to return the country to its pre-pandemic level of accessibility by the government of KSA or the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
However, the following criteria are to be met before an international traveller is deemed to be eligible for this new agenda-
- The government of Saudi Arabia will allow holders of valid visas for the US, UK and Schengen area visa-on-arrival.
- Regardless of the country, one hails from, if they hold any of the above mentioned three visas and are also a passenger on one of the national carriers Saudi, Flyadeal or Flynas then the Government of Saudi Arabia will grant them a 12-month tourism visa on arrival without even needing to apply in advance.
- Travellers with the three mentioned visas are required to have used them at least once to enter the issuing countries or regions while they are still valid to qualify them for the visa on arrival agenda in Saudi Arabia.
- Travellers must purchase Covid-19 insurance from any international airport.
- In 2019 the concept of eVisa was introduced in Saudi Arabia. This permits a one year (with multiple entries) tourist visa to the citizens of countries eligible for this programme. The visitors can spend over 90 days in the county for Umrah or tourism-related activities. However, it does not help to pursue education or means of livelihood. Inhabitants of those countries will also be granted a visa on arrival regardless of the airline they use.
minister of tourism for Saudi Arabia and chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority, Ahmed Al-Khateeb has stated, “Restoring the visa-on-arrival program marks the final step in returning Saudi to a pre-pandemic level of openness and makes it one of the most accessible destinations in the world for leisure, business and religious travel,”
He further added, “This decision by the government will further support thousands of people who depend on tourism for their livelihoods while welcoming the world back to the destination with the warm hospitality for which the Saudi people are renowned.”
The authorities shifted the tourism strategy of the country to draw focus to the domestic appearance by introducing new 11 destinations and coming up with more than 270 tourism packages.