Getting an eVisa to Saudi Arabia
Travel to Saudi Arabia has not been very easy in the past. The reason being the country’s stringent policies and regulations related to the issue of Visas to international visitors. The only foreign nationals permitted to enter the country included migrant workers, travellers possessing business visas and Muslims undertaking the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages in the cities of Mecca and Medina.
However, in a bid to diversify its economy and reduce dependency on oil revenue, the government of Saudi Arabia is considering tourism as a viable revenue option. Saudi Arabia has implemented a system to provide eVisas and Visas on arrival to tourists with effect from September 2019. This has made it very convenient to travel to Saudi Arabia. In this article, you can get all the information you need to get electronic travel visas to Saudi Arabia.
What is an eVisa to Saudi Arabia?
The electronic visa to Saudi Arabia is a multiple entry visa; the visa can be used for one trip only. It is valid for a short-term stay not exceeding 90 days. Visitors planning a trip to Saudi Arabia can apply for an electronic visa prior to the date of travel. It will take a few days for the travel permit to be processed after submitting the application. On approval, the applicant will receive an electronic copy of the visa via email. The same has to be printed and produced to the Saudi authorities when one enters the country.
eVisa to Saudi Arabia: The Requirements
Applying for an electronic Visa to Saudi Arabia shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. There are some obligatory requirements when applying for the eVisa.
- You must be a citizen of an eligible country.
- You must have a valid passport; minimum 6 months validity from the data of entry. You will be asked to submit passport proofs.
- You must have a valid email address.
- A mandatory insurance policy. The insurance policy is issued at the time of eVisa application and linked to the travel permit. Entry is barred without an insurance policy. It is emailed to the applicant along with the eVisa.
Applicants have to fill an online form available on the official site. Make sure you supply the correct personal information requested in the online form. On completion of the eVisa application form, you will be asked to make an online payment. This online payment is inclusive of the eVisa fee and the mandatory insurance policy. The payment can be made using a debit or credit card.
Are all countries eligible for an eVisa to Saudi Arabia?
The answer is no. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has identified only 49 countries whose natives can enter the Middle Eastern kingdom on an eVisa. They are Australia, Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Brunei, Canada, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Cyprus, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and United States.
If your country does not feature among the list of countries eligible for an eVisa but you wish to travel, it is advised you contact the nearest Saudi Arabian embassy. To add, citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and UAE do not need a visa to enter Saudi Arabia.
Visiting Saudi Arabia: Other Tips
Saudi Arabia has relaxed its visa restrictions. Travellers however are still expected to follow the social protocol. As an Islamic state, carrying alcohol, pork and drugs is prohibited. Non- Muslims are not allowed to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. The shops are closed during prayer time. While female tourists will not have to the abaya, they are expected to wear modest clothing. A headscarf is compulsory when visiting a religious place.
The facility to complete the visa application procedure online dispenses with the need to spend time at an embassy or at an airport to obtain a tourist visa. The eVisa to Saudi Arabia is linked to the applicant’s passport. Thus, the authorities are better prepared to monitor the foreign nationals entering the country, thereby reducing security threats.
If you have always put off your travel to Saudi Arabia because of the Visa restrictions, now might be the time to reconsider it. Applying for an eVisa to Saudi Arabia has never been easy.