Travel to Saudi: GCC residents can now apply for e-Visa online

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has announced new regulations allowing GCC residents to apply for an e-Visa online to visit the Kingdom through an Visit Saudi online portal.

The Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism Ahmed Al Khateeb on Thursday signed a ministerial decree introducing new amendments to visa rules, that will make visiting Saudi Arabia faster, easier and more accessible.

The new amendments are 

GCC residents can now apply for an e-Visa through the online portal, and residents of the UK, US and the EU can apply for a visa on arrival in the Kingdom.

The visa includes first-degree relatives of the residency holder and domestic workers coming with their sponsors. 

The new decree also no longer requires visitors to visit the country’s embassy before entering Saudi Arabia, allowing potential travelers a more simplified journey.

The new amendments stipulate that visas on arrival in the Kingdom will be granted to those who hold a Schengen Visa, provided that they have entered at least once to the visa holder’s country, and this includes the visa holder’s first-degree relatives.

The amendments stipulated that visa holders must abide by the new regulations, which stipulates that they carry identification papers all the time, and that they are not entitled to perform the Haj, or to perform Umrah during the Haj season. 

The Kingdom seeks to receive 100 million tourists by 2030, as part of its plan to diversify the economy, which depends on supporting the tourism and travel sectors. 

Al-Khateeb said, “Elevating the visitors experience is at the heart of the tourism sector’s future. Through harnessing digital innovation and streamlining the traveler journey, Saudi Arabia is welcoming more and more visitors from all corners of the globe.”

In June 2022, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) quoted Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khatib as saying that the Kingdom seeks to register 12 million visits this year, compared to four million visits in 2021.

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