Saudi Arabia to launch a new tourist visa on Sept. 27

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia is set to launch a new tourist visa on Sept. 27, which will allow the citizens of 51 countries to visit the Kingdom, a government source told Saudi Gazette.

The source said that the visa fee would be SR300 ($80 or 70 euros), with the applicant paying an additional SR140 for medical insurance fee thus bringing the total cost of SR440 paid by each applicant for the tourist visa.

The validity of the visa is for one year from the date of issuance, and the duration of stay in the Kingdom is three months for each visit and not more than 180 days during one year.

The visa will be obtained through an electronic platform, within 30 minutes, or through the "visa on arrival" process when the tourist arrives in Saudi Arabia.

A return ticket or hotel reservation is not required to obtain the visa; In this case, the tourist address is only sufficient.

A paper copy of the visa is not needed, and a digital copy is preferred. It is also required that the passport be valid for at least six months.

The Muslim visitor will benefit by performing Umrah during the non-Haj season, entering Makkah, visiting Madinah and any of the Saudi cities as a tourist.

The applicant is required to be at least 18 years of age. Those below the specified age require a companion above that age to be the guardian.

The Saudi ports that receive visitors holding a tourist visa includes King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Abdulaziz Airport in Jeddah, King Fahd Airport in Dammam, King Fahd Causeway, Prince Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz Airport in Madinah, and Al-Batha land crossing.

The sources said that this move would open the way for the world to see the beauty of Saudi Arabia and increase non-oil revenues to contribute to its prosperity. It is also in line with Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aspirations.

The sources stressed that the tourist must issue a signed pledge prior to obtaining the visa. The most important of which is to endorse that the information documented in the application is correct, abide by all Saudi laws and regulations, and to respect the Islamic customs and traditions of its people.

In case of any violation, the authorities have the right to stop the visitor from entering the Kingdom and send the visitor back to the country from where he had come.

The number of countries benefiting from the visa is expected to increase in the first quarter of 2020, while some of the current countries are the United States, Canada, Britain, New Zealand, South Korea, Italy, Iceland, France, Norway, Spain, Greece, Netherlands, Romania, Croatia and Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Singapore, Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Russia, Austria, Belgium, Poland, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Bulgaria.

Paris Verra, a foreign tourist who recently visited the Kingdom, said that the Saudis are the nicest, most accepting and welcoming people.

"I love the people here, and I can't express that enough. I especially love the way they live and how important family is to them. I find life in Saudi Arabia to be extremely safe and respectful — which is very important to me as a foreign woman traveling. Saudi Arabia feels like home to me," she said.

"After seeing a few photos of Al Ula once getting my visa, I didn't want to leave Saudi Arabia until I visited there. I was still traveling full time, but Al Ula became a priority must visit. After spending months in Saudi Arabia without seeing that region, I already ended up falling in love with this country. Al Ula was only a bonus to my experience," she added.

"I have already recommended tons of people to KSA through my social media account. My recommendation is to go with an open mind, have coffee and dates with the locals, and to explore the towns as well as the beautiful landscapes. Once they visit, I highly recommend not leaving without seeing AlUla, Jeddah and Abha,” she said.

She described AlUla as "The vastest beautiful place I have visited in Saudi Arabia and probably in all of the world". It's breathtaking, so much history and beauty here that I visited two weekends in a row and would love to go back soon.

On Abha, she said, “This was the most recent place I visited, and I can easily say it's unlike any of the other sites. Abha has a beautiful green mountainous landscape with incredible sunsets, rich culture, and the most kind, welcoming, vibrant people. In my experience, I think the people of this region are some of the kindest and inviting of all the areas.”

On Jeddah, she added, “Another one of my favorite spots that I need to go back to explore more. I spent a weekend here, swimming in the Red Sea amongst the most colorful coral sea life I have ever seen. I have been snorkeling in tons of countries — even the Great Barrier Reef in Australia — nothing compares to the reef here. Another highlight is the historical Town of Jeddah.”