NEW SAUDI VISA RULES: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW

To encourage more visitors to the Kingdom, Saudi Arabia has announced a scheme allowing residents of the GCC, the UK, the US, and the EU to apply for tourist visas.

A new decree approved by Ahmed Al Khateeb, the Kingdom’s Tourism Minister makes it easier for visitors from GCC states to apply for e-visas and also for visitors from the UK, US, and EU to enter the kingdom on a visa-on-arrival scheme.

Visitors must possess a resident visa from a GCC nation with a minimum three-month validity period and a passport with a minimum remaining validity of six months in order to be eligible for an e-visa. Additionally, candidates must hold one of the mentioned on the portal jobs.

Multiple-entry visas are valid for one year, while single-entry visas are only effective for three months. Travelers can only stay in Saudi Arabia for one month with the single-entry option; multiple-entry visas allow stays of up to ninety days. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will decide in each situation; applicants cannot state which alternative they want.

This e-visa allows holders to perform Umrah outside of Hajj season, as declared by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. Pilgrims intending to perform Hajj will still need to apply for special visas through their nearest Saudi embassy or consulate.

For children under the age of 18, parents are required to apply for their e-visa first and then reapply for minors. The cost per application is 300 Saudi riyals ($80), plus the cost of valid health insurance.

Other countries eligible for the eVisa service are Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and South Korea.

Furthermore, citizens of the US, the UK, or the EU may apply for a visa on arrival. Applicants must have a passport that is currently valid for more than six months and a permanent residency permit from the US, the UK, or an EU nation. This service will be available at all ports in Saudi Arabia—air, sea, and land.

The cost per application is 300 Saudi riyals, plus the cost of valid health insurance. Again, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will decide on a case by case basis whether to grant single or multiple-entry visas. Validity and duration of stay is the same as for GCC visitors.

Holders of US, UK or Schengen visas, whether for business or tourist purposes, can also enter Saudi Arabia without needing to apply in advance, as long as the visa has already been used at least once and has an entry stamp from the issuing country.

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