On Friday September 27, Saudi Arabia made history with the announcement that tourist visas will be available to citizens from 49 countries. The development is expected to create one million new jobs for the country by 2030.
Ahmed Al Khateeb, Chairman of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Heritage (SCTH), announced the launch of the tourist visa for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at an event in Ad-Diriyah, a Unesco World Heritage Site in Riyadh.
Tourists will be able to apply for an e-visa or receive a visa on arrival into Saudi Arabia. A dedicated online portal at visitsaudi.com was also launched and electronic kiosks are set to be available at airports to facilitate requests.
The tourist visa allows for a stay of up to three months per entry, with visitors able to spend up to 90 days per year in the country. The visa is valid for one year with multiple entries. The cost of applying for an e-visa or a visa on arrival is 440 riyals (around $117) plus VAT.
Visas to travel to Saudi Arabia have previously only been issued to those travelling for religious or business purposes. This initiative is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 to develop the kingdom’s tourism industry.
The following countries are currently eligible to apply for e-visas and visas on arrival: USA, Canada, Kazakhstan, Singapore, Brunei, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, Spain, Belgium, Malaysia, Austria, Cyprus, UK, Croatia, Estonia, Andorra, Denmark, Germany, Bulgaria, France, Hungary, Czech Republic, Holland, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Lithuania, Greece, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Iceland, Malta, Poland, Latvia, Norway, Russia, Luxembourg, Romania, Slovenia, Montenegro, Slovakia, Switzerland, Portugal, Sweden, Australia, San Marino, Ukraine and China.
The e-visa scheme will be extended to other countries in due course.