Saudi Arabia expands eligibility for e-visas, including 6 new countries
On Tuesday, October 17, 2023, the Saudi Ministry of Tourism made an announcement concerning the broadening of the list of countries eligible for the Saudi tourist e-visas. This expansion now encompasses six additional countries, namely Turkey, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Thailand, Mauritius, Panama, and Seychelles.
This marks another step in Saudi Arabia’s strategy to extend the scope of countries eligible for e-visas. In August 2023, eight new countries were incorporated into the list. With the recent inclusion of these six countries, the total number of countries eligible for electronic applications for Saudi tourist e-visas now exceeds 60.
The tourist e-visa, issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, permits travelers to stay within the country for up to 90 days during its one-year validity period. This visa category is classified as a multiple-entry visa, allowing for numerous trips to the Kingdom. The Saudi Ministry of Tourism has clarified that travelers from these countries have the option to apply for e-visas electronically, as well as the possibility to obtain visas upon arrival at various entry points in Saudi Arabia.
The Ministry has outlined the permissible purposes for using this visa, which include tourism, undertaking the Umrah pilgrimage, and business travel for attending conferences, exhibitions, and social visits, such as visiting family and friends. Travelers are advised to adhere to the stipulated duration of stay in the visa. Visa renewal is only possible upon expiration, and it is important to note that this visa category does not grant permission for employment in Saudi Arabia in exchange for a salary, or participation in the Umrah during the Hajj season.
It is noteworthy that the Saudi tourist e-visa is also available electronically for residents of GCC countries (Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman), the European Union, the United States, and the United Kingdom. This convenience is extended to holders of Schengen visas and visas from the United States and the United Kingdom, irrespective of their nationality.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia introduced the tourist e-visa in September 2019 with the primary aim of promoting tourism. This initiative seeks to offer visitors from across the globe the opportunity to explore the unique destinations, rich culture, and heritage of the Kingdom, while participating in a wide range of tourism and entertainment events organized throughout Saudi Arabia.