Okay, this is the news we all were waiting for – and for a long time. Saudi Arabia is finally opening up to tourism and it’s doing it in a big way. Read this post to find out about how to apply for a tourist visa to Saudi Arabia and all the information about the new Saudi Arabia eVisa.
So let’s get started!
Saudi Arabia – one of the hidden gems for tourists
Not more than a year ago your holidays in Saudi Arabia were virtually impossible (they still are, but that’s going to change soon and that’s what this post is about).
The fact that there were no tourist visas available (AT ALL) meant that the only feasible way of visiting the county for a foreigner was getting a transit visa and exploring as much as possible in 72 hrs. These transit visas, however, were quite hard to obtain and had a lot of restrictions, so very few people took advantage of the transit visas. Another way to visit Saudi Arabia was through the business or event visa or by visiting relatives or friends. Both of the options were applicable to only 1% of people willing to travel to Saudi Arabia, and weren’t helping most. That means, even though you wanted to visit Saudi Arabia as a tourist, it was nearly impossible to do so.
So we all had to sit and wait until the tourist visas become available and finally it’s happening! And very soon.
The new eVisa to Saudi Arabia: what is it and how to apply?
In order to open up for travellers and invite them to visit Saudi Arabia in an easy way, the government decided to introduce eVisas to Saudi Arabia. That means that you won’t need to go to the Embassy, Consulate or a Visa Centre. Instead of that, you can apply online. In order to apply for the Saudi Arabia eVisa, you would need to follow these very easy steps. So how to apply for a Saudi Arabia visa?
a) Go to this website
b) Fill the application form
c) Pay visa application fee online
See, it’s no different from most of the eVisas you had to obtain before. The only caveat is that the eVisa to Saudi Arabia will be initially available to the citizens of the following countries only. (See below who can apply).
Eligibility for the Saudi Arabia eVisa:
Unfortunately, this amazing scheme won’t be available to everyone. The Saudi Arabia eVisa scheme will be available for the citizens of the following countries:
- EU Schengen
- South Africa
More countries will be added to the list, so make sure to monitor the updates on the official website (that you can find above). If you’re not from one of the countries listed above, sadly, you won’t be able to visit the country on the eVisa. You will have to either wait or consider other options.
Once your application is submitted, the Saudi Arabian immigration office will assess your case and grant you an eVisa, if you meet all the basic requirements. The government promises that it won’t be hard to get this visa, as the entire point of the new Saudi Arabian eVisa is to make the country easily accessible for tourists of selected countries.
When will the eVisa to Saudi Arabia become available?
If you’re wondering when will the eVisa to Saudi Arabia become available, there is no certain date announced yet. It’s likely to happen very soon. You can check the official Saudi Arabia visa page for the latest updates on the topic.
What to check before going to Saudi Arabia? Saudi Arabia visitor rules
Even though Saudi Arabia is opening up and allowing tourists to visit their beautiful country there are still a set of rules that you should be aware of if you are planning to go.
As a female, you need to dress modestly and wear loose clothes and also wearing abaya is encouraged. (As well as the headscarf in some places). As for the men, wearing shorts in public is not allowed. You can’t bring any alcohol into the country (you could go to prison for that). You can’t take photos of the government and military buildings and should abstain from taking photos of locals as well.
Hopefully, you found this post useful and should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments. I will try to answer them or at least point you in the right direction. All the information in this post is correct as of the 24th of May 2019, however, I intend to update this post for major news.
This is a collaborated post.