DUBAI 17 January 2019: The General Authority of Civil Aviation in Saudi Arabia has issued a circular requesting all airlines to allow passengers with eligible visas issued by a Schengen Member State, the United Kingdom or the United States travelling to Saudi Arabia for tourism to embark as they are now eligible to obtain a visa upon arrival per an expanded policy, and no longer require a visa prior to travel.
In September 2019, Saudi Arabia opened an online portal for nationals of 49 countries to apply for a one-year multiple-entry visa for tourism (e-visa), following the implementation of a Royal Decree introducing visas for tourists, said immigration specialists Fragomen.
In October 2019, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage’s (SCTNH) issued more detailed regulations and included holders of visas issued by select third countries to be eligible for a visa-on-arrival, but the law was not fully implemented in practice until now.
The law has been even further expanded recently, allowing foreign nationals that are not on the list of countries eligible for a visa-on-arrival for tourism based on their nationality to obtain the visa if they hold a valid visit or commercial visa issued by a Schengen Member State, the United States or the United Kingdom. The visa must be valid, must have been used at least once and the foreign national must have an entry stamp of the visa-issuing country endorsed on their passport.
Foreign nationals travelling to Saudi Arabia for tourism can obtain a visa through the following means:
· Upon arrival in Saudi Arabia (a visa-on-arrival);
· Through an online portal (an e-visa); or
· Through a Saudi consular post abroad.
Visit visas for tourists are issued for a single- or multiple-entry for up to 30 or 90 days, respectively.