Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Saudi Arabian Minister of Tourism, has signed a Ministerial Decree that will speed up, simplify, and expand travel opportunities to Saudi Arabia.
In accordance with the new regulations, citizens of the GCC can now apply for an eVisa online at www.visitsaudi.com/visa, while citizens of the United Kingdom, United States, and European Union can now apply for a Visa on Arrival.
Holders of a current tourist or business visa from the United Kingdom, the United States, or one of the Schengen Agreement nations may still apply for a visa on arrival as long as the visa has been used at least once to visit the issuing country.
By eliminating the requirement that many would-be tourists visit their country’s embassy before entering Saudi Arabia, the Ministerial Decree increases opportunities for potential travellers.
Regardless of the airline they are flying with, citizens of any country who are qualified for the 2019-introduced e-visa scheme may also be granted a visa upon arrival.
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of STA, said, “Restoring the visa-on-arrival program marks the final step in returning Saudi to a pre-pandemic level of openness and makes it one of the most accessible destinations in the world for leisure, business and religious travel. This decision by the government will further support the many thousands of people who depend on tourism for their livelihoods while welcoming the world back to the destination with the warm hospitality for which the Saudi people are renowned.”
The relaxation of all travel restrictions put in place to shield individuals from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic was announced by Saudi Arabia on March 6. People entering Saudi Arabia are no longer required to present any proof of vaccination or a PCR test.
The red list of prohibited countries has also been removed. Social distancing guidelines and institutional quarantine regulations have been relaxed. Masks are to be used only in enclosed public places.
One of the first countries to seal its borders once COVID-19 emerged was Saudi Arabia. Since then, all public spots, including hotels, restaurants, public buildings, and businesses, have been subject to strict health and safety regulations.
Less than six months before its borders were closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Saudi Arabia opened its borders to foreign tourists for leisure travel in September 2019.
In a move to increase domestic tourism, the Saudi Arabia government changed its tourism strategy, adding 11 new destinations and producing more than 270 new travel packages.
As a result, Saudi Arabia saw growth in leisure travel for two consecutive years without a corresponding rise in COVID-19 cases.
“Saudi Arabia has emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic with a burgeoning leisure and entertainment sector that includes some of the largest events in the world as well as a compelling cultural tourism offer and an increasing number of local companies dedicated to tourism. We look forward to welcoming visitors from around the world eager to explore the authentic home of Arabia,” Ahmed Al-Khateeb concluded.