Saudi Arabia announces new instant e-visa options for UK, US, Schengen travelers

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Saudi Arabia announced on Monday new instant e-visa options for travelers with UK, US, Schengen visas, as well as permanent residents of those countries, as part of measures to ease travel restrictions, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Travelers can apply for an instant e-visa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

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The latest visa measures also contribute to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan of reaching 100 million visits annually by 2030.

Since opening to tourism in 2019, Saudi Arabia has become one of the fastest-growing tourism markets globally, recording 93.5 million visits in 2022, according to SPA.

The achievement is the result of the Saudi Tourism Authority’s efforts to provide travelers with unparalleled experiences and seamless travel journeys across various destinations in the Kingdom, SPA reported.

The new instant e-visa is among several initiatives that the country has launched over the past year to improve the visitor experience.

In 2022, the Saudi Tourism Authority launched the Nusuk platform in collaboration with the Pilgrim Experience Program.

Nusuk, Saudi Arabia’s first ever official integrated digital platform, provides pilgrims and visitors an easy-to-use planning gateway for their journeys to Mecca, Medina, and beyond for Hajj and Umrah.

Saudi Arabia has also previously extended regulation to provide visas on arrival to holders of valid US, UK, and Schengen visas as well as permanent residents of UK, US, and any EU country.

Meanwhile, e-visa eligibility was extended to residents of the GCC.

Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia also announced the launch of a new Stopover Visa.

Free-of-charge and available to passengers travelling on SAUDIA and flynas, the visa is open to an even greater number of countries than the standard tourism e-visa and allows visitors to stay in the country for up to 96 hours.

Tourism has been at the forefront of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 economic reform plan, which aims to diversify the country’s economy and develop non-oil sectors.

Saudi Arabia is expected to lead the demand for international travel in the Middle East between the months of June and August with a 475 percent increase in travelers compared to 2022 and a 56 percent surge from pre-pandemic levels, according to a report by travel data firm ForwardKeys.

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