Saudi Arabia Revises Visa Rules 2023
Saudi Arabia New Visa Rules 2023: A Comprehensive Guide for GCC Residents
The government of Saudi Arabia recently made a significant alteration to its visa application process, particularly for residents of GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries. The new policy allows individuals to apply for tourist visas regardless of their occupation or profession. The country’s Minister of Tourism, Ahmed al Khateeb, recently announced this change.
As part of its efforts to boost the tourism sector, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has recently introduced a new visa scheme for GCC residents. With the primary aim of increasing the tourism contribution to the Kingdom’s gross domestic product to 10 percent by 2030, the new visa scheme offers GCC residents the option to apply for an eVisa through the Visit Saudi online portal, enabling them to visit Saudi Arabia for both Umrah and tourism purposes.
Under this new policy, residents of GCC countries are now eligible to apply for tourist visas, which can be used for tourism and Umrah (a pilgrimage to Mecca) visits. The visa is available in two forms: single entry or multiple entry, which means that travelers can choose the option that best suits their needs.
This new policy marks a significant shift in Saudi Arabia’s visa application process and is expected to boost the country’s tourism industry by attracting more visitors from neighboring GCC countries. It also demonstrates the government’s commitment to expanding its tourism sector and promoting the country’s unique cultural and historical attractions to a wider audience.
What has been Revised in 2023 for Saudi Arabia Visa?
In the past, only certain professions were eligible for tourist visas in Saudi Arabia. However, with the recent changes to the visa application process, residents of GCC countries can now apply for tourist visas regardless of their occupation or profession. The visa application fee for GCC residents is SR300 ($80).
To apply for the tourist visa, there are a few conditions that need to be met. Firstly, the GCC residency document must be valid for at least three months. Additionally, the passport of the applicant must also be valid for at least six months.
By relaxing the visa requirements for GCC residents, Saudi Arabia is hoping to increase tourism and promote cultural exchange between neighboring countries. The country is known for its rich history, diverse landscapes, and unique cultural offerings, and the new visa policy is expected to make it easier for visitors to experience these attractions. With the relatively low cost of the visa and the streamlined application process, more travelers from GCC countries are likely to take advantage of the opportunity to visit Saudi Arabia.
Applying for the Saudi Arabia Visa Scheme for GCC Residents
The new visa scheme has simplified the visa application process, eliminating the need for visitors to visit an embassy in person to apply for a visa. As long as you are a citizen of one of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nations and meet the following conditions, you are eligible to apply for the Saudi eVisa:
- The GCC resident’s occupation must be among the eligible occupations listed on the online portal.
- The residency document must be valid for three (3) months.
- The passport must be valid for at least six (6) months.
- A parent application is mandatory for children under the age of 18.
To apply for the Saudi eVisa, GCC residents need to follow these simple steps:
- Visit the MOFA website and log in to your account.
- Fill out the required information.
- Upload the required eVisa documents.
- Once approved, you will receive your Saudi eVisa via email.
Saudi Vision 2030
The new visa scheme is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, which aims to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP to 10 percent by 2030. In line with this goal, the Kingdom has planned to invest up to $200 billion and welcome around 100 million visitors by 2030.
According to the Saudi Ministry of Tourism, around 64 million trips were made by residents in the Kingdom in 2021, with the number of visitors from abroad reaching 5 million in the same year. The tourist visas introduced by the Kingdom in 2019 continue to exist without any restrictions for those coming for tourism in the Kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has been making several announcements aimed at attracting more regional tourists and providing more activities for visitors from GCC countries. The latest change to the visa application process is part of a larger effort to develop and grow the tourism sector in the country.
The tourist visa was initially launched in 2019 and has since undergone several changes to streamline the application process and expand its availability. The visa has proved to be a crucial tool in attracting visitors to the country and boosting the economy.
In 2022, the Saudi Tourism Authority announced the launch of Nusuk, the country’s first-ever official integrated digital platform, in collaboration with the Pilgrim Experience Program. The platform aims to offer an easy-to-use planning gateway for all pilgrims and visitors journeying to Makkah, Madinah, and other parts of the country. The platform provides a range of information and services, including travel itineraries, transportation, accommodation, and other essential resources for visitors to make their trip to Saudi Arabia as convenient and enjoyable as possible.
Overall, these announcements and initiatives demonstrate Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing and promoting its tourism industry. With its unique cultural and historical attractions, scenic landscapes, and modern amenities, the country has the potential to become a top tourist destination in the region.
Why Visit Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is a fascinating country that is rich in history and culture, offering visitors a unique travel experience. The country has several iconic landmarks that are worth visiting, such as the Al-Ula historical area, the ancient city of Mada’in Saleh, and the historic site of Diriyah.
Apart from its rich history and culture, Saudi Arabia has recently invested in developing its tourism infrastructure, with the aim of making the country one of the top tourist destinations in the world. The country has invested in developing new tourist attractions such as theme parks, museums, and resorts, providing visitors with a diverse range of experiences.
In addition, Saudi Arabia has a rich culinary scene that is worth exploring. From traditional Saudi Arabian cuisine to international dishes, the country has something for everyone.
The new Saudi Arabia visa scheme for GCC residents is a significant step towards increasing the tourism sector’s contribution to the Kingdom’s GDP. The eVisa application process is straightforward and easy, making it accessible for visitors to apply for a visa from the comfort of their own home. With the country’s investment in developing its tourism infrastructure, there has never been a better time to visit Saudi Arabia and experience the country’s unique history, culture, and attractions.