Saudi Arabia has launched new instant e-visa options for travelers with UK, US, and Schengen visas, as well as permanent residents of those countries, as part of its efforts to ease travel restrictions and boost tourism.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), travelers can apply for an instant e-visa through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website. The new visa measures also contribute to the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 plan of reaching 100 million visa annually by 2030.
Saudi Arabia has been one of the fastest-growing tourism markets globally, recording 93.5 million visits in 2022. 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.
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 journey 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 has announced the launch of a new Stopover Visa. Free-of-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 firm ForwardKeys.