Till only a few days ago, visit to Saudi was largely limited to business travelers, workers and their families. Pilgrims were allowed to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Madina but other travel was restricted.
Things are changing and fast.
In September, Saudi Arabia announced eVisas to tourists from 49 countries. You can read my post – Saudi Arabia Tourist Visa, All You Need to Know. Now eVisa has been extended to all nationalities provided you own a US, UK or a Schengen Visa.
Details are scant at this stage. The visa application website Visit Saudi has not been updated to reflect the latest announcement.
Nationals of countries outside the 49 in the earlier list can also apply for a eVisa. The condition is they must hold a tourist or work visa issued by US, UK or EU (Schengen). UAE has a similar visa on arrival facility for Indian passport holders. The condition UAE has is the visa must be valid for a period of at least 6 months after the travel date. I would expect Saudi to have similar requirements.
In addition to the US/ UK/ Schengen visa, you need the following
- Return tickets for your journey
- Proof of accommodation (e.g. hotel confirmation)
- Proof of finances (bank statements etc.)
It is a welcome move which is sure to increase the tourism potential of the country. Saudi is a large and diverse country and there are a lot of interesting tourist attractions.