UPDATE: October 16, 2019:
Recent reports say that the list of eligible visitors has been announced. Nationals of other countries can now also apply for the Saudi tourism e-visa so long as they have an existing tourist visa or residency from the US, UK or the EU’s Schengen Area.
We did not see any updates on the e-visa website about this so we cannot independently confirm this news. But the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) announced on Jan 3, 2020 about this extension of visa on arrival. The Visit Saudi announced the same on their Instagram profile.
For every traveler, one of the ‘forbidden’ countries to visit is Saudi Arabia, only because the kingdon nation doesn’t allow tourists. That is, they never issued tourist visas.
Saudi Arabia already attracts more than two million visitors for the annual Hajj pilgrimage, and the aim now is to attract 100 million international and domestic visitors per year by 2030, with tourism contributing up to 10% of GDP.
As per the vision of Prince MBS of Saudi Arabia to bring the country in to 2030, Saudi Arabia has started issuing visa on arrival or e-visa for citizens of 49 countries.
What nationalities are eligible?
Effective 24 September 2019, nationals of
- China (incl. Hong Kong & Macao)
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
- United Kingdom
- United States
traveling as tourists can apply for a tourism visa online through e-visa portal ahead of their trip, or upon arrival in Saudi Arabia through visa kiosks at immigration.
– have a medical insurance certified in Saudi Arabia, and
– have an address in Saudi Arabia
How much does visa cost?
All visit visas, including e-Visa, visa-on-arrival and consulate visa costs SAR 440 (approx $117), including the base fee (SAR 300) and health insurance (SAR 140). VAT and payment processing are additional charges. Validity of the visa depends on its type – a single entry visa allows you to stay for one month, while the multiple entry visa allows you up to three month stay. Maximum duration of stay is up to three months per visit, with no more than 3 months with multiple entries.
- A confirmed flight booking or a hotel reservation is NOT required to obtain a visa, only the address in needed.
- Many places are still segregated by gender. And women must wear shoulder-to-toe abayas while out in public (though this is not required when hiking or traveling in remote areas, and bikinis are allowed on private beaches).
- UNESCO sites: Jeddah, the world’s largest oasis; Ah-Ahsa Oasis, where there are 2.5 million date palm trees; 10,000-year-old Rock Art in the Hail region, in the north of the country; and the archaeological site of Al-Hijr, where tombs dating from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD are preserved.
- Access to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina is restricted.