Saudi Arabia makes it easier to enter its territory
September 15, 2022
Saudi Arabia will make changes to its entry requirements. This will mainly benefit citizens from Europe, Great Britain and the United States.
The Saudi Arabian Tourism Authority has announced that it will simplify the process of entering Saudi Arabia. The process will change from an online electronic visa process to a visa on arrival. Travelers from Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States will be affected by this new measure. Another condition will be a passport valid for at least six months on the day of entry
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Saudi Arabia continues opens up to tourists
Saudi Arabia continues to invest in its tourism infrastructure and recently the creation of a new airline was announced. The Kingdom is now lowering bureaucratic hurdles for travelers with a new visa on arrival scheme. Until 2019, Saudi Arabia was a blank spot on the map for many travelers. Visa issuance was extremely restrictive, and only an invitation from a Saudi partner allowed one to apply for a visa. Tourist travel was impossible, with the exception of the Hajj to Mecca, which is frequented by Muslim pilgrims. For a short period before the pandemic, it was finally possible to visit the country as a tourist for the first time.
After two years of suspending the granting of visas, Saudi Arabia is continuing on the path of opening up tourism that it had previously set out to do. The goal is to welcome 100 million new visitors to the country by 2030. The visa fee, which is 300 Saudi reals, or about 80 euros, should not be overlooked. From now on, visas will be issued on arrival for tourists from Europe, the United Kingdom and the United States. It is no longer necessary to fill out a complicated electronic visa application on the Internet and only the presentation of a passport valid for at least six months on the day of entry into the country remains necessary.
Rules of conduct when visiting Saudi Arabia
However, we are not unaware that Saudi Arabia is a country to which travel is not done without certain considerations beforehand. In order to discover its thousand-year-old culture and history as well as its unspoiled desert landscapes, travelers will have to respect a few behavioral rules.
The consumption of alcohol and pork is strictly forbidden in the whole country, as well as on board its airline Saudia. In addition, gender separation is practiced in many public places. For example, in restaurants, there is a separate area next to a family area that is accessible only to men. Finally, foreign women are required to wear long, loose-fitting clothes that cover their legs and arms perfectly. However, they are not required to wear the traditional dresses – imposed on Saudi women – nor are they required to wear the veil. Only time will tell to what extent Saudi Arabia’s strict interpretations of Islam will be relaxed in order to reach the goal of 100 million visitors.
The visa-on-arrival project in brief
Removing barriers to entry, regardless of the country, is always welcome. With the announced visa-on-arrival scheme, Saudi Arabia is becoming more attractive to travelers. Indeed, it is no longer necessary to fill out a complicated electronic visa application on the Internet, making short-term and spontaneous travel possible. However, the country’s laws – especially for women – can still be a significant barrier to tourists coming to the country. We are curious to see if Saudi Arabia will reach its goal of 100 million visitors by 2030.