In an attempt to move away from an oil-based economy, Saudi Arabia has launched the Vision 2030 program. CNBC reports that the country aims to stand among the top five tourist destinations in the world, as part of this economic diversification initiative. Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman hopes that by 2030, the Saudi Arabian tourism sector will be able to contribute 10% of the kingdom’s GDP, says an article on CNBC.
There are 35 airports in Saudi Arabia. However, not all of them have the infrastructure to support the influx of tourists that the launch of the e-visa for 49 countries is likely to bring. For now, only four airports are well equipped to handle the foreign nationals who will travel with the tourist e-visa:
These entry ports also allow visa on arrival, after confirming that you belong from one of the 49 countries eligible for the electronic visa. The visa process can be completed either through self-service machines or the passport offices.
In case you are travelling to Saudi Arabia via UAE, you will be required to have a transit visa. The UAE transit visa is mandatory for all citizens who are not eligible for a visa on arrival. The visa can be issued for 48 hours and 96 hours. The former is free of charge and the latter costs AED 50. For both visas, you will require a passport with minimum validity of three months from the date of arrival and onward journey tickets.
The King Fahd Causeway connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. This causeway is constructed in three segments – Al-Aziziyyah to the Border Station on Passport Island, Border Station to Nasan Island in Bahrain and Nasan Island to Al Jasra on the Bahrain main island. The causeway is a four-lane road that is 23 km wide and 25 km long.
While entering Saudi Arabia through the Bahrain causeway, a transit visa is not required. But, you will need to remain in the transit area and carry the mandatory travel documents, such as onward journey tickets. However, if you want to stay in Bahrain for a few days before entering Saudi Arabia, you will require a passport with a validity of six months at least from you date of arrival in Bahrain.
In case you wish to travel to Saudi Arabia via UAE through the land route, you will need to enter through the Al Batha Border check point.
Apart from the citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and the UAE, citizens all the other eligible countries require an e-visa to enter Saudi Arabia. The Saudi e-visa is valid for a period of one year, allowing the holder to stay in the kingdom for up to 90 days at a stretch. The following mandatory documents are required at the port of entry.
A passport issued by any one of the 49 countries eligible for the e-visa will be required. It should be valid for at least six months beyond your arrival date. It should also contain at least two consecutive blank pages for the entry stamps.
A copy of the electronic visa, which would you received via email.
According to the rules laid down by the Saudi government, you are allowed to carry up to SAR 60,000 in and out of the kingdom. If you are exceeding the cash limit, you will have to inform the officials at the port of entry. In case you fail to do so, you will be subject to legal consequences, including imprisonment.
Vaccination proofs for Polio, Yellow Fever, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, etc., will have to be produced. Besides these, medical insurance of $26,666 is compulsory for each tourist, without which you will not permitted to enter the kingdom.
Although travelling through the Bahrain Causeway does not require a transit visa, you require the mandatory tourist e-visa to enter Saudi Arabia. Here’s how to apply online.
The first step is to log into the official e-visa website of Saudi Arabia and create an account.
In order to create the account, fill in your basic details, such as name, email address, phone number, along with your login info, such as username and password. Enter your passport type and the name of the country of issuance to sign up.
A link will be sent to the email address you have provided to activate the account. Click on the link within 24 hours of receiving it. After this, your account becomes official.
The application form consists of several pages, so keep enough time aside to fill in all the details accurately. On the first page, fill in your personal details, like your full name, gender, country of birth, marital status, occupation and residential address.
Next, upload a photo of yourself where your entire face clearly visible. On the following page, enter your passport information and your intended travel dates.
You will be required to fill in other details, such as your place of accommodation in the kingdom and purpose of travel. Next, enter the purchase details of the mandatory medical insurances. The cost of insurance is SAR140, including 5% VAT. The insurance fee is part of the visa fee.
The final step is to make a payment of SAR463.44. This amount includes the visa fee of SAR300, insurance fee of SAR133, 5% VAT or SAR22 and a transaction fee of SAR8.44. You can pay online via credit or debit card
If you are travelling to Saudi Arabia for the first time or are looking for a hassle-free way to get the e-visa, consider the services of an experienced agency, like Rapid Visas. We will take care of the entire process for you and make sure you get the visa on time.