In a historic move, the Saudi Arabian government has decided to allow foreign nationals to visit the kingdom for the purposes of tourism and leisure from 2019 onwards. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage announced that by 2030, the tourism sector is expected to contribute 10% of the country’s GDP, a significant rise from the 3% in 2019, says a press released on PR Newswire. Travelers from 49 countries across the world can now apply for the tourist e-visa online in just a few simple steps to visit the remarkable kingdom.
In an attempt to boost the economy of the country, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has opened the doors to citizens of 49 countries, who can now enter the kingdom through a simple online visa application procedure. The main reason for the introduction of the tourist e-visa is to create around one billion jobs. Also, as part of the Vision 2030 program, the tourism sector is expected to welcome 100 million tourists by the end of 2030. Saudi Arabia is also looking to increase its tourist count from 40 million visitors per year till 2019 to at least 60 million per year by 2022.
Here’s what to do to fulfill the visa requirements for French citizens:
The first step to begin with the application procedure is to visit the official e-visa website of Saudi Arabia. This website provides all the information you need to complete the visa application process, including the eligibility criteria.
To start the visa application process, you will need to first create an account on this visa website. This account will also help you track the status of your visa application. To create the account, enter your passport type and the name of the issuing country, which is France in this case. You also need to fill in basic details, such as your name, email address, phone number, along with your login info, such as username and password.
Once you’ve provided all the information, a verification link will be sent to the email address you had provided. Click on the link within 24 hours of it being sent to activate your account. Once your account is active, you can start the visa application process.
The application form consists of several pages, so make sure you take the time to carefully fill in all the details accurately. The first page requires you to fill personal details, such as your full name, gender, country of birth, marital status, occupation, residential address and so on.
You will also be required to upload a photo of yourself, where your entire face and forehead are clearly visible. The dimension requirements are 200x200 pixels and the size should be anything between 3KB and 100 KB. The photo should be in .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif or .bmp format.
On the following page, fill in your passport information and your intended dates of entering and leaving Saudi Arabia.
You will also need to fill in the purpose of travel to Saudi Arabia and your place of accommodation in the country. Next, enter the purchase details of the mandatory medical insurance. The cost of insurance is SAR140, including 5% VAT, which is payable along with the visa fee.
Finally, the last page contains the details of the terms and conditions.
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, which amounts to SAR22, and a transaction fee of SAR8.44. You make the payment online through a credit or debit card.
After all the above steps are successfully completed, you simply need to wait to receive the online visa via email.
Till the first half of 2019, visa requirements for French citizens were only applicable for business visa, family visit visa, work visa and so on. French citizens are now eligible for the Saudi Arabia tourist e-visa as well, which allows them to visit Saudi Arabia for the purposes of tourism. However, to gain entry into the kingdom, you need to produce certain documents at the port of entry, including:
A French passport, with validity of a minimum of six months beyond your intended dates of travel. Make sure the passport has at least two adjacent blank pages for the entry stamp.
A copy of the electronic visa, which had been sent to you via email.
Saudi Arabia allows up to SAR60,000 to be carried into and out of the country. If you believe that you might exceed the cash limit, you will need to inform the officials beforehand. In case you fail to do so, you might face severe punishment, including imprisonment.
In order to enter the country, proof of vaccinations for Yellow Fever, Polio, Tetanus, Hepatitis A, etc., will need to be produced. Along with this, medical insurance is a must, without which you will not be permitted to visit the country.
The e-visa system has simplified the process of obtaining a visa to a great extent. You no longer need to visit the embassy or consulate in order to complete the visa application procedure. However, if you are worried about the process or wish for smooth and stress-free application, use the help of an experience agency, like Rapid Visa, who can take care of the entire process on your behalf.