Saudi Arabia has traditionally been off-limits for tourists from around the world, who wished to visit the kingdom for leisure purposes. But, things are changing now, with the country finally opening itself up to foreign tourists as part of its Vision 2030 initiative. The drive for tourism is a result of the nation’s policy makers aiming to reduce Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil, promote the natural identity of the country and diversify the economy.
Promoting the tourism sector is part of this initiative. For this, Saudi Arabia now allows citizens of 49 countries, including Spain, to visit the kingdom with an electronic visa.
Some of the destinations with which the kingdom hopes to attract visitors are the Ah-Ahsa Oasis, where 2.5 million date palm trees have been planted, the historic city of Jeddah, the archaeological sites of Al-Hijr and the Hail region. Apart from this, the country is also planning to build an entertainment city, just 40 minutes from Riyadh.
For the development of such projects, the government of Saudi Arabia has signed memoranda of understanding with regional as well as international investors, such as Majid Al Futtaim and Triple Five, says an article by Reuters.
If all of this sounds exciting or if you want a firsthand experience of the culture and rich heritage of Saudi Arabia, all you need to do is get an e-visa.
The process of getting a visa for citizens of Spain has become incredibly simple with the introduction of the e-visa. The e-visa allows you to travel to Saudi Arabia and stay for up to 90 days, within a one-year period. You can enter the country multiple times during this period, with the e-visa. The best part is that you no longer need to personally visit the embassy or consulate and wait in long queues to get all the paperwork done.
The entire process has become much faster too, given that it takes about 10 minutes to fill the online application form and up to 30 minutes for the e-visa to be issued, in a majority of the cases.
To apply for a Saudi Arabian visa, citizens of Spain need to keep certain documents handy, such as:
You must have a Spanish passport that is valid for at least six months after your departure from Saudi Arabia. The passport must also contain two adjacent blank pages.
You will need to upload a digital copy of your passport-sized photograph. The photograph must be coloured and taken against a white background. It is also important that you are directly facing the camera, with your entire face clearly visible in the photograph.
Once approved, your e-visa will be sent to you via email. So, make sure you have a functional email address that is easily accessible for you.
You will need to provide the name and contact details of the place where you will be residing while in Saudi Arabia. You can use hotel booking confirmations or invitation from friends or family members for this purpose.
Visit the official Saudi Arabian visa website and create an account for yourself. You will need this to not just fill the visa application form, but to also track the status of your application. To create the account, you need to provide some personal details, such as your first name, last name, phone number and email address. You also need to select your passport type and the country in which it was issued.
Once you have filled all the details, a confirmation link will be sent to your email address. You need to click this link within 24 hours to activate your account.
Once your account has been activated, you can start the visa application process by filling in the application form. There are many pages to this form, so make sure you have enough time and all the necessary information on hand to provide accurate information. Errors or misrepresentation of data could lead to unnecessary delays or even a denial of visa.
In the form, you will need to fill your personal details, such as full name, gender, marital status, residential address, occupation, and contact information. You also need to upload a coloured photograph of yourself. The photograph should be 200x200 pixels and between 3 KB and 100 KB in size. The formats that are accepted are .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .gif and .bmp.
The last step in the process is to pay the visa fee. The total amount to be paid is SAR 463.44 and can be paid using a debit or credit card. The amount includes a transaction fee, 5% VAT, medical insurance fee and the visa fee. In case you face any medical emergency during your stay in Saudi Arabia, the insurance will cover you up to SAR 100,000 in healthcare costs. It must also be remembered that if you overstay your visa, you will be charged SAR 100 for each day of stay beyond the expiry date of the visa.
Saudi Arabia has 15 domestic airports and 13 international airports. The international airports include:
You can choose any of these airports as your port of entry. Of course, you could also enter the kingdom via road too, in case you are visiting any of the neighbouring countries.
In case you are a first-time visitor to Saudi Arabia or are looking for the most hassle-free way of getting a visa as a citizen of Spain, enlist the services of an experienced and reputed agency, like Rapid Visa. We will guide you through the entire process to ensure that there are no delays or unnecessary visa denial.