Saudi Arabia has opened its borders for foreign leisure tourists for the first time in history. The decision was part of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 initiative. This initiative aims to move the Saudi Arabian economy away from its dependence on oil, by growing the tourism sector.
According to an article on Invest Saudi, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has already signed agreements and memoranda of understanding (MOUs) worth SAR 100 billion with national and international investors to develop tourism infrastructure in the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia has a two-phase strategy for developing the tourism sector. In the first phase, from 2019 to 2022, the focus will be on attracting tourists to discover Saudi. Twenty new tourist sites are being developed to enhance the experience of tourists. In the second phase, from 2022 onwards, the focus will be on experiencing Saudi. As part of phase two, Saudi Arabia's mega projects, such as Amaala, NEOM, the Red Sea Project, Qiddiyah, Al Ula and Ad Diriyah, will be developed.
As part of its efforts to attract tourists, Saudi Arabia has implemented an e-visa facility for 49 countries. Fortunately, Sweden is one of the countries on this list. So, now, citizens of Sweden have the opportunity to explore a culture that is totally different, temperatures that they never face in their home country and cuisine that will open up whole new worlds.
The Saudi Arabia e-visa allows citizens of Sweden to travel to the kingdom for up to three months. The visa is valid for one year. You are allowed to visit the country multiple times during that period. The e-visa has made the entire process of traveling to Saudi Arabia incredibly simple. So, the first thing to do is to learn all you can about the new visa requirements for Swedish citizens. You are no longer required to present your original documents or take an appointment at the embassy or consulate.
In case you are traveling with minors, you will need to apply for an e-visa on behalf of your children.
The document requirements for Swedish citizens applying for a Saudi visa include:
You need a Swedish passport with valid of at least six months beyond your stay in Saudi Arabia. Your passport should contain a minimum of two adjacent blank pages for the entry stamp.
Your e-visa will be sent via email. So, it is important that you have access to a functional email account.
A digital copy of your photograph is needed. The photograph must be coloured and taken against a white background. It is also important that you are directly looking at the camera in the photograph. Also avoid wearing headgear or glasses that hide parts of your face.
Proof of medical insurance will be needed at the port of entry. The good news is that the insurance is provided by the Saudi authorities, along with your visa. The insurance cost is included in the visa fee.
According to the Saudi Arabia visa policy, it is necessary to have health insurance linked to your e-visa. The policy should be issued by providers approved by the Saudi government. Since, the policy is part and parcel of the e-visa process, you need not worry about buying an insurance policy separately.
The insurance provides you cover of SAR 100,000 for any healthcare costs you might incur during your stay in Saudi Arabia.
The application process is simple and can be completed in a few minutes. Here are the steps:
The process starts by visiting the official Saudi Arabia visa website. Since there are a lot of websites that look similar, check to see if it is the right one.
To fill the application form, you need to create an account on the visa website. For this, you will need to select your passport type and the country of issuance, which is Sweden in this case. Then, you will need to fill in your personal details, such as full name, phone number and email address. After you have submitted the details, you will receive a confirmation link. Click on this link to activate your account.
When your account is active, you can fill the application form. The process begins by filling your first name, last name, gender, marital status, occupation, date of birth etc. Your accommodation details, travel plans, and purpose of travel will also need to filled in. Next, upload the digital photograph.
The last step is to pay the visa fee. The total amount is SAR 463.44 and includes the visa fee, a transaction fee, medical insurance fee and 5% VAT.
Saudi Arabia has 15 domestic airports and 13 international airports. However, only 4 international airports have the infrastructure to handle the expected flow of tourists with e-visas for now. These are:
You can also choose to enter the kingdom through the land borders. For this, they will need to produce their e-visa, passport and other identifying documents at the entry checkpoint. You can enter Saudi Arabia via the land route through Bahrain and the UAE.
Although the visa requirements for Swedish Citizens has become a lot simpler with the e-visa, it still could be confusing for a first timer. Contact an experienced agency, like Rapid Visa, for a completely hassle-free visa application process.