GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) residents can now obtain a Saudi tourist visa despite their professions. The announcement was made by Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Ministry on 9th March 2023. This move further strengthens the ministry’s efforts to provide GCC residents with an opportunity to explore the Kingdom of Saudi, partake in various entertainment events, and discover the heritage and history of Saudi.
“Saudi Arabia’s visa application is now simpler, more convenient and straightforward for residents of GCC states, regardless of their profession,” said Ahmed al-Khateeb, the Kingdom’s tourism minister on Twitter.
In September 2019, Saudi Arabia launched its new tourist visa program, allowing visitors from over 49 countries to apply for an electronic visa to explore the country. This move has been part of the Kingdom’s efforts to diversify its economy and promote tourism as a key sector.
Back in August 2022, Saudi Arabia also announced the e-visa for GCC residents, allowing all nationalities residing in any of the GCC countries to apply for a visit visa with limitations pertaining to their profession. However, in a recent announcement, the Saudi government has expanded the eligibility criteria for tourist visas. As per the new rule, all residents of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries can now obtain a tourist visa, regardless of their profession and occupations.
The visa is valid for GCC residents, despite their profession. Travellers can opt for a multiple-entry visa for up to 90 days with a validity of 365 days from the date of issuance. This allows them to perform Umrah, except during the Haj season. One can also apply for a single-entry visa for up to 30 days with a validity of three months from the date of issuance.
Eligibility Criteria For A Saudi Tourist Visa
To apply for a Saudi tourist visa, visitors must meet the following requirements:
- A valid passport with a minimum validity of six months
- A confirmed return ticket
- A hotel reservation or proof of accommodation
- A travel itinerary
- A health insurance policy
- A recent passport-sized photograph
Visitors must also provide their personal information, including their full name, date of birth, nationality, occupation, and contact details when applying for the visa. They can also apply for an e-visa via the official visa portal of the Saudi government and experience the application process is straightforward and hassle-free. Visitors can apply for their e-visa within minutes.
The Impact Of Visa Reforms
The expansion of the Saudi tourist visa program to include all GCC residents, irrespective of their profession, is a significant step towards promoting tourism in the Kingdom. Earlier, this year Saudia Airlines, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, also launched a new offering where passengers can avail a four-day free visa to Saudi Arabia upon purchasing a SAUDIA flight ticket. Particularly beneficial for followers of Islam, travellers can use these 96 hours to perform Hajj and Umrah.
These measures are expected to attract a greater number of visitors from neighbouring countries and further boost the country’s economy. Such progressive visa reforms allow visitors to explore Saudi Arabia and experience its unique culture, rich heritage, and exceptional architecture including its historical sites, museums, and traditional markets. The Kingdom Of Saudi is also known for its natural beauty, stunning landscapes and pristine beaches. Visitors can also experience the hospitality of the Saudi people, sample the local cuisine, and attend cultural events and festivals. Can’t wait to visit the mighty kingdom of Saudi? Check out our tailor-made vacation packages.