You can apply for a tourist visa for Saudi Arabia online, or on arrival into any of its international airports. It’s highly recommended to apply before travel should there be any issues and your visa be declined. As of September 2019, Saudi Arabia is set to open its doors to foreign tourism by launching a new tourist visa scheme aimed squarely at opening up the ultraconservative Muslim Kingdom and in turn reduce its reliance on income from oil.
What countries / nationalities are eligible?
49 countries have been deemed eligible to apply for the new tourist visa which can be done online prior to travel or on arrival at kiosks at Riyadh Airport
and other international airports in country.
- China, including Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan
- Czech Republic
- New Zealand
- San Marino
- South Korea
Why would you want to visit Saudi Arabia on holiday?
The ultraconservative Kingdom isn’t likely to top many peoples holiday hotspots just yet, however it is home to 5 Unesco World Heritage Sites;
- Al-Ahsa Oasis
- Al-Hijr Archaeological Site
- At-Turaif District
- Historic Jeddah
- Rock Art in the Hail Region
The Kingdom recognize that they have a unique culture and whilst are willing to relax rules around women in relation in dress code and unaccompanied travel, they still expect modesty to be exercised, however will not restrict single female travel to Saudi Arabia. Unlike Dubai, there will be no relaxation around alcohol which remains banned. The ban on women driving in Saudi Arabia
was also lifted recently so renting a car in Saudi Arabia
would be available to all tourists, both male and female.
Tourism in Saudi Arabia
Tourism currently accounts for just 3% of GDP, however the new tourist visa aims to push that to 10% by 2030 setting a target of 100 million international and domestic visits per year, creating up to 1 million jobs in the tourism industry.
How long does the Saudi Arabia tourist visa last?
Much like the USA’s ESTA visa, the Saudi Arabia tourist visa will last for 1 year from date of issue an allow multiple entries, each with a maximum stay of 90 days at a time. Until now, visas have only been granted to international tourists for specific reasons such as family visits or religious pilgrimages to Mecca.
Construction of a new ‘entertainment city’ called Qiddiya began in 2018 near Riyadh which is expected to attract tourists to it safari, motor-sport and high-end theme parks It also announced a massive project in 2017 aimed to develop 50 island and other sites to luxury resorts on the Red Sea. So Saudi Arabia has big plans and is investing vast sums of money to attract tourists, the question is, will people want to go?
Apply for a visa in Saudi Arabia here