The kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently announced that travellers who held a valid visa from the US, UK, or Schengen area and were flying with a national carrier would be eligible for the visa-on-arrival program. This initiative has been reinstated after the country lifted all COVID-19 related restrictions two weeks ago. By Eshita Srinivas
Saudi Tourism Authority took to Twitter to announce, through a press release, that the kingdom would resume its visa-on-arrival program for travellers with valid visas from the USA, UK, and Schengen area. Reportedly, citizens of any country who hold one of the said three visas and are travelling through the country’s national carriers – such as Saudia or Flynas – can receive a 12-month long tourism visa, without having to apply for one in advance. This initiative comes in on the heels of Saudi Arabia lifting all restrictions related to COVID-19 two weeks ago.
To qualify for the visa-on-arrival program, visitors to Saudi Arabia need to have a medical insurance
— الهيئة السعودية للسياحة (@SaudiTourism) March 25, 2022
The program is applicable for residents of states qualified for the e-visa program, which was launched in 2019, Saudi Gazette reports. Travellers need to hold a medical insurance to cover risks related to COVID-19 and the same can be purchased from all airports across the country, upon arrival. Visitors would also need to have used their visa at least once to enter the area where it was issued, before heading to Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia Tourism Minister Ahmed Al-Khateeb extended welcomed visitors and tourists from across the world, inviting them to experience the country’s destinations, landmarks, culture, heritage, generosity, and hospitality. He was quoted by Arab News as saying, “Today, the Kingdom is among the most accessible destinations in the world for tourism, work and Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage, which will promote accelerated growth in the tourism sector and provide job and investment opportunities.”
Saudi Arabia is delighted to announce reactivation of the tourism visa on arrival program for citizens of countries eligible for e-visa or holders of a valid UK, USA or Schengen visa.
— وزارة السياحة (@Saudi_MT) March 25, 2022
He further stated, as per the press release, “Restoring the visa-on-arrival program marks the final step in returning Saudi to a pre-pandemic level of openness.” He also noted that the decision would support thousands who depend on tourism for their livelihoods.
On March 6, Saudi Arabia lifted all travel restrictions put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Visitors, as per the new mandates, do not need to present proof of vaccination or an RT-PCR test to enter the country and the red list of countries has been suspended. Besides this, institutional quarantine and social-distancing requirements have been lifted. Masks are only mandated in enclosed public spaces, the report by Saudi Gazette adds.