Saudi Announces E-Visa to 3 More Countries

Saudi Announces E-Visa to 3 More Countries

Saudi Announces E-Visa to 3 More Countries

Written By Arabiers Digital & Reviewed by Robeena Brown

May 22, 2024 | 13 min read

Saudi Arabia has expanded its electronic visa programme by allowing three new countries to apply for the visa. Tourists who are citizens of Barbados, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas and Grenada can now apply for the Saudi tourist e-visa instead of the regular visa.

This announcement to include Bahamas, Barbados and Grenada was made by the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA) who have partnered with the Ministry of Tourism to fulfil the new visa reforms for the kingdom. It is also the latest update about the plans to expand the electronic visa program which has a goal to smoothen the visa application process and bring more tourists from the three countries to Saudi.

This is seen to be possible because the citizens of these countries now don’t have to go through the tiring process of applying for the regular visas.

What is the Saudi E-Visa Program?

The Saudi Arabia e-visa programme was introduced in 2019, as part of the new visa reforms for the Saudi’s Vision 2030 programme. The visa was introduced to promote international interaction, showcase the countries culture and also their diverse tourist opportunities.

When the programme started only 49 countries qualified for it but now with the addition of Bahamas, Grenada and Barbados, the list has grown to 69 countries.

The visa is a multiple entry type of visa that allows citizens of countries that qualify for it to visit the Kingdom of Saudi for a short term stay. It is valid for one year from the time you are issued with it and it allows you to stay in Saudi for a maximum of three months.

The visa is designed to speed up the process pf getting the Saudi visa and it is operated by the Ministry of Tourism.

What You Need to Know About the E-Visa

You being a citizen of Barbados, The Commonwealth of the Bahamas or Grenada does not mean that your application will be automatically accepted. You must still meet the other requirements that are set by the Saudi Ministry of Tourism which include:

  • You should have a valid passport from the country that qualifies for the visa
  • The passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months
  • You should pay the visa fee in full

The online visa for Saudi Arabia is given for only tourism purposes or for performing Umrah, so if you are going to Saudi for other reasons, you should ask your visa consultant the type of visa you need to apply for.

How to Use the Electronic Visa for Saudi?

Saudi Announces E-Visa to 3 More Countries

If your application for the e-visa is accepted, the Ministry of Tourism will send you the visa through the email you used when applying. When you receive it, print a copy of it and pack it safely with your other travel documents. You can also as well apply for the electronic visa online and get it when you arrive at the Saudi entry point you will be using.

When you arrive in Saudi Arabia, the immigration officials will ask to see your passport and the visa, so ensure the passport you are carrying is the same one you used you used to apply for the e-visa.

After you get cleared by the officers, the authorities will also take your biometric details and then you will be cleared to enter the country.

Who are the Other Beneficiaries?

Other countries that qualify for the Saudi e-visa are:

  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Austria
  • Australia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belgium
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Canada
  • China (including Hong Kong and Macau)
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Netherlands
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Montenegro
  • Monaco
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • San Marino
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tajikistan
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • Uzbekistan
  • Turkey
  • Thailand
  • Mauritius
  • Seychelles
  • Panama
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis

The online tourist visa programme for Saudi has also been extended to seven new categories, giving more people easy access to Saudi. Residents of the US, UK, EU and people with visit visas from the UK, US and the Schengen are now allowed to apply for the Saudi online visa. The GCC residents also can apply for the e-visa if they are going to Saudi for tourism, if they are going to perform Umrah to visit friends and family or to attend events, exhibitions and conferences.

What are the Other New Updates?

With the aim of boosting the tourism sector of Saudi Arabia, the kingdom in January 2023 launched a free 96 hours’ transit visa for travelers passing through the country to another destination using Saudia or Flynas airlines. The visa is valid for 96 hours and in that time you are allowed to tour the country or even perform Umrah as long as you do not exceed the allowed 4 days.

You qualify for the visa if you have booked and paid for your flights with the specified airlines and when you apply for it, you will be emailed with it almost instantly.

What Are the Future Plans?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wants to expand the e-visa program and allow more countries to easily apply for the electronic visa. By doing this, the country’s GDP that is gotten from the tourism sector will increase from the current 10 percent.

We will also see an increase in jobs because the sector will employ more people from Saudi and other countries. The program is a benefit to people who want to travel and tour Saudi Arabia for a short time within one year.