The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced the reinstatement of its visa-on-arrival program for travelers from Europe and U.S., along with UK citizens, who have previously had to obtain a multiple entry tourist or business visa prior to arrival in order to enter the country. The move comes after negotiations between Riyadh and Washington led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

Saudi Arabia has reinstated Visa-on-Arrival for US, UK, and Schengen visa holders. This will allow visitors to Saudi Arabia without a visa. The country had previously been requiring a visa from all visitors.

Saudi Arabia has just restored its visa-on-arrival program for visitors with valid visas to the United States, the United Kingdom (UK), and the European Schengen region. The policy shift comes only weeks after the Middle Eastern country lifted all COVID-related travel restrictions, restoring access to its borders to pre-pandemic levels.

Citizens of any country holding a visa for one of the above-mentioned countries who travel with Saudi Arabia’s national carriers (Saudia, Flynas, or Flyadeal) may now qualify for a 12-month tourist visa upon arrival in the Kingdom without having to apply ahead of time.


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Reopening from COVID-19

To be eligible for a visa on arrival in Saudi Arabia, international visitors with a valid US, UK, or Schengen visa must have used it to enter the issuing country at least once previously. Citizens of any nation who qualify for the e-visa program (launched in 2019) are also eligible for the visa-on-arrival program, regardless of which airline they travel with.

Foreign tourists must additionally get COVID-19 insurance, which may be bought at any of the destination’s international airports, for the length of their stay.

On March 6, Saudi Arabia declared the end of all COVID-era entrance restrictions. To enter the country, international passengers no longer need to provide evidence of vaccination or a negative PCR test. The so-called “red list” of prohibited countries of origin has been completely abolished, as have institutional quarantine restrictions. Domestically, social separation laws have been repealed, although face masks are still necessary only in enclosed public spaces.

In a statement, His Excellency Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Association (STA), said, “Restoring the visa-on-arrival program marks the final step in returning Saudi to a pre-pandemic level of openness and makes it one of the most accessible destinations in the world for leisure, business, and religious travel.” “The government’s decision will help the many thousands of individuals who rely on tourism for a living, while also inviting the rest of the world back to the destination with the great hospitality for which the Saudi people are known.”

This month also saw the signing of a deal between Saudi Arabia’s Tourism Development Fund (TDF) and Playa Hotels & Resorts that will bring Playa’s all-inclusive concept to the Kingdom’s coasts, including areas along the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, marking the luxury brand’s first launch outside of the Americas.

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