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Saudi Arabia Announces Major Visa Changes For 12 Countries

Saudi Arabia Announces Major Visa Changes For 12 Countries

Saudi Arabia, one of the most popular destinations for travelers from the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, has announced a significant change in its visa policy for visitors from 12 countries. The new system, which will be implemented gradually over the next few months, will replace the traditional visa stickers in passports with electronic visas that can be printed or scanned using a QR code.

The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of the Kingdom said that the new procedure is part of the digitalization of the ministry's consular services, including work permits, residence, and visit visas. The e-visa will contain all the necessary data and information on the passenger and will eliminate the need for physical stickers that can be damaged or lost.

The 12 countries that will benefit from this change are Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Uganda, Lebanon, Nepal, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Morocco, Thailand, and Vietnam. The timetable for phasing out visa stickers in visitor passports from these countries is as follows:

  • Pakistan: July 24

  • Yemen: July 26

  • Sudan: August 2

  • Uganda: August 7

  • Lebanon: August 9

  • Nepal: August 14

  • Turkey: August 16

  • Sri Lanka: August 21

  • Kenya: August 23

  • Morocco: August 28

  • Thailand: August 30

  • Vietnam: September 4

The new system is expected to facilitate the travel process for millions of visitors who come to Saudi Arabia every year for various purposes, such as tourism, pilgrimage, business, or family visits. Saudi Arabia has been opening up its doors to the world in recent years, launching new initiatives such as the e-visa for tourists from 49 countries in 2019, and the Umrah Plus program that allows pilgrimage to extend their stay and visit other cities in the Kingdom.

The Kingdom has also been investing heavily in developing its tourism sector, aiming to attract 100 million visitors annually by 2030. Some of the attractions that Saudi Arabia offers include historical sites such as Al-Ula and Diriyah, cultural festivals such as Winter at Tantora and Riyadh Season, and natural wonders such as the Red Sea coast and Empty Quarter desert.



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