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Everything you need to know about new Saudi Visas

For the first time, Saudi Arabia is officially opening its doors to tourists interested in visiting the kingdom for more than religious reasons.

The Middle Eastern kingdom announced a new e-visa program on Friday that will allow people from 49 countries to enter the country for tourism, for stays as long as three months. Read below to find out everything you need to know about the program.

Can you perform Umrah on this Visa?

Yes. Muslims can perform Umrah on this Visa. Non-Muslims are not allowed in the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah.

Conditions of the Tourist Visa:

  • Cost: 440 Riyals (Roughly £100)
  • Can be obtained from the online portal or on arrival at major airports in Saudi Arabia
  • Visa will be issued within 5–30 minutes
  • Visa will be valid for a year
  • Under 18s must be accompanied by parents/guardians
  • Entrants’ passport must have a minimum of 6 months’ validity remaining on the day of entry
  • Maximum of 90 days’ stay per visit and no more than 180 days in a year
  • You are allowed to perform Umrah

Sites you can now visit:

The kingdom is also encouraging people to visit Historic Jeddah, the Gate to Mecca, Al-Ahsa Oasis and the Hail Region, which has 10,000-year old inscriptions of human and animal figures.

The kingdom’s General Investment Authority and its Commission for Tourism and National Heritage said on Friday that they have development agreements with airlines and hotel and restaurant developers to create tourist-friendly sites, including hotels, a ski slope and snow park, a water park, shopping and entertainment destinations throughout the kingdom.

The Saudi tourism commission also partnered with the World Travel and Tourism Council, the global organization that represents the private sector of the travel and tourism industry, to help make the kingdom a top-five inbound destination with 100 million international and domestic visits, by 2030.

The best blog on other regions in Saudi Arabia

If you are keen on travelling and exploring the Kingdom, and want to ensure you visit the best of places, with focus on the Seerah or Islamic history, your best stop is the Little Explorer’s Blog. Having travelled most regions in the Kingdom, he’s blogged his travel tips in this one-stop-shop.

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