The Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia has introduced an electronic service on Monday that would enable travelers who are stopping over in the country to secure an entry visa.
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The transit visa for stopovers will allow entry to the visitors into Saudi Arabia, who wish to perform Umrah for pilgrimage purposes, spend time at the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, and explore the country.
More tourists than ever will be able to visit Saudi Arabia’s impeccable, historical, cultural, and spiritual attractions, courtesy to the stopover visa, which permits them to stay in the nation for up to 96 hours.
Tourists will be able to apply for a transit visa by accessing the electronic platforms of ‘Saudia Airlines‘ and ‘Flynas’, which will be commencing on Monday as a component of the brand-new service.
The application will be instantly communicated to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ‘Unified National Visa Platform’ for verification. A digital visa will be issued and delivered to the beneficiary spontaneously through email.
According to the Ministry, the e-Transit visa for stopovers would assist Saudi Arabia to attain its 100 million annual visitor goal. The country will also strengthen its position by achieving the objectives laid down by them for the ‘Kingdom’s Vision 2030 project‘ and capitalize on its remarkable strategic location to serve as a link between continents.
The visa can be availed free of cost and is issued along with the visitor’s ticket right away. The validity duration of the visa will be for three months. It also empowers the tourists for a four-day stay in the country.
Custom 24, 48, 72, and 96-hour itineraries have been created to encourage the visitors to explore the six UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Saudi Arabia, such as the Al-Turaif district in Diriyah, or to enjoy a leisurely stroll through Jeddah’s Al-Balad.
Statement from the Saudi Arabia’s State Authorities officials:
Ahmed Al-Khateeb, the Tourism Minister and Board Chairman of the Saudi Tourism Authority, stated “the new stopover visa is just another illustration of Saudi Arabia’s dedication to fostering growth in the tourism sector.”
As Saudi Arabia develops into a world’s leading travel destination, he continued, “It is open for visitors transiting through Saudi Arabia on our national carriers whether for leisure, business, or Umrah. We will continue to work together across the government and the tourism sector.”
“Today’s announcement of Saudi’s inaugural stopover visa is a landmark example of integrated public and private sector cooperation,” said Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority. “Four of the Top Ten global routes were in or out of Saudi airports in 2022, a testament to the appeal of destination Saudi.”
Saudi Arabia is on its way to becoming a significant hub between the East and the West, according to the chief executive officers of SAUDIA and Flynas who also appreciated the visa decision.
Captain Ibrahim Koshy at SAUDIA said, “It is a testament to SAUDIA’s commitment to support the Kingdom’s strategic goal of reaching 100 million visits by 2030 and we are confident that it will positively impact the growing number of transit passengers while enhancing our position as a hub that connects East and West.”
He explained, “The new service will also encourage visitors to practice Umrah, travel to famous tourist destinations, and participate in events and Saudi seasons.”
“Today, Flynas is proud to be a part of this ecosystem that has enabled Saudi Arabia’s national carriers to facilitate the issuance of the new stopover visa. This is a welcome development that eases and speeds up the process for our passengers who wish to stop in Saudi Arabia for up to 96 hours on the way to their final destination,” added Bandar Almohanna, who is also managing director at Flynas.
Saudi Arabia open for the world to explore
Almohanna pointed out that one of the program’s fundamental principles is to attract visitors by enhancing the air connectivity to the country.
The Kingdom started offering eVisas to travelers in 2019 from the European Union, US, Russia, Malaysia, and many other countries. Several countries, however, were omitted from the list, necessitating tedious procedures. Later, only those with US, United Kingdom, or Schengen visas were permitted to apply for visas on arrival. Normal passport holders were not permitted to do so. This is about to change now.
However, now, visitors from any part of the world will be able to see Saudi Arabia while en- route to their destination. Only passengers commuting on a national carrier are permitted to use the service, ensuring that revenue also flows through a home operator.
UAE is arguably the country that is most renowned for its pre-arranged visas.
Customers of Emirates and Etihad can easily enter the country without the need to apply for a visa but by submitting their visa applications online before traveling. This has made travel from countries like India extremely popular and offered a leg up over local rivals as well. Saudi Arabia is employing the same strategies in an effort to imitate Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s tourism successes.