Saudi Arabia has begun implementing an e-visa system for international travellers arriving from India and other countries, a significant step towards digital governance. The new system, which does away with the traditional visa sticker on passports, took effect on May 1
Notably, in its first phase, the procedure has been implemented at the Saudi missions in the UAE, Jordan, Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
With the new e-Visa coming into effect, now, only the QR code must be read to obtain the visa information. Visa information will also be sent to visa holders’ registered email addresses and can be printed on A-4 size paper to serve as hard copy proof of visa.
e-Visa Initiative, Part of Vision 2030
The e-visa initiative is part of Vision 2030, a plan that aims to enable digital governance in a gradual manner.
The new system will reduce the time it takes to process visas and increase transparency. Additionally, it will eliminate the need for travel agents to endorse Saudi visas in New Delhi and Mumbai.
Also Read: Saudi Arabia Introduces New Short-Term Work Visa: Check Eligibility, Process, and Cancellation Policy
New E-Visa System for Work, Visit, and Residence Visas
The new system will allow travellers from the above 7 countries to apply for employment, visit, and residence visas via an e-visa system, from which immigration officials can extract information via a QR scan code.
The change is expected to result in a significant change in the way visas are processed.
Saudi Arabia Extended Umrah Visa
Saudi Arabia has announced a series of changes to its visa system, aimed at boosting tourism and making it easier for visitors to undertake the Umrah pilgrimage.
The new measures include extending the Umrah visa from 30 days to 90 days and allowing visa holders to enter and leave the kingdom via all land, air, and sea outlets.
In addition, Saudi citizens can now invite their friends from abroad to visit the kingdom and undertake Umrah. This move is expected to encourage more visitors to come to Saudi Arabia and foster closer relationships between citizens and their friends overseas.
Also Read: Saudi Arabia Eases Visit Visa Rule for GCC Residents
Stopover Transit Visa for Umrah
Saudi Arabia has also issued a new stopover transit visa, allowing the holder to perform Umrah, visit the Prophet’s Mosque, and attend various events across the kingdom. The four-day transit visa is valid for 90 days and is expected to make it easier for visitors to take part in religious and cultural events in Saudi Arabia.
GCC Residents Eligible for Tourist Visa to Perform Umrah
Furthermore, the kingdom has announced that GCC residents are eligible to apply for a tourist visa, regardless of their profession. This new policy will allow more people to perform Umrah and visit the kingdom and is expected to boost tourism in Saudi Arabia.
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