By Olivia Morris

The Grazia Guide to Saudi Arabia’s New Visa on Arrival

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Saudi Arabia AlUla
Courtesy of Habitas AlUla.

Saudi Arabia has become a must-visit destination for many over the last few years.

In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 mandate and under the leadership of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, tourist visas were introduced for the very first time in 2019. Prior to this, only those, apart from Saudi citizens and GCC citizens, permitted to enter the country were those with business visas, expat workers or those visiting for religious pilgrimages.

However, shortly after the Kingdom introduced its first visa on arrival, the global tourist sector was put on a firm hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this hasn’t deterred Saudi from moving forward with its mission to become a tourist hub, in fact, it was unveiled by the World Tourism Organisation earlier this year that Saudi is the second fastest growing tourism destination.

In the first quarter of 2023 alone, the Kingdom saw international tourism increase by 64 per cent, with 7.8 million tourists visiting the country. It’s a huge increase even from the previous year, where a total of 16.6 million international tourists visited Saudi Arabia for all purposes in 2022.

In line with its commitment to increase tourism and diversify its economy, Saudi Arabia has introduced its Umrah visa upon arrival for a number of different countries. This permits entry for spiritual journeys, family connections and tourist experiences within the Kingdom via the various sea, air or land ports for a stay of up to 90 days. For those eligible, the cost of the visa is a total of $117 USD which includes health insurance coverage for the stay of the visa holder.

Following updates made to the Umrah visa upon arrival earlier this week, a total of 49 countries are now eligible for the visa. See the full list below.

  • Switzerland
  • Ireland
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Monaco
  • Andorra
  • Russia
  • Malta
  • Montenegro
  • San Marino
  • Ukraine
  • UK
  • Portugal
  • Poland
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Norway
  • Luxembourg
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Slovenia
  • Holland
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Brunei
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Malaysia
  • South Korea
  • Kazakhstan
  • China Including Hong Kong and Macau
  • United States
  • Canada
  • Australia
  • New Zealand

With the development of NEOM, the vast landscapes and heritage sites of AlUla, the burgeoning art scene of Jeddah and the growing business epicentre of Riyadh, it’s no wonder why Saudi Arabia is becoming a hub for tourism.

This story first appeared on GRAZIA International.