The Saudi Arabia Ministry of Tourism has recently declared that visit visas to the kingdom will not be renewed. The confirmation was conveyed via Twitter in response to a query by a user asking if it was possible to renew a tourist visa without leaving the country. The decision implies that tourists visiting Saudi Arabia need to obtain a new visa if they want to extend their stay.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia made a significant alteration to its visa application process for residents of GCC countries. The country’s tourism minister, Ahmed al Khateeb, announced that residents of GCC countries, regardless of their profession, can now apply for tourist visas. Previously, only specific professions were permitted tourist visas in the kingdom. The visa will be valid for tourism and Umrah visits and can be availed in single or multiple entry forms. It will cost SR300 ($80) and has the following application conditions: a GCC residency document must be valid for at least three months, and a passport must be valid for at least six months.
Ahmed al Khateeb stated on social media that Saudi Arabia’s visa application process is now more convenient, straightforward and simpler for residents of GCC states. This move is the latest of a series of announcements by Saudi Arabia’s tourism eco-system that aim to attract regional tourists and provide more activities for visitors from GCC countries. Saudi Arabia launched the tourist visa in 2019 to keep up with the growth and development of the tourism sector.
In 2022, the Saudi Tourism Authority launched Nusuk, Saudi’s first-ever official integrated digital platform, in collaboration with the Pilgrim Experience Program. The platform offers an easy-to-use planning gateway for pilgrims and visitors to Makkah and Madinah, allowing them to organise their entire visit, from applying for an eVisa to booking hotels and flights.
Saudi Arabia is massively expanding tourism operations as the world’s biggest investor in tourism. The Saudi Tourism Authority reported that the nation welcomed 93.5 million international visitors last year, and the country has committed $550 billion to new destinations by 2030.