Saudi e-visa waivers for UK nationals launched

New policy allows single-entry stay of up to six months
Saudi e-visa waivers for UK nationals launched
Saudi seeks to welcome more tourists from the UK

Saudi e-visa waivers have just been launched, allowing British nationals to visit the country without a prior visa.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) for UK citizens. This gives British nationals a single-entry permit valid for stays of up to six months in Saudi.

The purpose of the visit may range from business trips, vacation holidays, study, and medical treatment, the ministry said.

Boosting tourism industry

The EVW streamlines entry procedures to ease travel restrictions. Furthermore, it will help attract more visitors as part of Saudi’s Vision 2030 strategy. In the next few years, Saudi is seeking to attract as many as 100 million tourists annually by 2030.

With more tourists coming to Saudi, the tourism industry’s share of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will increase by more than 10 percent.

Read: Red Sea project, NEOM, to accelerate regenerative tourism to Saudi

Unified National Visa Platform

The EVW can be acquired by filling out an application form on the Unified National Visa Platform on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ website.

The submission timeframe is between 90 days and 48 hours before the date of travel to Saudi Arabia. The approved visa will be emailed to the applicant within 24 hours of submitting the documents.

Reciprocal initiatives

The EVW launch reciprocates a similar procedure introduced by the UK last year for Saudi citizens traveling to the country.

The UK e-visa waiver also covers the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Qatar. It took effect on June 1, 2022.

Enhanced trade relations

The EVW initiative is also expected to have broader trade implications. The impact is certainly more direct on the tourism industry. However, trade relations could also be enhanced.

In 2021, the outward stock of foreign direct investment (FDI) from the UK in Saudi Arabia was $6.4 bn, according to the UK’s Department for Business and Trade. The easier travel arrangements could pave the way for new partnerships and agreements.

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