What is the change? Saudi Arabia has made visas on arrival available to holders of valid U.S., U.K. and Schengen Area visas, regardless of their nationality.

What does the change mean? Holders of U.S., U.K. and Schengen visas may now travel to Saudi Arabia and obtain a visa on arrival at the airport, saving them the time it would normally take to apply for a visa at a Saudi Consulate.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visas on arrival.
  • Who is affected: Holders of visas from the U.S., U.K. and the Schengen Area.
  • Impact on processing: These visa holders will be able travel to Saudi Arabia without first applying for a visa at a consulate.
  • Business impact: No impact. Business travel procedures have not changed.

Background: Saudi Arabia began issuing visas on arrival and tourist e-visas to nationals of 49 countries last September. The change allows visitors from these countries to obtain a multiple-entry visa valid for one year and stays of up to 90 days for the purpose of tourism.

Analysis & Comments: Last year’s visa policy change signaled Saudi Arabia’s desire to open the country to tourism, and the expansion of the visa-on-arrival policy is a further indication of this. To be eligible for a visa on arrival, foreign nationals holding valid visas from the U.S., U.K. and Schengen Area countries must have used the visa at least once and have a stamp from the issuing country in their passport. Travelers should note that the visa on arrival is valid only for tourist visits and cannot be used for business activities, work or performing umrah. While holders of U.S., U.K. and Schengen visas are now eligible for visas on arrival, they will not be eligible for Saudi Arabia’s electronic visa system.

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