Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that citizens of eight more countries would be eligible for visitor e-visa, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The e-visa will be available to visitors from Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Maldives, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, for leisure, business, and religious (Umrah only) travel, bringing the total number of eligible countries to 57.
The visitor e-visa is valid for an entire year, grants multiple entries, and permits a stay of up to 90 days.
After launching the e-visa program in 2019, Saudi Arabia welcomed 93.5 million visits in 2022, a 93-percent increase from 2021, registering a tourism expenditure of 185 billion Saudi Riyals ($49-billion).
In 2022, Saudi Arabia decided to provide a visitor e-visa for holders of valid Schengen, British and US visas that have been used to enter these countries before arriving in Saudi Arabia and for permanent residents of the European Union, Gulf Arab countries, Britain and the United States.
Earlier this year, Saudi Arabia announced the launch of the free 96-hour Stopover Visa, allowing passengers to stay in the country for up to 96 hours.
Travellers can apply via the Saudi eVisa online portal with a three-step programme.
Seen a big tourism drive, the Saudi government says on its website, “Saudi Arabia is opening its doors to the world through its new tourist visa.
“Through the fast and easy-to-use online portal, international visitors from 57 eligible countries can apply for an eVisa and discover the warm hospitality of Saudi people, the rich heritage, vibrant culture, and diverse and breathtaking landscapes; from the mountains of Abha to the beaches of the Red Sea to the shifting sands of the Empty Quarter.”