Saudi tourist visa rules to be announced in 2 months

In this file photo, a foreign tourist listens to a Saudi guide near a Nabatean tombs complex in the desert archaeological site of Madain Saleh in Al Ula city, northwest of Riyadh. (AP)
Updated 24 January 2018
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Saudi tourist visa rules to be announced in 2 months

JEDDAH: The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) will announce details about tourist visas by the end of Q1 of the current fiscal, after the approval by the commission’s board of directors, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The SCTH pointed out that the news about details, requirements, and nationality specifications mentioned in the media are inaccurate and sometimes based on deliberations that have not yet been approved.
Preparations for launching the tourist visa, according to the SCTH, continue to be carried out in full coordination with the ministries of interior and foreign affairs.
The two ministries are working together with the SCTH to lay down the standards that form the foundation on which the issuance of the tourist visa regulations will be based, according to the Tourism Law issued by a royal decree on 9/1/1438 H.
A statement by the SCTH confirmed that the requirements, regulations, and relevant details for tourist visas will be published in the official gazette at the end of Q1 of 2018 for implementation. All details will also be available on the SCTH’s official website.
Earlier in January, the director of the Tourism and Heritage Authority in the Makkah region, Mohammed Al-Omari, told Arab News: “Citizens from all the countries who have access to the Kingdom can obtain tourist visas.”
Al-Omari added: “All Muslims from countries around the world can obtain a post-Umrah tourist visa, so when Umrah is finished they can become a tourist.” This is called the extended Umrah visa for post-Umrah tourism.”
During Saudi Arabia’s trial period of implementing the tourist visa system between 2008 and 2010, more than 32,000 tourists visited the Kingdom. Their visa procedures were facilitated by a number of tour operators licensed by the SCTH.
The Tourism Visa Initiative is meant to revive the previous tourist visa system to enable visitors to discover new destinations in the Kingdom, boost the tourism sector, and develop tourism and heritage services and facilities in the Kingdom.
These updates come after previous reports that indicated that women over the age of 25 do not require a chaperone to issue a tourist visa when visiting the kingdom.


Sakani program to add 11,000 homes in Jeddah

The Housing Ministry has deals with two real-estate companies. (Reuters/File)
Updated 18 October 2018
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Sakani program to add 11,000 homes in Jeddah

  • The first project, Rawabi Hijaz, is on private-sector land and will includes 9,502 units
  • The Ministry stressed its keenness to work with qualified developers to add to housing stock

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Housing has signed agreements with two real-estate development companies to add more than 11,000 homes in Jeddah for the Sakani program. The deals were signed on October 15 during an event announcing the program’s 10th batch of beneficiaries.
The first project, Rawabi Hijaz, is on private-sector land and will includes 9,502 units, while the second, Jeddah airport housing, is on land owned by the Ministry and will includes 2,203 units.
The agreements were signed in the presence of Minister of Housing Majid bin Abdullah Al-Hugail, National Housing Company CEO Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Bati, and officials from the ministry and the Real Estate Development Fund. They follow previous agreements signed by the Ministry of Housing with a number of developers to build housing in various regions of the Kingdom. Sixty projects providing more than 90,000 diverse homes, with prices ranging from SR250,000 to SR750,000 have already been launched.
The Ministry stressed its keenness to work with qualified developers to add to housing stock and support supply in the sector, to encourage competition between companies to meet the needs of citizens in a way that suits local markets and ensures the provision of continued maintenance services for the residential units.
“The real-estate developers with whom we signed contribute along with the Ministry to the service of citizens in order to provide a suitable residential environment on the levels of prices and specifications, while presenting the beneficiaries with the guarantees needed,” the Ministry said.
“These projects will be completed and handed over to the beneficiaries within a period not exceeding three years. These housing projects are integrated in terms of services and public facilities. They include mosques, public parks and green areas as well as government buildings.”