Saudi tourist visas expanded under agency’s review

A woman takes a selfie as she stands next to a camel during King Abdulaziz Camel Festival in Rimah Governorate, north-east of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in this January 19, 2018 photo. (REUTERS)
Updated 02 April 2018

Saudi tourist visas expanded under agency’s review

RIYADH: A review of tourist visa regulations has been completed by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), together with the interior and foreign ministries.
The SCTH said in a statement that it reviewed the regulations with relevant government institutions, investors and workers in tourism and transport, and groups of service providers through a series of intensive meetings and workshops.
The new visa regulations had been submitted to the relevant government authorities for approval, it said.
Visa requirements had been arranged with government and private agencies, and an integrated electronic system developed under the supervision of a team headed by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.
The SCTH acted on the basis of a national tourism development strategy, approved in 2005, to develop and expand tourist visas that previously had been granted on a limited scale.
The National Transformation Program 2020 also adopted the tourist visa as one of the “initiatives of high economic feasibility.”
Prince Sultan bin Salman, president and chairman of the board of the SCTH, told AFP earlier this year that the Kingdom had affirmed its commitment to local values and culture — the most important attractions as it strives to attract tourists.
“The Kingdom is the cradle of Islam and the direction toward which all Muslims face in their prayers, and it has the honor to serve them, leaning on a legacy of civilizational, natural, cultural and tourist wealth and generous and welcoming people,” he said.


Saudi Arabia’s ‘Awdah’ initiative helps over 12,790 expats return home

Updated 04 June 2020

Saudi Arabia’s ‘Awdah’ initiative helps over 12,790 expats return home

  • Residents with exit and re-entry visas, final exit visas and individuals with visit visas are eligible for the service
  • People can register through the Absher platform

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s initiative Awdah helped 12,798 expatriates return home amid the coronavirus travel bans, state news agency SPA reported.
The program, which means return in Arabic, was launched by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to help stranded expats return to their home countries and received a total of 178,452 individual registrations between April 22 to June 3. Only those whose countries have agreed to receive them have been flown out.
Residents with exit and re-entry visas, final exit visas and individuals with visit visas are eligible for the service.
To register, a person must use the Absher platform to provide residency number, date of birth, phone number, city of departure and name of airport at home country, the report added.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development, the General Authority of Civil Aviation and other governmental organizations are working together to help stranded expats return home.