UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme now open to Saudis

UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme now open to Saudis
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British Ambassador Neil Crompton speaks at Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebration in Riyadh. (AN photo by Saad Soud Aldossari)
UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme now open to Saudis
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UK ambassador Neil Crompton with Prince Faisal bin Abdulaziz bin Ayyaf, mayor of Riyadh at Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebration. (AN photo by Saad Soud Aldossari)
UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme now open to Saudis
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Guests at Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee celebration at British embassy. (AN photo by Saad Soud Aldossari)
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Updated 03 June 2022

UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme now open to Saudis

UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme now open to Saudis
  • Travelers can apply online and stay for up to six months, British ambassador says
  • EVW scheme takes effect as nations celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee

RIYADH: The UK’s electronic visa waiver scheme is now available to Saudi citizens, Britain’s top envoy to the Kingdom said on Thursday, adding that the initiative would help to deepen economic and diplomatic ties between the two countries.

“Saudi nationals can now apply to travel to the UK (for tourism, business, study or medical treatment) for up to six months using the system,” British Ambassador Neil Crompton told Arab News.

“This is a wonderful moment which will strengthen ties between the two countries.”

The change to the UK visa system took effect on Thursday and is open to all Saudi citizens. The online process is “quick, very straightforward (and) not expensive,” the envoy said.

“It’s a big improvement in our service, which is consistent with the desire of both our governments to improve the bilateral relationship, and in particular to increase the people-to-people links between our two countries. It’s very exciting news, and we look forward to seeing more Saudis in the UK,” he added.

Crompton said on Twitter that people wishing to apply for an EVW should do so via the UK government’s website (gov.uk/get-electronic-visa-waiver). The cost is £30 ($38) and applications can be made between 48 hours and three months in advance of travel.

Once approval has been granted, which can take up to 24 hours, people can download their EVW for presentation at the airport check-in desk. Changes to the document can be made up to 48 hours ahead of travel.

Afnan Ahmed, a frequent Saudi visitor to the UK, said the new system would be a boon for travelers.

“In the past it was not easy,” he told Arab News. “I applied for a visa in December 2021 and had to wait for three months to get approval. I live in Madinah and had to go all the way to Jeddah to do the biometrics. It cost me about SR3,000 ($800) plus a train ticket.

“So having a simple, fast and inexpensive online system for Saudis is really good news for me. It will make traveling to the UK much easier.”

Meanwhile, the UK Embassy in Riyadh on Wednesday night celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II ahead of similar festivities around the world.

Elizabeth was just 25 when she acceded to the throne on February 6, 1952 on the death of her father, King George VI. Her coronation the following year was attended by the late Saudi King Fahd, who was making his first official state visit, even before he had become crown prince.

The embassy marked the 70-year anniversary by highlighting the long-standing relationship between the monarchies of the UK and Saudi Arabia. On a colorful night, the flags of the two countries flew over the embassy as hundreds of foreign dignitaries, diplomats and members of British and Saudi society gathered together.

“We are here tonight for a special occasion of the Platinum Jubilee. She has been an example to us all,” Crompton said of the queen.

“Saudi Arabia and the UK share a very cordial relationship,” he added. “The KSA has so many exciting things going on, and it’s a fantastic time for the bilateral relationship. So many people are going to new economic projects, cultural projects, education projects and working together. So I think the future is very exciting for us.”


Saudi nutritionist uses his weight loss journey to inspire others

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
Updated 2 min 36 sec ago

Saudi nutritionist uses his weight loss journey to inspire others

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.
  • Durham University graduate talks up need for Saudi culture not to conflate its famed generosity with food

RIYADH: Unhealthy food and fitness habits are on the rise among Saudi youth, and maintaining a healthy weight has become a concern.

The weight-loss milestones of 24-year-old Salam Farid Azam has been a motivation for many wishing to achieve their weight goal.

Azam’s priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He lost 25 kg through his balanced habits, which have been cultivated through his educational experience in human nutrition and behavioral science.

Now, he has a mission to help others bury their weakening cycles of poor habits.

FASTFACTS

• Salam Farid Azam’s priority is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. He lost 25 kg through his balanced habits, which have been cultivated through his educational experience in human nutrition and behavioral science.

• Now, he has a mission to help others bury their weakening cycles of poor habits.

Azam created his consultation platform, Sehha W Salam, two months ago.

“Sehha W Salam is a platform that’s trying to improve the overall health of people in society through personal consultations tailored to them,” Azam told Arab News.

“Consultants will try to enhance the behaviors and nutrition of people who come. They will try to understand the issues people are struggling with,” he said.

Qualified consultants create an in-depth case study of clients’ issues. Nutritional meal plans, exercises, and a combination of behavioral consultations are then applied, with prices dependent on how complex a case is.

“I am a registered associate nutritionist from the Association of Nutrition in the UK. I might recruit more qualified people with both qualifications in behavioral science and nutrition,” he said.

“The most convenient way of reaching me is through Instagram which is @sehhawsalam. Consultations will be held virtually over any video meeting platforms, or we can do it by visiting each other.”

Azam started his journey in the UK after high school. He was inspired to study nutrition because he was overweight during his adolescence.

“I thought of studying nutrition because I used to be overweight (at) around 13 years old. I was suffering from it. It affected me in terms of confidence in myself, my general well-being, I was shy, I was not socializing in general. I thought ‘I need to make a decision because I am not who I am’,” he said.

“I stayed at home all the time and played PlayStation and video games. I used to eat a lot, all the time, and I was unaware of my health. I used to play center back, the defending position in football, from primary school until I was 14. My colleagues and football team members (then) told me I need to play as a goalkeeper — I am not giving a bad impression of being a goalkeeper, but it’s usually given to people who don’t give a good impression of running. I was feeling rejected,” he explained.

Website surfing and Instagram accounts with nutritional information were the first source of awareness for Azam’s weight loss, before expanding his passion for nutrition at university.

“I chose Kingston University. I did my bachelor’s of science in human nutrition, and I was one of the top students in (the) university,” he said.

Azam complemented his bachelor’s with a master’s degree in behavioral sciences at Durham, one of the UK’s leading universities.

“We learned a lot about behavioral aspects of psychology. Choice architecture is a concept that looks at whether items are on an eye-level,” he said. “Changing the position of these unhealthy food products affects people’s choices. They crave these foods when they see it.”

Losing weight was difficult at first for Azam, especially without surgical intervention. His focus on food quality, avoiding fast food, and exercising gave a positive turn in all aspects surrounding his life.

“After I lost weight, I couldn’t describe how comfortable I felt. I started socializing, anticipating. I became very confident in myself. I started joining societies, leading them, going into positions of trust, and all of that. Nutrition can help people achieve their best,” said Azam.

Generosity is a key component of Saudi culture, and Azam believes that generosity and showing appreciation should not always be correlated with food — gratitude can be expressed in many ways. Food for him is not always for pleasure, but instead, mostly for survival.

“Saudi society is generous and we conflate it with food. I see people providing a generous quantity of food to guests, and they are treating it as generosity, which isn’t always healthy,” he said.

“Today’s doll-like body standards can be dangerous,” he added.

Azam said he places an importance in a Hadith that translates as: “No man fills a container worse than his stomach. A few morsels that keep his back upright are sufficient for him. If he has to, then he should keep one-third for food, one-third for water and one-third for breathing.”

He greatly appreciates the Kingdom’s efforts in looking out for the health of people in Saudi Arabia.

“I am really glad I am helping my country. Saudi Arabia is doing a really great job at the moment, especially in the health field. I am very proud to be Saudi, and I also look forward to improving my community and taking pride in doing so,” he said.

 


Saudi justice minister issues 2,317 law practice licenses

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
Updated 1 min 2 sec ago

Saudi justice minister issues 2,317 law practice licenses

Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani. (SPA)
  • Services for lawyers offered through the Najiz portal include applying for a law practice license and renewal of licenses

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Justice Walid Al-Samaani has issued 2,317 and renewed 1,082 law practice licenses in the past 12 months.

The ministry has said that it is focusing its efforts on vocational training as an essential part of the justice system, providing professional advice to safeguard people’s interests.

Inquiries about licensed lawyers can be made through a list of lawyers classified by name and city, as well as queries about the status of filed applications and other services, the ministry said.

Services for lawyers offered through the Najiz portal include applying for a law practice license and renewal of licenses.

A trainee lawyers’ service allows applicants to register and receive a “trainee lawyer identification certificate” electronically.

The portal also has a transfer service for lawyers and can issue new electronic “trainee lawyer identification certificates.”

 


Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Saja, general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Saja
Abdulaziz Saja
Updated 2 min 23 sec ago

Who’s Who: Abdulaziz Saja, general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia

Abdulaziz Saja

Abdulaziz Saja is the general manager of Tabby Saudi Arabia, one of the leading buy now, pay later financial technology companies in Saudi Arabia.

Tabby is a platform that offers financial freedom to its users with BNPL options for over 4,000 brands operating in the Kingdom, the UAE and Kuwait.

Saja is in charge of Tabby’s operations, including hiring, business development, compliance, legal and growth activities in the Kingdom.

Born and raised in Riyadh, he studied finance with a minor degree in economics at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.

He started his career in commercial banking, working in multiple banks for around five years.

He then decided to pursue a master’s degree in business administration with the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, later switching careers to management consulting.

After working as an associate with McKinsey & Co. for two years, Hosam Arab, co-founder and CEO of Tabby, approached Saja to join his team as general manager in 2019.

In February 2020, Tabby launched its commercial operations in the UAE. A launch in the Kingdom followed soon after in July 2020, along with approval to join the Saudi Central Bank’s Sandbox environment, bringing BNPL officially to the Kingdom in October 2020.

Saja continues to lead Tabby’s efforts in the Kingdom with plans to roll out new and exciting products in the future.

 


Saudi minister receives Thai charge d’affaires in Riyadh

Saudi minister Fahad Abualnasr receives charge d’affaires of the Thai Embassy in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Saudi minister Fahad Abualnasr receives charge d’affaires of the Thai Embassy in Riyadh. (Supplied)
Updated 39 sec ago

Saudi minister receives Thai charge d’affaires in Riyadh

Saudi minister Fahad Abualnasr receives charge d’affaires of the Thai Embassy in Riyadh. (Supplied)
  • They reviewed diplomatic relations between the two countries and the latest developments of common concern

RIYADH: Saudi Deputy Minister for Public Diplomacy Fahad Abualnasr received the charge d’affaires of the Thai Embassy in the Kingdom, Sathana Kashemsanta Na Ayudhya, in Riyadh on Monday.

The pair reviewed relations between their countries and discussed topics of common interest.

Abualnasr also met Francisco Chacón Hernández, Costa Rica’s non-resident ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

They reviewed diplomatic relations between the two countries and the latest developments of common concern.

In June, Abualnasr met Bahrain’s Ambassador to the Kingdom Shaikh Ali Abdulrahman bin Ali Al-Khalifa in Riyadh. They reviewed diplomatic relations and discussed topics of common interest.

 


Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president

Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president
Updated 15 August 2022

Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president

Saudi crown prince receives letter from Costa Rican president
  • Handwritten letter discussed relations between the two countries and ways to develop them in all fields

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman received a letter from the President of Costa Rica Rodrigo Chaves, Saudi Press Agency reported on Monday.

The handwritten letter discussed the solid and close relations between the two countries and ways to develop them in all fields.

The letter was received by the Saudi Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Waleed bin Abdulkarim Al-Khuraiji during a meeting with the non-resident ambassador of Costa Rica to the Kingdom Francisco Chacon Hernandez.

The two officials spoke about bilateral relations, means to enhance them in various fields, and issues of mutual interest.