Saudi Arabia further simplifies entry requirements with free-of-charge 4-day visa
Saudi Arabia has just introduced a new free transit visa allowing stopover passengers to stay in the Kingdom for up to 4 days. The visa is automatically integrated to the boarding pass of the two Saudi Arabia-based carriers, Saudia and Flynas.
According to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) as well as both air carriers, travellers can now apply for a free-of-charge transit visa which provides a stay up to 96 hours. SPA reported that Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs introduced the visa in order to boost tourism – part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 strategy. The service is being introduced in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the Pilgrims Service Program, and the Saudi Tourism Authority.
The transit visa will be issued with plane tickets from Saudia and Flynas, and will be valid for three months.
Saudia Airlines, the national flag carrier of Saudi Arabia, announced the launch of “Your Ticket Your Visa”, claiming to be the first-of-its-kind service providing guests with even easier access to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia through a digital integration system that links transit visas with flight tickets.
The new service, which covers all international airports in the Kingdom, allows guests to stay in the Kingdom for up to 96 hours, during which they can travel around the Kingdom and perform Umrah. The digital integration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs facilitates the issuing of the transit visa and links it to the flight ticket within three minutes.
Saudia Airlines, the first to offer the new visa with its ticket
Captain Ibrahim Koshy, the CEO of Saudia Airlines, stressed also, that “the launch of this innovative and seamless Stopover Visa is the first of its kind in the aviation industry and a significant milestone in our digital transformation program. It is a testament to Saudia’s commitment to supporting the Kingdom’s strategic goal of reaching 100 million visits by 2030 and we are confident it will positively impact the growing number of transit passengers while enhancing our position as a hub that connects East and West. The new service will also encourage passengers to perform Umrah, visit key destinations and attend events and Saudi seasons.”
The launch of the new service comes also in line with Saudia’s commitment to promote King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah and strengthen its role in the region by being a hub between East and West, facilitating travel procedures by collaborating with the Jeddah Airports Company, and coordinating with the Saudi Tourism Authority to provide incentive packages for those wishing to benefit from “Your Ticket Your Visa” service.
The “Your Ticket Your Visa” service is part of the digital services provided by Saudia via its website and smart applications, which are constantly evolving to facilitate and simplify travel procedures and make a shift in the after-sales services.
More visas for travellers
The new transit visa is part of a wide revision of entry conditions into Saudi Arabia. In September 2022, the Kingdom launched a visa-on-arrival for certain passport holders. Tourists from 49 eligible countries can also apply for a tourist visa online through the quick and easy-to-use eVisa platform before travelling, or upon arrival in Saudi through the visa offices of the Immigration Department.
“Today’s announcement of Saudi’s inaugural Stopover Visa is a landmark example of integrated public and private sector cooperation,” said Fahd Hamidaddin, Saudi Tourism Authority CEO in a statement.
Ahmed al-Khateeb, Minister of Tourism, added: “The new Stopover Visa is yet another proof point in Saudi’s commitment to developing and encouraging growth in the tourism sector.” Saudi Arabia’s tourism spending surged last year by 93% to hit US$49 billion, a growth of 100% compared to 2022.
More announcement are likely to be done during the next ITB Berlin 2023 where Saudi Arabia will be present through an impressive booth in Hall 3.2/203.