S Arabia extends e-visa to citizens of 8 more countries

Riyadh, Aug 8:  Saudi Arabia announced that citizens of eight more countries will now be eligible for a visitor e-visa, state media 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, Xinhua news agency quoted the state media report as saying. 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-per cent 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 US. 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.