On Monday, Saudi Arabia said that six additional categories of people would now be eligible for the instant e-visa.

Effective immediately, UK, US, and Schengen visa holders, as well as permanent residents of UK, US, and any EU country can obtain tourist e-visas.

These e-visas need to applied for prior to arriving in the kingdom via the government’s official website of mofa.gov.sa.

To be eligible for these visas, applicants require a valid passport, as well as proof of residence or a valid Schengen, UK or US visa.

Authorities added that the visa can be obtained for several purposes including tourism, attending events, exhibitions and conferences as well as for performing Umrah throughout the year, except during Al Hajj season.

Saudi has previously extended regulation to provide visas on arrival to holders of valid US, UK, and Schengen visas as well as permanent residents of UK, US, and any EU country. The e-visa eligibility was extended to residents of the GCC too.

Earlier this year, Saudi also announced the launch of a new Stopover Visa which is available Free-of-charge to passengers travelling on SAUDIA and flynas.

The Stopover Visa allows passengers to stay in the country for up to 96 hours, and is automatically available through the airline’s booking platforms for all passengers travelling to their final destination on SAUDIA or flynas airlines.

The application process can be completed in under three minutes and can be applied for up to 90 days before travel. Holders of the Stopover Visa are also eligible for a complimentary one-night hotel stay during their stopover if they are flying using the country’s national carrier of SAUDIA.

With a 121 per cent increase from pre-pandemic international tourism levels, Saudi achieved 93.5 million visits in 2022. It now aims to reach 100 million visits annually by 2030.

The country also outlined plans earlier this week to invest US$800 billion in its tourism sector over the next ten years.