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Saudi Arabia Eliminates Visa Stickers for 12 Countries

Seamless Travel Made Easy: Saudi Arabia Introduces E-Visas for 12 Nations

Saudi Arabia Visa

Saudi Arabia is ushering in a new era of digital convenience for travelers from 12 countries, as it bids farewell to traditional visa stickers and embraces e-visas. The General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) has initiated a phased implementation of the e-visa system, which replaces visa stickers with printed e-visas featuring Quick Response (QR) codes. This move is part of the kingdom’s efforts to modernize consular services and attract more foreign visitors. In this feature, we explore the details of the e-visa implementation and its impact on travel to Saudi Arabia.

The Transition to E-Visa

Saudi Arabia’s General Authority of Civil Aviation has issued a circular to all airlines regarding the cancellation of visa stickers for labor, visit, and residency visas issued by Saudi diplomatic missions in 12 countries. The new e-visa system features the traveler’s data, which can be easily verified through the QR code.

The 12 countries affected by the transition are Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Uganda, Lebanon, Nepal, Turkiye, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Morocco, Thailand, and Vietnam. The implementation of the e-visa system for each country follows a gradual timetable:

  1. Pakistan: Implementation started from July 24
  2. Yemen: Implementation started from July 26
  3. Sudan: Implementation started from August 2
  4. Uganda: Implementation started from August 7
  5. Lebanon: Implementation started from August 9
  6. Nepal: Implementation started from August 14
  7. Turkiye: Implementation started from August 16
  8. Sri Lanka: Implementation started from August 21
  9. Kenya: Implementation started from August 23
  10. Morocco: Implementation started from August 28
  11. Thailand: Implementation started from August 30
  12. Vietnam: Implementation started from September 4

GACA emphasizes that visa stickers issued before these dates remain valid, ensuring a smooth transition for travelers.


Advantages of the E-Visa System

The shift to e-visas is part of the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s broader initiative to enhance consular services and automate visa procedures. The new system replaces the traditional visa sticker on a beneficiary’s passport with an e-visa. The e-visa’s data can be conveniently read through the QR code, streamlining the verification process for both travelers and authorities.

By embracing digital transformation, Saudi Arabia seeks to attract more foreign visitors and diversify its economy, reducing its reliance on oil revenues. The country has witnessed a significant increase in visitors, with 2.4 million arrivals in January and 2.5 million in February, as reported by Tourism Minister Ahmed Al Khateeb in March. With an ambitious goal to receive 25 million foreign tourists this year, the kingdom’s commitment to modernizing its visa processes aligns with its vision for a thriving tourism sector.

Saudi Arabia’s shift from traditional visa stickers to e-visas marks a significant step towards enhancing traveler experiences and simplifying the visa process. The phased implementation for 12 countries showcases the kingdom’s commitment to digital innovation and its drive to welcome more international visitors. As Saudi Arabia opens its doors to the world, the adoption of e-visas paves the way for a new era of seamless travel, supporting the nation’s vision of a vibrant and diverse economy.


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