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Home >News >World >Saudi Arabia to open for tourist from Aug 1; here's how to apply for visa

Saudi Arabia will reopen its borders for foreign tourists after a 17-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic on August 1.

However, the Saudi Kingdom has reopened its borders for only fully vaccinated tourists. "The Ministry of Tourism announced that the Kingdom will open its doors to foreign tourists, and lift... the suspension of entry for tourist visa holders, starting from August 1," the Saudi Press Agency reported.

As per the Kingdom's Tourism Ministry, travellers who are fully vaccinated with Saudi-approved jabs, that is--Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson, will be allowed to enter the country "without the need for an institutional quarantine period".

Those wishing to obtain a tourist visa can apply through the “Spirit of Saudi" website, visitsaudi.com.

Also, the tourists will also have to carry a negative RT-PCR Covid-19 test taken within the last 72 hours and register their details with health authorities.

"Visitors to the Kingdom are also required to register their data related to vaccination doses via the new electronic portal dedicated to this, “muqeem.sa/#/vaccine-registration/home", in addition to registering their data via “Tawakkalna" application, which is mandatory to enter public places," the Saudi Press Agency added.

According to the Saudi embassy, nationals of the following countries may obtain an E-visa (online) through the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage website, or upon arrival at any of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s ports of entry: Canada, the United States, Brunei, China (Hong Kong, Taipei, Macau), Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, and United Kingdom.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had launched the tourist visa in September 2019, in a historic decision in which the Kingdom opened its heart and its doors to tourists from different countries of the world. Between September 2019 and March 2020, it issued 400,000 visas.

However, the Covid-19 outbreak also hugely disrupted the hajj and umrah pilgrimages, usually a key revenue earner for the kingdom. In normal times, they together rake in some $12 billion (10.3 billion euros) annually.

Currently only immunised pilgrims resident in Saudi Arabia are eligible for umrah permits.

So far, 26 million jabs have been administered to the population of 35 million in the Kingdom. The Saudi government has said that vaccinations will be mandatory to enter government and private establishments, including education institutions and entertainment venues, as well as to use public transport from August 1.

Saudi Arabia has registered more than 523,000 coronavirus cases, with 8,213 deaths.

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