US Citizen? Now Travel to Saudi Arabia with an eVisa
Does the thought of spending hours at an embassy to secure a travel permit put you off? Do you hate standing at an airport counter after a long journey to get your visa on arrival?
If you are a citizen of the United States and wish to travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, it is no longer a necessity. In one of its most recent travel announcements in September 2019, Saudi Arabia stated its decision to provide eVisas to tourists from 49 countries. The United States is listed as one of the countries eligible for an eVisa.
This article is a short guide to help US citizens obtain an eVisa for Saudi Arabia. It explains the eVisa application process and lists the obligatory requirements for a Saudi Arabia tourist eVisa. Here, you can also find some valuable travel tips.
Why an eVisa to Saudi Arabia?
For long, Saudi Arabia has been closed to tourists. The only expatriates permitted to enter included workers, businessmen and diplomats. They were issued long-term visas and required sponsors for their visas. With the intention of supplementing its oil revenue, the government of Saudi Arabia has decided to bank on tourism.
There are several reasons to get an eVisa to Saudi Arabia. It is fast. It does not take long to apply. It is also known for its short approval time. It is convenient. You do not have to make a trip to the embassy or consulate to apply for the same. The eVisa application process can be completed online. And finally, applying for an eVisa for Saudi Arabia is easy. With a tourist eVisa to Saudi Arabia, you can be a part of world-renowned events such as Tantora winter Culture Festival, King Abdul Aziz Camel Festival and Formula E Diriyah ePrix.
The eVisa allows multiple entry for a period of 90 days only. The eVisa is valid for one year from the date of issue. The eVisa is a tourist visa. It does not permit entry to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Muslims undertaking a religious pilgrimage must apply for the Haj visa.
eVisa Requirements for American Citizens
US citizens travelling to the United States are expected to fulfil certain requirements when applying for an eVisa to Saudi Arabia.
- Visitors must apply for the electronic visa in advance on the official website.
- The applicants visa must be valid for 6 months after the intended date of arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- Travellers must have a coloured, digital passport photo. The rules in place for a regular passport photo apply for a digital photo too.
- There is also a mandatory insurance policy attached to the eVisa. It offers a coverage of 100,000 SAR in case of medical emergencies. When applying for an eVisa, the traveller is randomly assigned to any of the government-supported insurance providers.
- You will also need to provide a current email address to receive the eVisa.
The eVisa is an electronic travel authorisation. The traveller must possess a hard copy of the eVisa on arrival in the country. The eVisa grants a traveller permission to enter Saudi Arabia via designated airports, seaports or via road transport checkpoints.
eVisa Application Process
The applicant will have to fill up an online application form. The information requested includes:
- Personal Details: Name, residential address and the date of birth.
- Passport number, date of expiry, nationality.
- Travel dates
Once the application form is completed, travellers will have to make a payment towards the eVisa and the mandatory insurance fee. The fee is payable by credit or debit card. The Saudi Arabian eVisa for US citizens usually takes between 24 to 72 hours to be processed. However, some applications might take longer. An approved official eVisa is sent to the applicant’s email from where it can be downloaded and printed.
Enjoy Your Stay in Saudi Arabia
The Middle Eastern region is known to be slightly conservative. And while it has relaxed its policies related to women, there are a few still in place that are expected to followed by tourists.
- Respect the people and the local culture.
- Do not smoke or drink alcohol.
- Do not carry alcohol, drugs or pork.
- If you visit in the holy of Ramadan, you must be mindful of the fasting customs. Eating is prohibited in public.
- As a woman, you are expected to dress modestly. The abaya is not compulsory but covering the head is when visiting a place of worship.
So, stay on the side of the law, both before and during your trip to Saudi Arabia and enjoy your stay.