Saudi Arabia has expanded its visitor eVisa programme to travellers from eight more countries, taking the total up to 57. Now, tourists from Albania, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, South Africa, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan can apply online to travel to the country. South Africa is the first African country to be added to the list.
The multi-entry eVisa is valid for one year and allows travellers to visit the Gulf nation for up to 90 days at a time. The visa costs 535 Saudi riyals ($142) and includes medical insurance. The visa holders can use the document for tourism, perform Umrah, attend conferences and events, and visit friends and family living in the country.
The eVisa is easier to obtain than a traditional visa, requiring less paperwork and no in-person interview. It is limited to travellers over 18 years with passports valid for at least six months. Children under 18 can enter Saudi Arabia when travelling with a parent, grandparent or adult sibling with an approved eVisa.
Saudi Arabia launched its eVisa programme in 2019, and has since seen an increase in the number of international arrivals. In 2022, it recorded more than 93.5 million foreign and domestic visits, up by 93% compared to the previous year, when the country had international travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.