Saudi Arabia Opens Borders, Restarts Visa on Arrival Program
The Saudi Arabian government has reopened the visa-on-arrival program for holders of valid visas for the US, UK and Schengen area, effective immediately. The move comes two weeks after the country lifted all COVID-related entry restrictions, returning to a pre-pandemic normal.
Citizens of any country who hold one of the three visas and who are travelling on one of the country’s national carriers – Saudi, Flynas or Flyadeal – can now receive a 12-month tourism visa on arrival in Saudi Arabia without needing to apply in advance. Visitors holding a valid US, UK or Schengen visa must have used it at least once to enter the issuing country or region in order to qualify for a visa on arrival in Saudi. Citizens of any country eligible for the e-visa program, which was introduced in 2019, may also receive a visa on arrival, regardless of the airline they are travelling with.
On March 6, Saudi Arabia announced the lifting of all travel restrictions put in place to protect people from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Visitors to Saudi no longer need to present proof of vaccination or a PCR test to enter the country. The red list of countries not allowed entry has been discontinued. Institutional quarantine requirements have been entirely removed, and social distancing rules have been lifted. Masks are required in enclosed public places only and visitors still need to purchase COVID-19 insurance, which they can do at any of Saudi Arabia’s international airports.
Saudi Arabia was one of the first countries to close its borders following the emergence of COVID-19. Since then, the government has implemented stringent health and safety protocols at all public venues, including hotels, restaurants, public buildings and offices.