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Picture used for illustrative purposes. Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: Expats residing in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are now allowed to apply for a Saudi tourist e-visa online in a few minutes.

According to an announcement on September 1 by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism, residents in the GCC are eligible to apply for an e-visa.

According to Saudi Arabia’s official tourism website – visitsaudi.com, GCC residents can apply for a single entry or one-year multiple entry visa.

If you are planning to visit family and friends in Saudi Arabia or want to explore the country, here is all you need to know about the Saudi e-visa for GCC residents.

Who is eligible for the e-visa?

Before you apply, these are the conditions GCC residents must meet to make sure they are eligible for the Saudi e-visa:

  • The residency visa should be valid for at least three months.
  • The passport must be valid for at least six months.
  • Resident’s occupation should be among the eligible occupations listed on the portal.
  • For children under 18, the parent is required to apply first.

Which documents do I need to provide?

  • Passport photo with white background.
  • Passport copy.
  • UAE residence visa page.

How to apply for the Saudi e-visa for GCC residents online

GCC residents can apply for a tourist visa online through Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ (MOFA) online visa platform - visa.mofa.gov.sa.

Here is a step-by-step process on how to apply for the visa:

Step 1: Create an online account

1. Visit the link here: https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/Account/Loginindividuals.
2. Next, click on ‘Register’ under the ‘Login Of Individual Visitors To Saudi Arabia’ category.
3. Then, type in your email address and create a password and confirm it. After that, type in the ‘captcha code’ and      click on the ‘Register’ button.
4. Next, go to your email inbox, and click on the link to activate your account.
5. Then login again with your new account and enter the captcha code. Click the ‘Login’ button.

Step 2: Create a new visa application

1. After you have logged in, click on the white tab labelled, ‘Add a new application’ on the right of your screen.
2. You then go through the terms and conditions and click on ‘agree’.

Step 3: Fill out the Saudi e-visa application for GCC residents

Next, fill e-visa application form with the following details:

Enter the e-visa information:

• Select visa type: Tourist
• Transport mode: Air, land, sea or open
• Select the Saudi Mission: Dubai

Enter personal information:

• Type in your first and last name.
• Select your nationality

After you have selected your nationality, check the box which states: ‘A ‘valid’ residence for a period of no less than three months in the countries of the Cooperation Council for the Gulf Countries, including domestic workers who come with their sponsors.’

• Type in your residence visa number which is your UID (Unified Number) number 
• Enter the expiry date of your UAE residence visa.
• Select the issuing country: UAE
• Type in your occupation. Once you type it in, options from a drop down menu will show up. You need to ensure that your occupation – as listed on your visa – is available as an option. This is because only certain categories of workers are allowed to apply for the e-visa online.

Step 4: Upload the documents

• Passport-sized photograph
• Passport copy
• UAE residence visa copy

Step 5: Enter your passport details

• Passport number
• Issuing country
• Date of expiry
• Date of birth
• Passport type: Normal
• Date of issue
• Place of birth

Enter other details:

• Select your marital status
• Gender
• Address in Saudi Arabia

Step 6: Enter your travel date and select type of tourist visa:

1. Select the port of entry:

• Jeddah
• Al Madinah
• Riyadh
• Dammam
• Dhahran

2. Enter your expected entry date

3. Next, select your tourist visa type:

• Single
• Multiple

The single entry visa will be valid for three months from the date of issuance and you will be allowed to stay in Saudi Arabia for 30 days.

The multiple entry visa will be valid for one year and you will be allowed to stay in Saudi Arabia for 90 days.

• Next, select if you want to perform Umrah, the MOFA website states that a visitor can perform Umrah throughout the year apart from the Hajj season.

• After that, enter the captcha code, and click the ‘Save’ button.

Step 7: Confirm the application data

The website will then provide you with all the details of your application and ask you to fill in your email address and mobile number.

Step 8: Select your medical insurance

You will then be asked to pick a health insurance coverage provided by Saudi health insurance providers, along with the cost of each insurance plan. Pick the health insurance coverage that is suitable for you.

Step 9: Make the payment

After selecting the health insurance, pay for the e-visa via debit/credit card.

Step 10: Receive the Saudi e-visa

Once you have completed the application, you can track your e-visa application process on the link here: https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/Home/Index.

Select inquiry type as ‘visa application’, enter the application and passport number and click the ‘Search’ button.

If your visa is approved by MOFA, you receive the e-visa by email. The ‘Visit Saudi’ website advises visitors to keep a hard copy of the visa, along with the digital version, at the time of travel.

How long can e-visa holders stay in Saudi Arabia?

According to Saudi Arabia’s official tourism website – visitsaudi.com – the duration of stay depends on the type of visa you apply for:

• The multiple-entry tourist visa is valid for one year from the date of issuance, and you can stay in Saudi Arabia for a period of 90 days.

• The single-entry tourist visa is valid for three months from the date of issuance, and you can stay in Saudi Arabia for a period of 30 days.

However, it is important to note the application does not guarantee the granting of the visa and MOFA will grant the visa after reviewing the each application.

Also, according to visitsaudi.com, if the e-visa application is rejected because it does not meet the requirements, the application fee is non-refundable.

How much does the Saudi e-visa for GCC residents cost?

The e-visa for GCC residents costs 300 Saudi riyals (Dh293.25) along with the cost for the health insurance fee. So, the total cost will vary depending on the health insurance coverage you select.