Visitors examine accessories displayed at an exhibition for young Saudi entrepreneurs in Jeddah. Banned from driving and denied the right to travel without permission, Saudi women are taking bold steps in business and trying to do away with the male guardian system that hobbles them. Image Credit: AFP


  • Centres will provide convenient visa, biometric enrollment services for Saudi tourist visa applicants
  • Pilgrims can travel for Umrah on a tourist visa outside of Hajj season
  • Nationals of several countries can apply for a tourist visa

DUBAI: VFS TasHeel, an authorised visa service provider for Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, announced that it has launched tourist visa services at its centres across 30 countries worldwide.

Applicants will also be able to travel for Umrah on a tourist visa, but not during the Hajj season, according to the official Visit Saudi website.

According to Saudi Arabia's new visa policy, nationals of the following countries can apply for a tourist visa:

  • UAE
  • Jordan
  • Egypt
  • Pakistan
  • Indonesia
  • Algeria
  • Bahrain
  • Cameroon
  • Chad
  • Cote D'Ivoire
  • Ghana
  • Guinea
  • Mali
  • Mauritania
  • Maldives
  • Philippines
  • South Africa
  • Sri Lanka
  • Tajikistan

The visa process is open to applicants from all nationalities, except the 49 that are eligible for a visa on arrival or e-visa.

The VFS TasHeel's service centres are present in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.

VFS TasHeel, based in Dubai, is a wholly-owned subsidiary of VFS Global, the world's largest outsourcing and technology services specialist for governments and diplomatic missions worldwide.

Biometric enrollment

Acting as a trusted service provider between visa applicants and the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, VFS TasHeel's visa services centres provide full array of visa services — including, dissemination of accurate visa information, application guidance, fee management, identity management with biometrics enrollment and application submission for all available visa categories.

Biometric enrollment includes highly secure collection of fingerprints, facial image and biographic details, such as passport information.

On 27 September, VFS TasHeel started serving customers under the new type of Tourist Visa in most of its countries of operations.

A spokesperson of VFS TasHeel said: "The increasing openness of international markets brings immense opportunities to the tourism sector — and Saudi Arabia's new policies acknowledge that tourism has an important role to play in the kingdom's social and economic development.

"In support of the government's initiatives, we are pleased to offer tourist visa services in 30 countries, and make the entire process more seamless and convenient for potential leisure travellers and pilgrims for Umrah."

Applicants can contact VFS TasHeel for more info.

VFS TasHeel International

VFS TasHeel International is a specialist visa outsourcing partner for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The company provides a full array of streamlined administrative visa services, all of which are technologically driven and adhering to high standards of security and information confidentiality.

Headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, VFS TasHeel is chartered to offer its services in 30 countries across Africa, Asia, Australia and Europe.