On January 29th, Saudi Arabia launched the new Stopover Visa, a free visa that is now available for a wider range of countries than the classic eVisa. It is the latest initiative presented by Saudi Arabia to make the destination even more accessible to international travelers. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Interior, Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Tourism Authority (Sta), Saudia and Flynas, made the announcement.
In the first quarter of the year, it is expected that the number of air connections to Saudi Arabia will rise by more than 65 percent compared to the same period in 2022. Last year, four out of the Top Ten most visited international routes were operated to or from Saudi Arabia. The Stopover Visa will allow passengers to stay in the country for up to 96 hours, allowing many more travelers than before to explore the riches of Saudi Arabia.
Travelers will be able to use the Stopover Visa to take part in the spiritual ritual of Umrah. Religious travelers can book flights with Saudia Airlines and Flynas, but must also register for Umrah through the Nusuk platform. Stopover Visa holders will be entitled to free hotel accommodation during the stopover and can apply for this service, which proves to be a real incentive for travelers, by booking through Saudia Airlines.
We will continue to work together to transform Saudi Arabia into a top destination in the global scenario.Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia
To help visitors make the most of their stopover, 24-, 48-, 72- and 96-hour itineraries have been designed to inspire travelers and encourage them to visit the Al-Balad district in Jeddah, or discover the Al-Turaif site in Diriyah, one of Saudi Arabia’s six UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Visitors also can use the Stopover Visa to break up long-haul flights or book a bonus trip to experience firsthand Saudi entertainment and the seasonal events calendar, or to extend their business trip before reaching their final destination.
The Stopover Visa form will be available automatically through the airline’s booking platform for all passengers traveling to their final destination aboard Saudia or flynas flights. Stopovers can be made at any Saudi airport. The entire process takes less than three minutes to complete and can be completed up to 90 days before travel.
The new visa provides an additional flexibility option for visitors who want to experience the authenticity of the cradle of Arab culture and contribute to the Vision 2030 goal of reaching 100 million visitors per year by 2030. “The new Stopover Visa is further evidence of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to developing and encouraging the growth of the tourism sector,” said Ahmed Al Khateeb, Minister of Tourism of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Board of Saudi Tourism Authority. “It is available to travelers passing through our country on board domestic carriers whether for leisure, business or Umrah travel.”
Saudi Arabia is committed to creating an experience that is enjoyable and streamlined for visitors.Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO of Saudi Tourism Authority
Fahd Hamidaddin, CEO and board member of Saudi Tourism Authority, said the announcement regarding the inauguration of the Stopover Visa is a clear example of collaboration between the public and private sector. “Saudi Arabia is committed to creating an experience that is enjoyable and streamlined for visitors,” he said. “In partnership with our domestic carriers, Saudia and Flynas, we are using digital platforms to provide an instant Stopover Visa, which can increase the accessibility of Saudi Arabia and therefore the world-class offerings of this destination.”