Saudi Arabia has hiked visa fees for travellers entering on a multiple-entry visa for a six-month period to 3,000 Saudi riyals, for a year to 5,000 Saudi riyals and for two years to 8,000 Saudi riyals.
Prior to this hike, the visa fee was 500 Saudi riyals for six months for expatriates.
This increase will not be applicable to pilgrims visiting the Arab country for the first time to attend Haj or Umrah.
Travel industry expects that this raise in fee would make the country richer by millions of riyals without negatively affecting the tourism numbers. An initiative of the part of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s government to earn more income from non-fuel avenues, both business and second or multiple time religious visitors would be charged 2,000 Saudi riyals for a single-entry visa.
The National quotes Rashid Aboobacker, TRI Consulting associate director, as saying Dubai on 1 September, that the visa fee increases that Saudi Arabia has announced would make it costlier for religious as well as other types of visitors heading to the kingdom.
Earlier, pilgrims were not charged any visa fees. GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) nationals, however, will be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia free of cost.
Although Aboobacker feels that the new fees would not affect the religious tourism, the repeat pilgrim for Haj and Umrah pilgrims may be dissuaded from visiting the country again. He feels that it could adversely affect business as enterprises would now rein in costs by restricting the number of trips and doing away with non-crucial visits.
These hikes have been prompted by low oil prices, which have affected the OPEC (Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries) member’s revenues.
If you plan on visiting Saudi Arabia, approach Y-Axis to get any kind of help to file for a visa from one of its 19 offices located across the length and the breadth of India.