British citizens travelling to Saudi Arabia will soon be eligible for multiple-entry visit visas valid for up to five years, says a statement from Fragomen, a global immigration practice.
This comes as a result of an approved memorandum of understanding between the governments of Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom, that aims at facilitating the issuance of visit visas to citizens of both countries travelling for tourism, business, family visit or medical treatment, it said.
The new law will come into force once all necessary legal procedures have been completed by the contracting parties, the advisory said.
Fragomen said a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia, referenced in the Official Gazette of Saudi Arabia, shows that British citizens travelling to Saudi Arabia now can apply for longer-term visas than those habitually issued, which have previously lasted between three and 12 months.
Certain nationalities can apply for longer term visas of up to five years, subject to a discretionary decision by the visa-issuing authority, under bilateral agreements signed with Saudi Arabia. the UK will now join this group.
Saudi Arabia will also offer an electronic visa for foreign visitors to attend sporting events and concerts from December, the kingdom has said, as it tries to diversify its economy and open up its society.
At present, foreigners travelling to the country are largely restricted to resident workers and their dependents, business travellers, and Muslim pilgrims who are given special visas to travel to holy sites.
Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority (GSA) on Sunday announced details of its new electronic visa system, Sharek. “Saudi Arabia is very excited to be inviting international tourists into the kingdom for the first time as tickets for the Saudia Ad Diriyah E-Prix go on sale via its new visa platform new Sharek,” GSA said in a statement.