Saudi Arabia Revamps Visa System: Eliminates Stickers for Multiple Countries

Saudi Arabia has recently made a significant announcement, aiming to enhance its visa system by eliminating visa stickers for multiple countries, including Pakistan. This move is part of the kingdom’s efforts to modernize and streamline its visa processes. The list of countries benefiting from this change now includes Sri Lanka, Kenya, and others.

The authorities have planned a phased implementation of the new visa system throughout 2023. According to the official timeline, visa stickers will be abolished on specific dates for each country:

  • Pakistan: 24th July
  • Yemen: 26th July
  • Sudan: 2nd August
  • Yugunda: 7th August
  • Lebanon: 9th August
  • Nepal: 14th August
  • Turkiye: 16th August
  • Sri Lanka: 21st August
  • Kenya: 23rd August
  • Morocco: 28th August
  • Thailand: 30th August
  • Vietnam: 4th September

Under the new regulation, visa stickers will be replaced with QR codes, and e-visas will be issued for the listed countries. Initially, this change will apply to employment (iqama) and visit visas. The aviation authorities in Saudi Arabia have already communicated these updates to airlines operating within the country.

To ensure easy verification, visa information will be printed on a standard A4-sized paper. The Saudi Arabian authorities emphasize that previously issued visas will remain valid, offering reassurance to passport holders regarding their existing documentation.

This shift is part of Saudi Arabia’s broader initiative to enhance its visa system by incorporating advanced technology and offering improved consular services. The kingdom aims to revolutionize travel and tourism within its borders and has recently launched Riyadh Air, a new airline with ambitious plans to serve over 100 destinations worldwide by 2030. This modernization drive is under the guidance of Crown Prince Mohamed bin Salman, who aims to strengthen the kingdom’s influence in the region through soft power.