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Saudi Tourist Visa

Saudi Tourist Visa

Old Apr 27th 2018, 7:06 am
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Default Saudi Tourist Visa

Is this still on?

I know it was supposed to launch 1 April but that didn't happen and the standard "please bear with us" message came about it.

My wife and I are quite keen to go at the New Year, but need to start finalising plans and so need to know if it's going to happen or will be delayed (or scrapped altogether!). Or if some unfeasible condition is going to be a last minute add-on, like some years ago when they allowed it but only with group tours.

Anyone know anything?
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Old Apr 27th 2018, 8:22 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

It's all gone a bit quiet on the TV front.
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Old Apr 27th 2018, 8:23 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Is this still on?

I know it was supposed to launch 1 April but that didn't happen and the standard "please bear with us" message came about it.

My wife and I are quite keen to go at the New Year, but need to start finalising plans and so need to know if it's going to happen or will be delayed (or scrapped altogether!). Or if some unfeasible condition is going to be a last minute add-on, like some years ago when they allowed it but only with group tours.

Anyone know anything?
Where do you want to go?
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Old Apr 27th 2018, 11:58 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle...dom-1.712516#1

Haven't finalised the itinerary yet. Mostly I think we'd fly into Jeddah, hire a car, and we'd stay about a week, so picking two or three places from that link above.

Spent many years working closely with Bedouins in rural communities (living in those communities as well), mostly in the UAE, but also in other countries. Many of them have close relations in KSA so we probably have to visit one or two of them as well so not to cause offence. We'd then probably go back into Jordan for a few days after though that might be logistically difficult - it was practically impossible to find hire car companies that would let you take a vehicle into KSA (never asked in Bahrain, don't know if they allowed it, but never found one in the UAE, Oman, or Yemen). So I'm guessing it will be equally difficult to find a hire car we can take out of KSA, except maybe to Bahrain.

Anyways we understand the Gulf and local culture and my wife still has her abaya. That's also why we haven't finalised any plans yet . . . regardless of what's in the papers, there is no tourist visa yet until one actually goes into someone's passport.

Last edited by carcajou; Apr 28th 2018 at 12:01 am.
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Old Apr 28th 2018, 8:45 am
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
https://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle...dom-1.712516#1

Haven't finalised the itinerary yet. Mostly I think we'd fly into Jeddah, hire a car, and we'd stay about a week, so picking two or three places from that link above.

Spent many years working closely with Bedouins in rural communities (living in those communities as well), mostly in the UAE, but also in other countries. Many of them have close relations in KSA so we probably have to visit one or two of them as well so not to cause offence. We'd then probably go back into Jordan for a few days after though that might be logistically difficult - it was practically impossible to find hire car companies that would let you take a vehicle into KSA (never asked in Bahrain, don't know if they allowed it, but never found one in the UAE, Oman, or Yemen). So I'm guessing it will be equally difficult to find a hire car we can take out of KSA, except maybe to Bahrain.

Anyways we understand the Gulf and local culture and my wife still has her abaya. That's also why we haven't finalised any plans yet . . . regardless of what's in the papers, there is no tourist visa yet until one actually goes into someone's passport.
Unless the rules have changed I was under the impression that it was difficult to hire a car without 1) an iqama and 2) Saudi license, so you may want to look into that. That used to be the case a few years back anyway, I'm fairly sure.

However, taking the car out of the country shouldn't be a problem. They're used to people doing that all the time. You may have to wait a couple of days while they do the paperwork for it though. Most places give you 200km a day. Prices start at around 80 SAR for something like a Hyundai Accent.
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Old Apr 28th 2018, 1:21 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Thanks for that, nonthaburi.

Launching a tourist visa, but then prohibiting said tourists from hiring cars, would be an example of an "unfeasible condition" I alluded to in my post.

Hopefully someone in the Tourism Council has thought about that, and not just left it as something to be worked out by trial and error, or something that doesn't have to be thought about until tourists arrive and start complaining.

Somehow I'm thinking this is all academic and the tourist visa will launch the same day Jordan and Morocco join the GCC. Hope I'm wrong.
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Old Apr 28th 2018, 3:42 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by carcajou View Post
Thanks for that, nonthaburi.

Launching a tourist visa, but then prohibiting said tourists from hiring cars, would be an example of an "unfeasible condition" I alluded to in my post.

Hopefully someone in the Tourism Council has thought about that, and not just left it as something to be worked out by trial and error, or something that doesn't have to be thought about until tourists arrive and start complaining.

Somehow I'm thinking this is all academic and the tourist visa will launch the same day Jordan and Morocco join the GCC. Hope I'm wrong.
doubt it

probably

more than likely
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Old Apr 29th 2018, 6:49 am
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

April 1st the tourism department announced they'd come up with the final conditions for the visa, which are now awaiting Royal approval. If I were thinking of visiting under a tourist visa, I'd wait for a few months to see which kinks need to be ironed out. Although the KSA receives millions of visitors every year to Mekka, there will be hurdles and stumbling blocks before this process is perfect. This is Saudi, after all.
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Old Apr 29th 2018, 11:20 am
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
Unless the rules have changed I was under the impression that it was difficult to hire a car without 1) an iqama and 2) Saudi license, so you may want to look into that. That used to be the case a few years back anyway, I'm fairly sure.
I hire a car every time I am visiting Riyadh, using my UAE licence.
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Old Apr 29th 2018, 5:01 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by archie159 View Post
I hire a car every time I am visiting Riyadh, using my UAE licence.
Maybe GCC licenses are okay then.

Are you on a business visa when you visit? If so that makes a difference.
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Old Apr 29th 2018, 6:43 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

This makes me feel that I saw Saudi Arabia at a time before modernisation changed it for ever. A time before TV, mobiles and the Internet.

I was there in 1970-1972 when The Ministry of Education still hired Western non-Muslim teachers to work in government intermediate and secondary schools.

I wnt back in 1990 and then again in 1996 and lastly in 2003. In all my jobs and postings in Saudi Arabia I had generally positive experiences. Unlike many of the posters here, I had, and still have good memories of the place and the people I worked with and taught.
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Old Apr 30th 2018, 2:35 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by nonthaburi View Post
Maybe GCC licenses are okay then.

Are you on a business visa when you visit? If so that makes a difference.
To be honest, I can't remember. I think it is a "commercial visa - 2 years". I do remember there was also a "business visa", which was a bit more restrictive about what one is allowed to do when there. Without digging out my passport, I can't remember which it is.
However, when booking the car, I don't remember the company ever taking copies of my visa - just the passport details and my driving licence. But I might be wrong.
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Old Apr 30th 2018, 5:03 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Originally Posted by scot47 View Post
This makes me feel that I saw Saudi Arabia at a time before modernisation changed it for ever. A time before TV, mobiles and the Internet.

I was there in 1970-1972 when The Ministry of Education still hired Western non-Muslim teachers to work in government intermediate and secondary schools.

I wnt back in 1990 and then again in 1996 and lastly in 2003. In all my jobs and postings in Saudi Arabia I had generally positive experiences. Unlike many of the posters here, I had, and still have good memories of the place and the people I worked with and taught.
I was in Riyadh for 20 months in 1983/5, and do not have good memories. I vowed never to go back, but did so (to Dharan) when I was based in Abu Dhabi, either on day trips or staying over for a couple of nights. It was still as unpleasant.
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Old May 1st 2018, 6:32 pm
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Interested to hear WHY you found it "unpleasant"
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Old May 2nd 2018, 9:13 am
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Default Re: Saudi Tourist Visa

Thanks for that, everyone. I suppose we will give it a month or two, and if still nothing, we will move on and go somewhere else. I still have a valid UAE drivers' licence so if a GCC licence is required that will be fine.

Shokran, masalama, au revoir.
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