The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has launched a unified visa platform, ‘KSA Visa,’ to simplify visa application procedures and attract more tourists.
Abdulhadi Almansouri, the Kingdom’s Assistant Minister for Executive Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, introduced the country’s new visa platform as he addressed the Digital Government Forum (DGF) in Riyadh on 19 December 2023.
Almansouri says the platform is linked to over 30 ministries, authorities, and private-sector entities. Its goal is to automate visa issuance processes, improving efficiency and a better overall experience for visitors.
The KSA visa platform can facilitate procedures for obtaining various types of visas, including the Hajj visa or the visit visa for Umrah or tourism, as well as work visas.
The launch is timely for the expected two million Indian Hajj pilgrims. As India’s Umrah pilgrims are expected to increase, Saudi Arabia aims to make the experience seamless. The country targets hosting 175,025 Indian pilgrims during the 2024 Hajj season.
Saudi Arabia also worked with 56 countries on the visa digitization journey. In line with the Kingdom’s tourism goals, it has issued 18.6 million visas in 2023, achieving 60-second digital approvals.
What is the KSA Visa platform?
The Saudi government aims to attract more tourists by 2030 by launching new destinations and increasing its target to 150 million visits annually.
Previously, visa applications for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were processed through the online platform of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) at visa.mofa.gov.sa.
With the new beta version of the unified visa platform, the KSA Visa platform at Ksavisa.sa allows visitors to apply for their visas seamlessly.
KSA Visa uses a smart search engine for quick access to available visas. It also offers a central guide for understanding visa requirements and application processes. It can direct travelers on what v
The platform also includes an updated personal file for visitors, making first-time visa applications easier and facilitating faster future subsequent applications.
Simpler visa application process
Travelers can check the requirements for their intended visa at the KSA visa platform. By meeting those requirements, one can easily apply for a KSA visa.
First, they need to choose their visit’s purpose and input their nationality. The platform will then prompt applicants on eligible visas to choose from.
For the eVisa option, applicants will be asked to disclose travel details (i.e., expected arrival date in Saudi Arabia), their country of residence, and the nearest embassy.
Travelers must also provide personal information, including full name, mobile number, and address, and specify their gender, marital status, and date of birth. They will then need to upload a passport-sized photo.
Next, travelers need to provide passport details and upload a copy of their passport, as well as the required documents for their chosen visa.
Travelers must then agree to the terms and conditions and review the application details. They should also select medical insurance by answering related questions and choosing a provider in Saudi Arabia.
Lastly, applicants can pay for the Saudi eVisa application by reviewing costs and completing the online payment with a credit or debit card.
KSA visa platform and unified GCC visa
The introduction of the new Saudi platform aligns with the Gulf Cooperation Council’s (GCC) initiative to establish a unified Gulf tourist visa.
The GCC unified visa seeks to facilitate travel among member countries, streamlining immigration for pre-verified, low-risk travelers.
With a single visa, tourists can explore the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait with ease of travel.
The Supreme Council approved the GCC countries’ decision during the November 2023 Doha Summit. It empowered the interior ministers of the GCC to undertake the required measures for implementing these updated visa regulations.
The GCC’s one-visa system will be operational between 2024 and 2025 across all six member countries.
It will play a significant role in achieving the GCC 2030 tourism strategy. The goal is to attract 128.7 million tourists by 2030, an increase of 136.6 percent compared with 2021.
The GCC unified visa will be similar to the Schengen visa in Europe, which allows convenient travel across 23 EU member countries and neighboring nations without internal border controls.
Schengen visa applications are also transitioning to a single digital platform starting in 2026.