Saudi travel agencies can now issue tourist visas

Travel to the kingdom was previously restricted to pilgrims, businessmen and family members of residents



Saudi Arabia’s Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) has reportedly issued the first licence allowing travel agencies to issue tourist visas.

The move follows the restructuring of the travel and tourism sector to categorise agencies based on the services they can offer.

Those under category D can issue visas for tourism, educational and medical purposes inside and outside the kingdom.

The first licence to issue these visas was granted by the SCTH in Jeddah, according to online publication Sabq.

In October, Arabic publication Al-Watan reported that the kingdom would begin issuing tourist visas as part of a gradual rollout plan.

The first stage of the initiative will only see visas granted to tour groups through authorised operators.

Read: Saudi to begin issuing tourist visas

The kingdom previously suspended a similar scheme in March 2014 to allow time for infrastructure to improve.

Read: Saudi Arabia Mulls Lifting Visa Restrictions

Travel to the kingdom was previously restricted, with visas only granted to pilgrims, business people with a local sponsor and family members of residents.

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