2018 has started bringing in some really exciting news for travelers and it’s Saudi Arabia making the headlines this time around. Saudi Arabia will now start accepting tourist visa from females above 25 years traveling alone. The Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), made a statement declaring that women over 25 years of age will be granted a tourist visa hasslefree if they are planning to travel to the country alone. This a welcome news that underlines the fact that while traveling to Arabia women won’t necessarily need a family member with them, as it used to be till now. While the women under 25 must have the company of a male family member/guardian while traveling to Saudi Arabia.
The Director-General of the commission’s licensing department Omar Al-Mubarak, said, “The tourist visa will be a single-entry visa valid for a maximum of 30 days. This visa is added to those currently available in the Kingdom. It is independent of work, visit, Hajj and Umrah visas.”
As the news surfaced it was also made public that certain regulations have been finalized for the tourist visas and issuance would start taking place right from the first quarter of 2018.
“The executive regulations for tourist visas have been finalized. The commission’s IT department is currently building an electronic system for the issuance of tourist visas, coordinating with representatives of the National Information Centre and the Foreign Ministry,” Al-Mubarak made a statement in the Arab News.
What were the prevailing rules?
So far, the Saudi Government had a prevailing rule for the females that if they are willing to travel they must have the company of their husband or a male member(mehram) of the family. This rule is even applicable to tourists as well. Mehram could be a brother, son, or father, someone whom a woman can’t marry and don’t need to keep her face veiled from.
This happens to be a remarkable news for the traveler community especially females. Even today Saudi Arabia is one of the few countries in the world that retains strange rules for female travelers, like seeking permission from their male guardians related to their dress while traveling. But they are gradually becoming more flexing with the laws. At the same time, Saudi Arabia is going to generate more revenue for the country through tourism.