- Saudi Arabia announces the removal of visa stickers for several countries, including Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and more.
- The implementation will be carried out in stages, starting from July 24th for Pakistan and concluding on September 4th for Vietnam.
- Visa stickers will be replaced with QR codes, making the process more tech-friendly and efficient.
- The changes will first apply to employment (iqama) and visit visas.
- Previously issued visas will remain valid, and travelers need not worry about any impact.
- Saudi Arabia’s efforts align with its aim to enhance travel and tourism, with the introduction of Riyadh Air serving over 100 destinations by 2030.
- The country is embracing technology to facilitate pilgrims visiting Makkah and Medina for Umrah and Hajj.
- Saudi Arabia welcomed approximately 2.3 million Hajj pilgrims after pandemic restrictions were lifted, demonstrating its commitment to soft power leadership in the region.
QR Code System
Saudi Arabia has announced a significant change in its visa processing system by replacing visa stickers with QR codes. The decision, already implemented for specific countries, will be extended to include Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Kenya, and others.
According to the official timeline, the removal of visa stickers will take place in several phases:
- Pakistan: July 24th
- Yemen: July 26th
- Sudan: August 2nd
- Uganda: August 7th
- Lebanon: August 9th
- Nepal: August 14th
- Turkey: August 16th
- Sri Lanka: August 21st
- Kenya: August 23rd
- Morocco: August 28th
- Thailand: August 30th
- Vietnam: September 4th
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The new QR code system will facilitate a smoother visa issuance process and will initially apply to employment (iqama) and visit visas. Instead of visa stickers, travelers will receive a simple A4 size paper with the QR code containing all relevant visa information.
The move is part of Saudi Arabia’s efforts to revamp its visa system, making it more tech-friendly and efficient while providing enhanced consular services. The aviation authorities have already informed carriers about these changes.
Importantly, visas issued before this regulation change will remain valid, and holders do not need to take any action.
This technological advancement aligns with the kingdom’s vision to revolutionize travel and tourism, exemplified by the recent launch of Riyadh Air, set to serve over 100 destinations worldwide by 2030.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia continues to improve pilgrimage experiences, introducing applications like Nusuk for Umrah permits and leveraging technology to facilitate pilgrims visiting Makkah and Medina.
These changes come as the country marks a milestone in welcoming approximately 2.3 million Hajj pilgrims following the easing of pandemic restrictions. The kingdom’s dedication to soft power leadership in the region is evident in its forward-thinking initiatives to enhance travel and hospitality services.