Saudi Arabia has launched a new system called KSA Visa to make it easier for people to apply for visas. This system connects over 30 government and private organizations to simplify the visa application process for activities like Hajj, Umrah, tourism, business trips, and employment. The move comes after the Saudi Minister of Hajj and Umrah visited India. It’s expected to be helpful for Indian Hajj pilgrims, with around 2 million expected to visit Saudi Arabia this year.
KSA Visa uses the latest technology, including artificial intelligence (AI), to help people find the right visas. The system, launched at a digital government forum in Riyadh, aims to provide clear guidance on visa requirements and application steps.
This initiative is part of Saudi Arabia’s goal to increase tourism, targeting 150 million annual visits by 2030. In 2023 alone, the country issued over 18.6 million visas, and digital visas are now issued in just 60 seconds.
Saudi Arabia is also working on a system to give more flexibility to Indian pilgrims, especially women traveling alone for Umrah. The changes include extending Umrah visas to 90 days and introducing a four-day transit visa to accommodate more Indian pilgrims.
The Saudi minister mentioned that these changes, promoting gender equality and safety, aim to enhance the pilgrimage experience for all travelers. He anticipates an increase in Indian Umrah pilgrims due to these impactful initiatives.
These efforts aim to create a welcoming environment for individuals on a spiritual journey to the Two Holy Mosques and exploring the rich historical and cultural heritage of Islamic sites and tourist attractions in the Kingdom. The minister also shared that Saudi Arabia plans to accommodate 175,025 Indian pilgrims for the Hajj season in 2024.