Saudi Arabia has introduced a new e-visa system for Indian travellers arriving from India. This new system replaces the traditional visa sticker on passports and instead requires a QR code to be scanned to access visa details. Visa information is also being sent to registered email IDs, and travellers can print the details on an A-4 size paper as a hard copy. The new e-visa system is part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 to enable digital governance and has been implemented in India and seven other countries.
The e-visa system will reduce processing time, increase transparency, and eliminate the existing travel agent system that endorses Saudi visas in New Delhi and Mumbai. However, all applicants for a Saudi visa must visit VFS Global visa processing centres, as these are the only centres processing visa applications. VFS Global is the official partner of the Embassy of India in Saudi Arabia.
According to NRI activist and AP NRT coordinator Muzzamil Shaikh, there is an influx of visitors from Telangana into Saudi Arabia, who were previously able to get their visas processed by travel agencies from home. However, physical visits to the VFS Global Centre in Punjagutta are now mandatory. The new e-visa system is expected to make the visa application process more efficient and transparent for Indian travellers to Saudi Arabia.