Visa allows Saudis to invite friends from abroad for Umrah, tourism
Saudi citizens can now invite friends from around the world to visit Saudi Arabia and perform the Umrah pilgrimage on a "personal visit visa", the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah announced on Tuesday.
The visas, available for single entry or multiple entry, can be obtained online, the ministry said on Twitter.
As well as allowing visitors to carry out the minor pilgrimage in Makkah and visit the holy city of Medina, the personal visit visas also allow for "tourist trips to all regions and cities of Saudi Arabia."
Single entry visas are valid for 90 days, while multiple entry visas last for one year, allowing for visits of up to 90 days at a time.
Saudi Arabia is preparing to welcome millions of Umrah pilgrims throughout the year following the conclusion of the major Hajj pilgrimage at the end of June.
Umrah is consider the lesser, voluntary pilgrimage, which can be carried out in any of the 12 months of the Islamic calendar.
Last year, Saudi authorities announced that visitors on a tourist or business visa would be allowed to perform Umrah.
Prior to the new changes, pilgrims were required to obtain an Umrah-specific visa.