The government of Saudi Arabia is all ready to issue its first ever tourism visa. While the Kingdom is busy completing the last formalities, it also announced that women over 25 years of age can travel alone to the country, without a male or family. For some, it might still sound very 1800s, but for a country that has always suppressed women rights because of their Islamic faith, it means a lot to them. Sisters in Islam is the program that allows women over 25 to travel alone to the country. A representative of the program said that they are happy for Saudi Arabia Commission for Tourism and National Heritage taking a step towards women liberation. This rule only applies to the non-religious visa. Women of all age still need to be accompanied by a male chaperone to visit for Umrah and Hajj. It is the first instance where the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has allowed women for entering the country. The kingdom has faced a lot of backlash in the past. It didn’t allow women to drive until recently. Omar Al-Mubarak, director general, commission’s licensing department, said that the visa will be a 30-day single entry visa. It is only a travel visa and can be used for business and visit Hajj and Umrah. They plan to issue the first visa in the first quarter of 2018. The country’s IT department is developing an electronic system for issuing the travel visas. The e-visa will be handled by the Foreign Ministry and National Information Center.

Travel visa trial in 2008

It is not the very first time Saudi Arabia has issued travel visas. Back in 2008, the kingdom conducted a test, checking if people would want to visit the country. They were successful, and over 32,000 people visited the nation between the years 2008 to 2010.

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