By All Arab News Staff | August 28, 2022
Saudi Arabia is hoping to cash in on the expected influx of international tourists to the Gulf for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar this fall, announcing on Wednesday that it will grant visas to tournament ticket-holders.
The Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement that World Cup spectators who are registered for Qatar’s mandatory “Hayya” fan ID card will be able to apply for multiple-entry electronic visas.
“Holders of the visa will be able to enter and exit the Kingdom several times during the validity of their visa,” the ministry announced on social media.
Approved visas will be in effect as early as 10 days before the start of the tournament and will be valid for up to 60 days. The World Cup is set to take place between Nov. 21 and Dec. 18.
The foreign ministry added that pre-entry to Qatar is not required for the visitor visa to Saudi Arabia, though travelers must have medical insurance coverage.
While Israeli soccer fans will be permitted to travel to Qatar for the World Cup, the Saudi visa announcement did not offer any specifics regarding Israeli soccer fans. Both Gulf nations do not have formal diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.
Under a new deal struck recently with the world soccer organization FIFA, Israelis can buy tickets to games and then apply online for the “Hayya” Fan ID, which will allow them to enter Qatar and book accommodations there for the extent of the tournament.
Local reports have suggested that senior Israeli defense officials are working with Qatari authorities to initiate direct flights during the World Cup between Tel Aviv and Doha – Qatar’s capital.
Saudi Arabia is not Qatar’s only neighboring nation hoping to make gains from the event. Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman are expected to offer alternative accommodation packages with more than 160 daily shuttle flights that would bring World Cup fans to matches on day trips.