Two contradictory scenes at home and abroad: Saudi Arabia and the neighboring countries are accelerating the pace to bring about a qualitative leap in attracting visitors from all over the world by facilitating procedures for obtaining entry visas to their territories, reports Al- Qabas daily. Kuwait remains in its place and it even goes backwards sometimes, especially in light of recent measures to stop the issuance of all kinds of tourist and commercial visas, even visas to join a family; in addition to the failure to develop the mechanism for this type of visa for many years.

While obtaining a tourist visa to Kuwait entails long and complicated procedures, and obtaining it electronically is limited to specific nationalities; the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a ‘digital embassy’ specialized in approving a visa application submitted electronically without the need to appear personally and the visa is valid for one year for multiple entries, unlike Kuwait which limits the visa validity period to three months.

Also, expatriates in Kuwait are currently unable to obtain visas for their children who were born outside the country to return with their mothers; while the new procedures in Saudi Arabia allow obtaining a visa within minutes — whether for tourism or Umrah purposes. The same applies to tourist visas, which are very few in Kuwait for a variety of reasons, including the absence of effort to attract tourists within a comprehensive plan of action.

The picture is completely different in Saudi Arabia, where it is now possible to visit the Kingdom for tourism and to perform Umrah at the same time. The new procedures in Saudi Arabia are on the electronic submission of the visa application through the official visa platform and approved on the website of Saudi‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (the ‘digital embassy’).

In the United Arab Emirates, steps have been taken as well to facilitate visa and residency procedures. These measures have been in place for a long time and are continuing. The Emirati authorities finally allowed foreigners of all nationalities to apply for a multiple-entry tourist visa valid for five years from the date of issuance without the need for a guarantor or host within the country; provided they stay in the country for a period not exceeding 90 days in one year.

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