A spokesperson for the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH) stated that women aged 25 and over can be granted a tourist visa to go to Saudi Arabia alone. The move gives freedom to women to visit Saudi Arabia without the need of a family member or companion as it was before. But women under 25 do need to be accompanied by a family member to travel to Saudi Arabia.
Omar Al-Mubarak, Director General of the commission’s licensing department said, “The tourist visa will be a single-entry visa valid for a maximum of 30 days. This visa is added to those currently available in the Kingdom. It is independent of work, visit, Hajj and Umrah visas.”
By 2018, women above 25 will be able to travel to Saudi Arabia alone
According to the reports, the regulations for the tourist visas have been finalized and their issuance will be announced during the first quarter of 2018. “The executive regulations for tourist visas have been finalized. The commission’s IT department is currently building an electronic system for the issuance of tourist visas, coordinating with representatives of the National Information Centre and the Foreign Ministry,” Al-Mubarak was quoted in Arab News.
Why were the women travelling to Saudi Arabia not allowed to visit alone?
Among Muslims, a woman willing to travel needs to be accompanied by her husband or a mehram man for her safety. The same is followed in many religions of the world. And so the Saudi Government followed the practice and also implemented it on the tourists.
A mehram is one whom you cannot marry and so do not need to veil the face in front of him. A mehram for a woman can be his son, father and brother.
The move to allow women to travel to Arab alone can help those women who do not have a companion or cannot afford one on their journey. It will also be beneficial for the Saudi government as it will surely increase the revenue generation for the country.