Saudi Arabia visa fees to have no negative effect on foreign investment.

The new Saudi Arabia visa fees will not deter investment in the country which has announced measures to ease procedures for foreign business, the Commerce Minister said on Thursday, countering concerns by foreign critics.

Majed al-Qasabi stated that “the charges for entry visas will not affect the flow of foreign investments to the Kingdom, which seeks to attract quality investment,” in a statement issued by his spokesman.

The statement also made the point that now investors and business people can apply for multiple-entry visas for up to two years, allowing them “to repeatedly enter the Kingdom as required by their interests”. The previous maximum validity was one year.

Diplomats and other sources had earlier told media outlets that the new Saudi Arabia visa fees, that came into effect last month, risked deterring the foreign investment needed to transform Saudi Arabia’s oil-dependent economy. Diplomats said the higher fees would be a particular disincentive for small and medium-sized organizations.

The changes do not apply to the European Union or the United States, while fees for British nationals have only slightly increased.

Qasabi, the Minister of Commerce and Investment, leads an executive committee to improve the Kingdom’s business environment. He stated that plans by authorities to automate the granting of visas to foreign investors are in “their final stages and that this would cut the time needed to issue the entry permits”.


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