"We have developed a new system for the issuance of business visas. Businessmen anywhere in the world can now apply for visas to visit the Kingdom, without any restrictions," he said. Tayeb said that Saudi missions abroad have been instructed to issue business visas within 24 hours. "Applicants do not need a Saudi sponsor to get visas. They only need a letter from the federation of chambers in their respective countries," he said.
Company representatives carrying an invitation from a Saudi chamber but with no business relations with a Saudi firm are also entitled to receive entry visas.
"Saudi embassies can directly issue business visas as they need not wait for any approval from the Kingdom," he said. Although the ministry introduced the new system about a year ago, many people are not aware of the facility. People can apply for different visas through the ministry's Web site: www.mofa.gov.sa
Tayeb said that the new visa system was introduced to encourage foreign investors to come to the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia is seeking foreign investment worth SR2.3 trillion in vital sectors such as gas, petrochemicals, power generation, desalination, tourism, railways and telecommunications.
"The new system augurs well with the government's plan to establish mega economic cities in different parts of the Kingdom," Tayeb said. The new economic cities in Rabigh, Hail, The Holy City of Madinah and Jizan are expected to draw nearly SR300 billion in investments in high-tech, petrochemical, educational, infrastructure, real estate and tourism projects.
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