There’s nothing like beating the tourist rush…

You can read and read, but there’s nothing better than experiencing a destination for yourself, firsthand. No need to take anyone’s word for it, you can take in all the sights, cultural fascination and sort fact from fiction with your own two eyes. Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly one of the most polarizing destinations in 2018, and as the country teases the prospect of seamless tourist visas, an interesting opportunity has emerged to secure a visa online…

Formula E

Currently there’s no way to attain an e-visa for Saudi Arabia, with one exception. Saudi Arabia is hosting a Formula-E event in December, and the website for the event makes it explicitly clear that anyone purchasing a ticket is eligible for an e-visa, with the entire process done online. While this may sound slightly dubious, blogger Bart Lapers shared his firsthand experience, citing that the entire online process took a mere 15 semi stress free minutes! Here’s how it goes…

saudi arabiaFor Now

For now, your opportunities to visit Saudi Arabia with ease are super limited, but this is a positive look into a potential future visa process. To take part in this great offer, you need to purchase a ticket to the Formula E event on December 15th, and your visa is only valid for a couple weeks. At this time, those are the only available dates, so think of it like a grand pre opening party.

Cheapest Ticket

The cheapest tickets for the Formula E event seem to start at 395SAR, which is about $105USD. You have the option to select “I need a visa” during the ticket purchase process. Google Chrome and the Google Translate function are your friend here, while browsing the Formula E website

After following the logical step of selecting “Yes, I need a visa”, you’ll be taken to the event ticketing page. From there you can select the package you’re after and start putting the details in place. This is a great time to grab your passport and get ready to fill out some details…The visa costs 1035SAR which comes out to around $276USD. While it’s far from cheap, it’s also far from the most expensive tourist visas in the world. Your e tourist visa will last two weeks from December 15th, which may not be ideal, but at the moment – it’s the only game in town. If you, like many travelers are always keen to explore a place before it hits mainstream, this is your best bet.

December 15th in Saudi Arabia, anyone?

Featured image courtesy of Berga & Gonzalez Architects.