According to media reports, Saudi Arabia has made a six-fold increase in visa fee, a decision that will affect the expenses of those intending to take the annual Hajj pilgrimage. A report said that single entry visa will now cost $533, a sharp increase from the earlier $93, a multiple entry visa, 6-month visa would be $800 and a one-year visa would cost $1,333.
Quartz Africa reported that the revised visa fees will be applicable to all tourists, religious or business visitors, however, exemptions will be made for those travelling to perform the annual Haj pilgrimage for the first time or for the lesser, non-mandatory pilgrimage known as the Umrah.
The revision was made on recommendations from the Saudi Ministries of Finance and Economy and came into effect on 2 October, which coincided with the beginning of the new Islamic year, the report said.
The changes are being seen as the kingdom's attempt to look at other sources of income and reduce dependence on oil revenue. Saudi Arabia is the second-largest producer of oil in the world and is the biggest exporter. Falling oil prices have affected its revenue, causing the government to cut the wages and allowances of civil servants for the first time in September.