What female travelers need to know

Travel to Saudi Arabia: what female travelers need to know

Shaytha Khan

USA TODAY Special

  • Saudi Arabia extends electronic visas for visitors from 49 countries, including the United States
  • Although the wearing of the abaya or headscarf is no longer compulsory, modest clothing covering the knees and shoulders is recommended.
  • The kingdom has just opened up to tourists and for the inhabitants of small towns and villages, it is still somewhat of a novelty.

As a woman and second-generation expat who has lived in Saudi Arabia for almost three decades, a question I am often asked is, “Is Saudi Arabia safe for women?”

Or: “Do you have to cover your face?”

Until 2019, the kingdom only issued business or visitor visas for religious pilgrimage to the holy sites of Mecca and Medina. As part of a plan to diversify its economy through tourism and entertainment (like its neighbor Dubai), the country has announced an electronic visa for visitors from 49 countries – including the United States.

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