With the recent political clashes between Canada and Saudi Arabia back in November 2018 over humans rights, with Saudi Arabia striking back by shutting down relations between the two countries, coming to the Kingdom was pretty much out of range for most Canadians. There has been no official warm up in the relations, but suddenly the government of Saudi Arabia quietly added Canada to its list of countries who can visit the country under its new “Sharek Tourist Visa”! This is great news for Canadian travelers and even for the relations between the two countries! At the time of writting, this has not yet been reported by news outlet or officially by neither govemenents. Actually I don’t even think the officials actually know about this prior to this article… and I pretty much found it by luck! So a new country is now available for Canadians to travel! and I’d recommend you take advantage of this Visa before the situation changes, yet again… So here I am, reporting this from Jeddah in Saudi Arabia where I easily and painlessly entered the Kingdom with probably the first e-visa issued to a Canadian Tourist.
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I’ve been waiting for years to visit Saudi Arabia as it is one of the out of reach countries for international visitors. On my way to visit all the countries of the world and having only 3 countries left to achieve my goal (Saudi Arabia being my 193rd of the world’s 196 countries), I’ve been tracking weekly the development of the Sharek visa events, which are events taking place in the country and where the government issues online e-visas for a pocket of countries to come and attend the events, while having 30 days to travel freely within its borders. Absolutely no tourists were welcomed to the Kingdom prior to December 2018, where only people of Muslim religion were issued Umra Religion Visas to Visit the holy site of Mecca and Medina, and business visas which were extremely hard to get. Two years ago I attempted to come by investigating how to get the visa with Visa facilitating companies in Canada but with no Sucess… this would have meant making a new company, paying thousands of dollars in fees, and inventing a whole story of business intention in the Kingdom… I quickly gave up this option…
How I discovered the Visa Change for Canadians
Since I was actively waiting for new Sharek events on their website, which are posted every month or so, I set up an Automatic Pining Robot system which every minute would ping the website for visual changes, to track and notify me when new events were posted. Whenever a new event was added, I would check if registrations were open for Canadians. To my great surprise, we finally were added in June 2019 for the Jeddah Season event, taking place for about a month between June and July 2019.
So with this automatic system, by the time I first read about this event to passing customs in Jeddah 3 days later, this was a really quick decision! Pulling the trigger so quickly, I am probably the first Canadian tourist to visit Saudi Arabia with a tourist visa, ever… So if you read this article before the 18th of July 2019, you are still eligible to apply for your Sharek Visa and visit Saudi Arabia Painlessly!
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