US Eases Saudi Visa Restrictions
M. Ghazanfar Ali Khan, Arab News
comments come in the wake of the Saudi-US Summit and before a high-profile,
63-member Saudi business mission leaves for the
visit by Crown Prince Abdullah to the
He also gave details
of the Saudi commercial delegation scheduled to visit the
Oberwetter said once the new
system was in place, it will ensure long-term stays for Saudi businessmen or
tourists in the
However, American diplomats in Bahrain told a press conference recently that a new computer database would streamline the visa process around the globe with the number of applicants in a given country determining the time of the wait, which in some cases could take as little as a day.
Saudi applicants currently wait weeks or months for approval after interview. At present, all nonimmigrant visa applicants regardless of their status are required to submit their applications in person at the US Embassy or consulate.
Saudi-American contacts suffered because of the stringent visa measures announced after Sept. 11 attacks. Thousands of Saudi students - including 3,500 on government scholarships - were enrolled at American universities before Sept. 11, but many of them returned to the Kingdom after they were caught in the backlash of the attack.