Saudi Arabia is encouraging visitors to tour the country in order to better understand the Kingdom’s society and culture. While everyone who enters the country must have a valid passport and appropriate visa, it is not the policy of the Kingdom to deny the issuance of visas on the basis of religion.
Yesterday, Rep. Anthony Weiner, a consistent critic of Saudi Arabia, issued a statement in which he incorrectly said that it is the policy of Saudi Arabia not to issue visas to people of the Jewish faith. He based this information on material posted on the website of the Saudi tourism board. Rep. Weiner’s office was informed by Embassy officials that this does not reflect the visa policies of Saudi Arabia and the visa requirements are available through the Saudi consulates and are posted on the Embassy website. Further, the Supreme Commission for Tourism was informed that the information on the website was not correct and as a consequence the erroneous material was removed from the website.
According to Ambassador Prince Bandar bin Sultan: “I am surprised that Rep. Weiner would issue a statement after his office was advised by officials of the Embassy that the concerns he raised were not the kingdom's policy. At this time, we should be working toward greater understanding and better relations between the United States and the Middle East. Rep. Weiner and his actions only serve to spread doubt and mistrust.”