Saudi Arabia said on Thursday that Indian people wishing to travel to the country won’t need to produce a police clearance certificate (PCC). Indian nationals number around two million in Saudi Arabia.
The former visa requirement has been eliminated, according to a statement from the Saudi embassy highlighting the “strong relations and strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of India.”
The announcement read, “The PCC will no longer be a requirement for Indian citizens to obtain a visa for travel to Saudi Arabia.” This decision was taken as a part of the efforts made by the two nations to further solidify their ties.
The Saudi embassy in India tweeted, “In view of the strong relations and strategic partnership between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of India, the Kingdom has decided to exempt the Indian nationals from submitting a Police Clearance Certificate (PCC)”.
In a statement, the embassy stated that it “appreciates the contribution of over two million Indian citizens living peacefully in the kingdom.”
Indian nationals who wish to go abroad for work, permanent residency, or a long-term visa must apply for a police clearance certificate if one is required for the particular visa of the foreign country to which they wish to travel. The information in the certificate aids in describing the citizen’s prior criminal record.
With the agreement of both nations, the PCC was declared necessary for a work visa in 2010 to ensure that no one with a criminal record travelled to Saudi Arabia, which also gives a similar certificate of its own to individuals returning after a stay in the nation.
The length of residence in the country—in this example, Saudi Arabia—is a mandatory requirement for PCC applicants. Indians make up the biggest group of foreign residents in Saudi Arabia, and the bulk of them moved there in pursuit of jobs. Over three million people were part of the Indian community in 2017, according to the Indian embassy in Riyadh.
To get their Saudi visa up till today, Indians had to provide a full background check. The number of documents that travellers must currently process has decreased. Processing of visa applications will be sped up and simplified under the new regulation.
Over the past several years, ties between India and Saudi Arabia have improved significantly in a variety of areas, including politics, security, energy, trade, investment, health, food security, culture, and defence. Even during the Covid-19 outbreak, the senior leaders of the two nations maintained close communication.
External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar visited Saudi Arabia earlier in September, during which time he reviewed all facets of bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia and talked about local and global concerns.
Several areas for further developing bilateral collaboration, including food security, healthcare, pharmaceuticals, the defence sector, and entertainment, were highlighted during Jaishankar’s visit.
This month, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman were scheduled to visit India to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But the visit was postponed because of scheduling concerns, as the Prime Minister was travelling to Bali, Indonesia, for the G20 conference.