Saudi Arabia extends residency permits, visas for expats stranded abroad

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Saudi Arabia
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Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports has started to automatically extend the validity of residence permits (Iqama) for expatriates, who are outside the Kingdom and unable to return to the country due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions, without charge.

In addition, the General Directorate of Passports is also extending the validity of visit visas and exit and re-entry visas without fees or charges for all expatriates until August 31, 2021.

The new extension comes in the implementation of the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. This extension, which was issued by the Minister of Finance, comes among the continuing efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s government to deal with the impacts and repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

It is also part of the precautionary and preventive measures that guarantee the safety of citizens and residents and contribute to mitigating financial and economic impacts.

The Directorate indicated that the extension will be carried out electronically in cooperation with the National Information Centre without the need to visit the departments of passports.

The extension process has two steps, first is extending the validity of residence permits as well as exit and re-entry visas for residents who are in the countries from which entry is suspended as a result of the pandemic until August 31. Second, extending the validity of visit visas for visitors who are in the countries from which entry is suspended as a result of the Coronavirus until 31 August.

Recently, Saudi Arabia lifted a ban on travelers arriving from 11 countries that it imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, still requiring quarantine procedures. Now, travelers from the UAE, Germany, the US, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Sweden, Switzerland, France, and Japan, are allowed to enter the Kingdom.

Related: Saudi premium residency visa holders can avail tasattur status modification concessions until Aug 23


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