Saudi Arabia to extend residency, visit visa for expats free of cost

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has instructed authorities in the country to automatically extend the validity of all iqamas (residency permits) as well as exit-re-entry and visit visas of expatriates from where entry to the kingdom is banned.

As per the statement, the General Directorate of Passports will extend the validity of these visas until June 2, 2021, and it will be done at no charge to the visa holders. Saudi Arabia’s immigration authority also confirmed that the extension will take place, in collaboration with the National Information Center.

From May 17th Saudi Arabia resumed international travel, although entry is banned from 13 countries including Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Turkey, Armenia, Somalia, Democratic Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Belarus, and India.

Travelers from the banned countries are not allowed to enter the kingdom even if they visit one of these nations indirectly through a third country, without prior permission from Saudi authorities.

Saudi’s General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) issued detailed guidelines for institutional quarantine procedures for those who are non-Saudi citizens, not immunized and who are entering from red-listed countries.

All non-Saudi travelers, excluding residents and GCC citizens, must have medical insurance that covers the costs of COVID-19 treatment in outpatient clinics, emergencies and hospitals, including the institutional quarantine for a period of 14 days.

The guide includes details regarding the insurance policy and reiterates the protocols that should be followed at the airports upon arrival, and the use of the Tawakkalna app, the official Saudi Contact Tracing app approved by the Saudi Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The kingdom has previously announced that non-citizens who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine and arrive in Saudi Arabia are subject to seven days of mandatory paid institutional quarantine. The cost of the quarantine is included in the ticket prices, with airlines responsible for arranging the accommodation.

Related: COVID vaccinated foreign visitors to Saudi Arabia doesn’t have to quarantine