Saudi Arabia extends visa validity for stranded expats free of charge

Extension will not be applicable to expats who were fully vaccinated inside the kingdom before departure


News Desk November 28, 2021
General view in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, June 21 2020. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

Saudi Arabia has announced that the validity of residence permits (Iqama) for expatriates, who are stranded outside the country due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, would be extended free of charge.

The kingdom’s General Directorate of Passports has extended the validity of residence permit and exit and re-entry visas for expats without any charges until Jan 31, 2022, Saudi Gazette reported on Sunday.

Expatriates who are from countries facing travel ban will be the beneficiaries of this initiative taken on the directives of King Salman, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The extension will not be applicable to expats who were fully vaccinated inside the kingdom before their departure on exit and re-entry visa.

Also read: Saudi Arabia allows direct entry from Pakistan, other countries

Riyadh also extended the validity of visit visa issued by the country’s foreign affairs ministry for visitors who are outside the kingdom and who belong to countries facing travel ban as a result of the outbreak of coronavirus.

“The period of extension will be until Jan 31.”

This extension is in line with the kingdom’s efforts to deal with the impacts of Covid-19 pandemic. “It also falls within precautionary measures and preventive protocols that ensure the safety of citizens and expatriates and contribute to mitigating financial and economic impacts of the pandemic,” the statement added.

On Saturday, the kingdom announced that it will allow entry to travellers "from all countries" as long as they have received one dose of Covid-19 vaccine inside the kingdom, a day after suspending flights from seven African countries due to the Omicron variant.

The ministry said the travellers would be allowed in from next Saturday and would need to quarantine for three days.

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