Saudi Arabia announces free residency, visit visa extension

Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) on Friday announced to extend the validity of Iqamas (residency permits) and visas automatically free of cost for expats till November 30, 2021, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

The Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) has announced the free extension of the validity period of iqamas, exit and re-entry visas, as well as visit visas of expatriates, which is approved by the finance minister at the directives of custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman.

The move is part of the continuous efforts being taken by the government to ensure the safety of citizens and residents and to mitigate its economic and financial impacts on them.

The extension has been taken for residents outside the Kingdom in countries from which arrivals are suspended including India, as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19 virus.

According to the Saudi Press Agency, Jawazat has confirmed that the extension would be done automatically in cooperation with the National Information Centre, without the need to review the headquarters of the passport departments, as follows:

First: Extending the validity of residency and exit and return visas for residents outside the Kingdom in the countries from which entry has been suspended due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus until November 30, 2021.

Second: Extending the validity of visitor visas for visitors outside the Kingdom from countries whose entry has been suspended as a result of the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus until November 30, 2021.

The countries facing travel ban are India, Pakistan, Indonesia, Egypt, Turkey, Brazil, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Lebanon.

On August 24, Saudi Arabia allowed direct entry of fully vaccinated expatriates from countries facing travel ban.

This decision is applicable only to those foreigners who have a valid residency permit and left the Kingdom on exit and reentry visa after taking two doses of vaccine against COVID-19 from Saudi Arabia.