Saudi Arabia extends visas for expats stuck abroad

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has started automatic extension of visas and residency permits of expatriates stranded abroad due to travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19, local media reported.

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In compliance with Saudi King Salman Abdulaziz’s orders, the Saudi General Directorate of Passports has embarked on extending the iqamats of expatriates still staying abroad and validity of exit/return visas as well as the visit visas for free until July 31, authorities said.

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The extension is part of the Saudi government’s efforts to tackle repercussions of COVID-19 and alleviate economic and financial fallout from the pandemic, they added.

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The General Directorate of Passports explained that extension is limited to 20 countries from which arrivals were suspended earlier this year due to an outbreak of the coronavirus there.

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In February, Saudi Arabia temporarily halted flights with 20 countries, exempting Saudis, diplomats and health workers from the ban.

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The ban also included arrivals from other countries who transited any of the 20 countries during the 14 days prior to applying to enter Saudi Arabia.

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Starting from May 30, travellers coming from 11 nations including the UAE, were allowed to enter the kingdom.

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