Saudi Arabia extends visas of expats stuck abroad

Cairo: Saudi authorities have embarked on automatically extending validity of residency permits and visas of expatriates who are stuck abroad due to travel restrictions until the end of August, Saudi media reported.

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The free-of-charge extension also covers visit and exit/return visas in implementation of earlier directives made by Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz.

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The move is part of the kingdom’s efforts to mitigate economic and social repercussions of COVID-19.

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The General Directorate of Passports said that the extension is carried out automatically in cooperation with the National Information Centre, an affiliate of the Interior Ministry, without the need for expatriates to check with its offices.

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Authorities explained that the extension includes validity of residency permits and exit/return visas of expatriates staying abroad in countries with which flights have been suspended due to an outbreak of COVID-19. The same rule applies to holders of visit visas staying in countries from which entry of the kingdom is banned due to COVID-19.

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Starting from July 4, Saudi Arabia suspended flights with the UAE, Vietnam, and Ethiopia, citing concerns about COVID-19 and its variants.

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In February, the kingdom banned flights with 20 countries, citing COVID-19 concerns.

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