Riyadh: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on Sunday extended the validity of Iqamas (residency permits) and visas automatically free of cost for ex-pats till January 31, 2022, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The validity which was earlier extended till November 30 has now been extended until January 31, 2022.
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 King Salman, the custodian of two Holy Mosques.
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, 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 January 31, 2022.
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 January 31, 2022.
Indian pilgrims permitted direct entry
The Saudi government also issued the new directives on November 25 to allow Indian travellers to directly enter Saudi Arabia from December 1. The travellers are no longer required to spend 14-day quarantine in a third country.
The new directives will also be applicable to travellers from Indonesia, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, and Pakistan.
Saudi Arabia allows direct entry of foreigners who took one vaccine shot
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) will allow direct entry from all countries for all people who have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine from within the Kingdom, starting from 1 am on Saturday, December 4, 2021.
The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported quoting an official source of the Ministry of Interior that all travellers who administered one dose of any of the approved vaccines against COVID-19 from inside the Kingdom are not required to spend 14 days in quarantine in a third country before their arrival in the Kingdom.
Earlier on August 24, 2021, the Ministry of Interior had issued directives to allow direct entry of fully vaccinated expatriates from countries facing travel bans. Saudi Arabia had temporarily suspended all international flights from March 15, 2020, following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.