Riyadh Skyline
A view of Riyadh skyline. Image Credit: Bloomberg

Dubai: The Saudi General Directorate of Passports announced it has started the automatic extension of the validity of residence permits (Iqama) for stranded expatriates outside the Kingdom in addition to extending the validity of visit visas and exit and re-entry visas without fees or charges for all expats until 30/11/2021, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA)reported.

The move comes in implementation of the directives of King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

The decision, which was approved by the Minister of Finance, comes in line with ongoing efforts being made by the Kingdom’s government to deal with the effects and repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic.

It also falls within precautionary measures that guarantee the safety of citizens and residents and contribute to mitigating financial and economic impacts.

The Directorate indicated that the extension will be carried out electronically in cooperation with the National Information Centre without the need to visit the departments of passports. The extension process is as follows:

First: Extending the validity of residence permits as well as exit and re-entry visas for residents who are in countries from which entry is suspended as a result of Coronavirus until 30/11/2021.

Second: Extending the validity of visit visas for visitors who are in the countries from which entry is suspended as a result of the Coronavirus until 30/11/2021.

Countries facing the travel ban

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

Last month, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior has issued directives to allow direct entry of fully vaccinated expatriates from countries facing travel ban.

The decision was applied only to those foreigners who have a valid residency permit (iqama) and left the Kingdom on exit and re-entry visa after taking two doses of vaccine against coronavirus from Saudi Arabia.