Saudi Govt Announces Huge Relief for Iqama and Visa-Holders

The Saudi government has announced a free extension in the validity of iqamas (residency permits) and exit and re-entry visas for 17 countries, including Pakistan, until 31 March 2022.

The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that expatriates from 17 countries facing temporary travel suspension due to the COVID-19 outbreak will benefit from the recent decision.

The countries include Pakistan, India, Indonesia, Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Brazil, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Mozambique, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini.

The development comes days after the Directorate of Passports announced that it has started extending the validity of iqama and exit and re-entry visas of expatriates from the countries on the travel ban list.

It added that the iqamas and visas will be automatically updated with the cooperation of the National Information Center and that the expatriates will not need to visit any passport office in this regard.

The decision also applies to visit visas issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to visitors outside the Kingdom and visitors from countries facing travel bans.

“However, the extension will not be applicable to those expatriates who took one dose of coronavirus vaccine within the Kingdom before their departure on exit and re-entry visa,” it added.