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Saudi Arabia renews free extension of migrant visas

On July 9, 2020

Saudi Arabia has renewed an automatic extension of expired visit visas and residency permits (iqama) for foreigners both inside and outside of the country, for a period of three months without charge. 

The extension scheme will also include migrants who have been issued a final exit visa or exit/re-entry visa but could not leave or return due to travel restrictions. However, migrants who left Saudi with exit/re-entry visas are only allowed to return once authorities deem the coronavirus crisis to be over.

Saudi Arabia remains the only GCC country to require migrants to obtain an exit visa from their employers to leave the country. 

The Saudi Directorate General of Passports had previously granted automatic extensions of residency permits that expired after 18 March 2020. 

However, those whose visas expired before this date are required to pay fines to be cleared for exit on repatriation flights. Other GCC countries have declared temporary waivers on residency permit fees or general amnesties for irregular workers due to Covid-19 crisis.