Saudi Arabia extends validity of exit, entry visas for expats

The Kingdom will also extend the validity of expired residency visas, that end during the travel ban, for expats outside the state for a period of three months without charge. (File/AFP)
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Updated 06 July 2020

Saudi Arabia extends validity of exit, entry visas for expats

  • Humanitarian policies to mitigate effects of COVID-19 pandemic
  • The source said these exceptions are subject to change

MAKKAH: The Saudi Ministry of Interior (MoI) has announced King Salman’s approval to extend several visa and residence initiatives for expatriates free of charge.

An official source in the MOI said that this was one of the efforts by the Saudi government to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on people, private sector establishments, investors and economic activities in the Kingdom, while taking preventive measures to avoid its spread.
It also allows for the extension of the validity of expired residencies for expatriates who are currently outside Saudi Arabia on exit and return visas, which ended during the period of suspension of entry and exit from the Kingdom, for a period of three months free of charge.
The approval also includes visas that have not been used, and the extension of visas of expats currently outside the Kingdom, as well as tourist visas.
The source said that according to the content of the royal decree, these exceptions are subject to follow-up and change as required.
Samir Akasha said that he was unable to return after visiting his relatives in Faiyum, Egypt due to the suspension of entry and exit from the Kingdom.
He said this decision had a great humanitarian dimension, and its timing was in the best of circumstances.
Khalid Al-Hamdan, chairman of the trade committee of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that Saudi Arabia was seeking the best interests of its citizens and residents. The initiatives for the renewal of residencies constituted support for the private sector, which would provide positive signs for the economy, he said.
The world economy had been affected by the pandemic and boosting the confidence of citizens and residents in the Saudi economy paved the way to pass this difficult stage, he said.
“Citizens and residents will see the benefits of this decision, and employers will be able to better rearrange their priorities and reshape their accounts with a balanced vision that stimulates rapid progression,” Al-Hamdan said.
CEO of Development Solutions for Real Estate Development Mohamed Iqbal Alawi said that the extension of the renewal of residencies was one of several initiatives to revive the Saudi economy over the past six months.

Saudi Arabia is seeking the best interests of its citizens and residents.

Khalid Al-Hamdan, Chairman of the trade committee of Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Alawi said that these initiatives summarize the ways to reinforce the pillars of the economy, which was affected globally. He said that these measures, effective initiatives and the huge funds that had been pumped into the economy by the Saudi government had played a prominent role in reducing the impact on commercial establishments.
He said that this initiative would motivate workers in the private sector who have suffered from the pandemic and its effects.
Alawi said that the economic reports in the market were encouraging and indicated recovery during the next three months, and that these plans and strategies were a lifeline for the economy in general.
Mahmoud Rashwan, a businessman from Madinah, said that the private sector was a partner in development and undertook a large part of development.

Rashwan said that it came from the principle of partnership, state responsibility and trust to this subsidized sector. The state had always been a forerunner in such initiatives and had outperformed many developed countries, he said.

Saudi artists beautify Riyadh with Arabic calligraphy

Updated 50 sec ago

Saudi artists beautify Riyadh with Arabic calligraphy

  • Roads and tunnels among sites being decorated

RIYADH: Saudi artists are decorating Riyadh with Arabic calligraphy, as part of the municipality’s efforts to beautify the capital.

The capital is witnessing a transformation, with several development projects underway that aim to improve people’s standards of living and ensure a sustainable environment in line with international standards. 

There are efforts underway to make Riyadh greener, in addition to gracing the city’s infrastructure with artwork. 

One of the people involved in the calligraphy initiative, graffiti artist Noura bin Saidan, said she wanted the city to be the most beautiful in the world in terms of art and design.

“The initiative was launched in March 2020,” she told Arab News. “I designed the place and chose the appropriate colors for the tunnel on King Khalid Road, which is near the heritage city of Diriyah. The colors I used are also inspired by the city’s heritage. We took advantage of this opportunity to participate in the Year of Arabic Calligraphy 2020, which is led by the Ministry of Culture.”

She used the Thuluth font to write the words of Saudi Arabia’s national anthem as the country’s National Day was approaching, and said the idea was to open up a wider space for artists to participate in such projects.

“After getting approval for the design, we selected several artists based on their experience in this type of art.”

Bin Saidan is vice president of the arts and architecture division of the Omran Society and owns a studio called ns4art. Her passion for graffiti and murals began with her master’s thesis about the role of art in beautifying roads and tunnels.

“10 years later the dream came true and I started coloring Riyadh,” she said.

The artists have moved to the next tunnel, on King Fahd Road, named Cairo Square, which was one of the activities of Saudi Arabia’s 90th National Day. She said the tunnel project took seven days to complete.

Bin Saidan said that people were happy about the final result and that she had been contacted by municipalities from different parts of the Kingdom about working with them.

Riyadh’s weather and the location of the projects were among the challenges that Bin Saidan and her team faced, as most of the sites were on highways.

And, while beautifying roads and tunnels is not her first project, she considered it one of her major ones.

“There are more projects to come, but we are waiting for the final approval.”