JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) on Monday extended the validity of re-entry visas of expats stranded abroad due to the suspension of international flights announced in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
No fee will be charged for the month-long extension, which is also applicable to all expats who are in the Kingdom but whose exit/entry visas have expired due to the closure of borders.
The decision applies to laborers and domestic workers whose resident permits (iqama) expired abroad, and who could not return to the Kingdom due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
It also includes a free extension for final exit visas of expats who were unable to leave the country. The visas have been extended up to Sept. 30.
Expats working in commercial professions and who are waiting to return to Saudi Arabia are also included in the iqama extension, provided their permits expired between Aug. 1 and Aug. 31.
The extension will take place automatically in cooperation with the National Information Center.
The decision came four days after Saudi Arabia discussed the resumption of international flights during a virtual meeting of G20 foreign ministers.
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan said the move would help revive the economies of G20 member states. The Kingdom suspended international flights on March 15.
Saudi Arabia is witnessing a massive drop in daily COVID-19 cases since its highest recorded count in June, said a Health Ministry spokesperson.
On Monday, only 768 new infections were recorded in the Kingdom, raising the number of cases to 321,456. Twenty-six fatalities were recorded, raising the death toll to 4,107. The total number of recoveries in Saudi Arabia rose to 297,623 after 886 people recovered.
Makkah again topped the list of new infections with 67 recorded on Monday. There were 57 cases in Jeddah, 50 in Madinah, 46 each in Riyadh and Hofuf, 44 in Dhahran, 27 in Hail, and 25 in Al-Mobarraz.