Saudi Arabia extends iqama, visit, exit and re-entry visas for free till Nov. 30

Saudi Arabia extends iqama, visit, exit and re-entry visas for free till Nov. 30
Authorities are extending the validity of residence permits for expatriates outside the Kingdom as well as visit visas and exit and re-entry visas without charge until Nov. 30. (File/AFP)
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Updated 10 September 2021

Saudi Arabia extends iqama, visit, exit and re-entry visas for free till Nov. 30

Saudi Arabia extends iqama, visit, exit and re-entry visas for free till Nov. 30
  • The extension is part of Saudi efforts to deal with the repercussions of COVID-19
  • It also falls within the precautionary measures that guarantee the safety of Saudis and expatriates

RIYADH: Saudi General Directorate of Passports has started to automatically extend the validity of residence permits (iqama) for expatriates outside the Kingdom as well as visit visas and exit and re-entry visas without fees or charge until Nov. 30.

This decision implements the directives of King Salman.

The extension, which was issued by the Minister of Finance, is part of the continuing efforts of the Saudi government to deal with the repercussions of COVID-19.

It also falls within the precautionary measures that guarantee the safety of Saudis and expatriates and mitigate financial impacts.

The Directorate confirmed that the extension will be done electronically, in cooperation with the National Information Center, without the need to visit the passport departments.

The extension process will be carried out as follows: first, extending the validity of residence permits as well as exit and re-entry visas for residents who are in the countries from which entry is suspended because of the coronavirus until Nov. 30. Second, extending the validity of visit visas for visitors who are in those countries.

Earlier this week, Saudi Arabia announced the end of restrictions on travel to and from the UAE, South Africa and Argentina. The travel ban was originally imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, amid a surge in cases of the delta variant of the coronavirus.

It has been lifted in light of changes in the epidemiological situation both locally and globally, and based on submissions by the relevant health authorities, the Saudi Interior Ministry said.


Saudi Arabia says following developments in Sudan with concern, calls for de-escalation

Saudi Arabia says following developments in Sudan with concern, calls for de-escalation
Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi Arabia says following developments in Sudan with concern, calls for de-escalation

Saudi Arabia says following developments in Sudan with concern, calls for de-escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia said it is following with great concern the developing events in Sudan and stressed on the importance of restraint and a de-escalation of tensions. 

The Kingdom said it was important to preserve all the political and economic gains and everything that aimed to protect the unity among all the political components in Sudan, according to the Saudi Press Agency.


Qiyadat Global-Georgetown Program to honor female graduate leaders in Riyadh

Qiyadat Global-Georgetown Program to honor female graduate leaders in Riyadh
Updated 25 October 2021

Qiyadat Global-Georgetown Program to honor female graduate leaders in Riyadh

Qiyadat Global-Georgetown Program to honor female graduate leaders in Riyadh
  • Graduates express gratitude for the program, despite conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic

JEDDAH: More than 200 graduates from more than 20 countries who completed a women’s leadership program will be honored in Riyadh on Monday.

Qiyadat Global-Georgetown gives participants the leadership skills needed to thrive in the public and private sectors, as well as in nonprofit organizations.

The women addressed leadership skills in decision-making, organizational change management and organizational performance, and interaction with stakeholders.

They came from different backgrounds: 16 percent were from the financial sector, 14 percent were from the education field, and 12 percent were from healthcare. Others had backgrounds in energy, technology, chemicals, media, and communications.

Of the participants, 42 percent had a bachelor’s degree, 47 percent had a master’s degree, and 9 percent had doctorates.

The graduates expressed their gratitude for the program, despite the conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They were also grateful for the wide range of academic coverage, the diversity of nationalities among the participants, and their interaction with each other.

Qiyadat Global-Georgetown represents a contribution toward achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The 17 goals include education, particularly the quality of education at all levels, gender equality, sustainable economic growth and decent work for all.

Countries have been formulating strategies to target the development of communities while also addressing social concerns such as quality of education, universal coverage of healthcare, provision of social protection, and job creation.


Ministry of Hajj and Umrah cancels 14-day waiting period between Umrah

Ministry of Hajj and Umrah cancels 14-day waiting period between Umrah
Updated 25 October 2021

Ministry of Hajj and Umrah cancels 14-day waiting period between Umrah

Ministry of Hajj and Umrah cancels 14-day waiting period between Umrah

JEDDAH: Pilgrims wishing to perform Umrah will no longer be required to wait for 14 days to book for the ritual, according to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.

Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief of planning and strategy officer at the ministry, told Arab News that by easing preventive measures, the operational capacity of the Grand Mosque for Umrah and prayers has significantly increased.

“In line with the developments at this stage, which in turn increased the demand in the dates available to perform Umrah, the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah made this feature available for pilgrims. This condition is no longer necessary and will achieve a fair opportunity for all due to the high demand,” he told Arab News.

On Oct. 16, the Ministry of Interior announced the easing of restrictions across the Kingdom, including those affecting the Grand Mosque in Makkah and the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, allowing a full return to operations and capacity.


Saudi Arabia eyes personal status law with main focus on family and strengthening of bonds

Saudi Arabia eyes personal status law with main focus on family and strengthening of bonds
Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi Arabia eyes personal status law with main focus on family and strengthening of bonds

Saudi Arabia eyes personal status law with main focus on family and strengthening of bonds
  • Saudi Vision 2030 also stipulates, in many of its programs and articles, strengthening the status of the family and striving to overcome all obstacles facing its members

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Justice is set to release the personal status draft law with the main focus on family and strengthening of bonds.

Speaking at the Saudi Family Forum 2021 on Sunday, Justice Minister Walid Al-Samaani said that the personal status draft law announced by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman within the system of specialized legislation was based on several goals. The most important of these was a focus on family status, strengthening the family bond wherever possible and reducing the negative impact of separation.

Al-Samaani said that the project focused mainly on stressing a woman’s agreement to marriage, preserving her and her children’s financial and alimony rights, as well as other issues related to divorce requests.

During his participation at the forum, Al-Samaani said that many public policies, including the basic law of governance, had focused on empowering the family to achieve sustainable social development and overcome any challenges.

Saudi Vision 2030 also stipulates, in many of its programs and articles, strengthening the status of the family and striving to overcome all obstacles facing its members, he said.

The minister explained that one of the decisions that contributed to enhancing the sustainability and stability of the family was the amendment made in the executive regulations of the legal pleading system by adding a legal text that refers all personal status disputes to the reconciliation center to try to reconcile spouses.

Al-Samaani stressed that by applying this amendment, personal status disputes related to divorce, alimony and other issues decreased by more than 20 percent, and said he hoped this would drop further. On the development of procedural aspects in personal status disputes, he said that the establishment of the cases audit center contributed to a decrease in the duration of judicial sessions in personal status cases by more than 30 percent.

The goal of digital transformation in the Ministry of Justice was not just to enable service provision, he said, but to facilitate procedures, especially regarding the quality and nature of cases such as personal status ones. Filing cases from home or elsewhere had also enabled the judicial and relevant authorities, such as the Human Rights Commission, to exercise their role and assess the societal situation.

Al-Samaani said that the ministry had launched 120 electronic services and that judicial sessions did not stop during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1.5 million sessions were held, more than 1 million rulings were issued through electronic litigation, and more than 3 million requests were submitted electronically.

He said that the Ministry of Justice had applied artificial intelligence techniques to their system. The first cases to which this was applied were personal status cases so that judicial authorities could predict 80 percent of the verdict in advance.


Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey
Updated 25 October 2021

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey

Saudi Arabia’s falcon auction houses exhibit the finest birds of prey
  • Falcon’s type, age, length, weight, and color contribute to setting of exorbitant prices at auctions

RIYADH: Some of the world’s most exquisite falcons have been auctioned at the Saudi International Falcons Auction, with prices elevated due to fierce competition between buyers at the 45-day event which began Oct. 1.

One peregrine falcon, not yet a year old, became the most expensive of its type in 2021 when it was auctioned for SR405,000 ($108,000) last week, breaking the previous record price of SR206,000.

Saad Mallouh Aldahmashi, who bought it, and who owns the Sultan Falcon Center in Arar, told Arab News that the peregrine immediately drew his attention. “I said to myself, I will buy come what may,” he added.

“My friend confirmed to me that the falcon was in perfect health and looked stronger than the videos published about it.When the auction began, I did not say anything and waited until the price hit SR280,000. Two more people were bidding on the price until it reached SR480,000,” he said.

He noted that if the price had kept going higher than that, he would still have bid and not stopped until he got it. “I thought the price would stop at SR605,000, but it did not.”

He pointed out that he sold a similar falcon for SR610,000 two years ago at his center. At the time, the falcon, which was also less than a year old, registered the highest price in the auction.

Aldahmashi, who has more than 15 years of experience in the field, hopes to increase the number of auctions in Saudi Arabia’s regions, to increase competition, and to allow residents of the regions to attend auctions up close, stressing that this is an essential requirement for amateur enthusiasts.

Nawaf Mamdouh Alshraim- falconer (Supplied)

Nawaf Mamdouh Alshraim, another falconer, said that the falcon’s type, age, length, weight, and color all contribute to setting the price. As someone who has been in the business for 16 years, he said that breeding falcons requires significant experience.

“You have to have the ability and experience to know when the falcon is normal, sick or tired. You should teach him how to get the prey and return to you,” said Alshraim.

“The quality of the falcon is reflected in its ability to hunt prey,” he explained.

The saker and peregrine falcons are the most expensive, especially the youngest birds. He explained that they are small in size, 16 inches wide and another 16 inches tall, adding that the perfect weight would be around 1.1 kg and above.

Alshraim, who lives in northeast Saudi Arabia, believes that the Malhem auction is the go-to place for falconers. “The auction has many attractions for amateur falconers, and it is held during the bird migration, and has attracted many of the experts and amateurs in the last years through the facilities it offers,” he noted.

The Saudi Falcon Club provides medical examinations for falcons and also provides accommodation for owners before the auction is held. The auction is aired on live TV and the club’s social media accounts. There is no fee on sale transactions, and when a falcon is sold, the club issues an export certificate and official documents for the transaction.