- Saudi Arabia extends the validity of the iqama and travel permits until August 31.
- The extension applies to permit holders in nine countries still banned from entering the kingdom, such as Pakistan.
- The extension is automatic and in cooperation with the National Information Center; no office in Jawazat will need to be visited.
RIYAD: Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it has extended the validity of the iqama (residence permit) and exit and return visas for people stranded outside the kingdom unable to travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Saudi Gazette, the General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) extended the authorizations, as well as the validity of visit visas, as of right, without charge, until August 31.
This extension, made on the directives of the Guardian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman, is only applicable to expatriates and foreigners from the nine countries from which entry into the kingdom is prohibited, the publication said.
“The Minister of Finance has issued an order in this regard as part of the Saudi government’s continued efforts to combat the effects and consequences of COVID-19,” he wrote.
The Saudi publication said the move was also part of “preventive measures that ensure the safety of citizens and residents and help mitigate its economic and financial effects.”
Jawazat said the extension is automatic and in cooperation with the National Information Center. No Jawazat office will need to be visited for this purpose.
Saudi Arabia has lifted the ban on travelers from 11 countries on curbing the spread of the coronavirus, still requiring quarantine procedures.
Travelers from the United Arab Emirates, Germany, United States, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, France and Japan have been allowed entry .
The list did not contain the name of Pakistan, which remains on the list of countries still banned from entering the kingdom.
Saudi Arabia bans 20 countries
In February, Saudi Arabia suspended entry to the kingdom of 20 countries, except diplomats, Saudi citizens, doctors and their families, to help curb the spread of the coronavirus, the report reported. state news agency.
“The Interior Ministry announced that a temporary suspension of entry into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia [from 20 countries] was imposed on non-citizens, diplomats, medical professionals and their families, ”the Saudi press agency said in a statement.
The temporary ban, effective from February 3, affected people arriving from Argentina, United Arab Emirates, Germany, United States of America, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Pakistan, Brazil, Portugal, United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa and Sweden. , Switzerland, France, Lebanon, Egypt, India and Japan.
The temporary ban on travel to the Kingdom also included travelers who passed through any of the 20 banned countries 14 days before the ban was implemented.
A similar ban was imposed in December after a new strain of COVID-19 was identified in the UK.