Riyadh: The General Directorate of Passports in Saudi Arabia has announced its decision of free extensions of the validity of Iqamas (residence permits), re-entry and visit visas of expatriate workers outside the Kingdom until July 31. The extension will benefit expatriates stranded in 20 countries, on which the Saudi Interior Ministry imposed an entry ban on February 2, the state news agency SPA reported.
Earlier, Saudi Arabia's King Salman had ordered authorities to extend visit, exit and return visas free until June 2 for residents of the kingdom. The directorate stated that the extension will be carried out electronically and free of cost in coordination with the National Information Centre.
Currently, due to the rise in Covid cases, the Kingdom has barred direct entry from 13 countries including India. Other countries recorded in the no-travel list are Turkey, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iran, Armenia, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and Belarus. However, Saudi nationals, diplomats and health workers are exempted from the entry ban.
While the extension comes as a great console for thousands of expatriates, they are also hopeful to hear the official declaration permitting the operation of direct flights from India to Saudi.