In response to the global crisis caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, the government has imposed strict immigration measures in an effort to prevent the spread of the disease and protect the population against infection.
The Saudi government is not permitting entry into the country to any national, other than returning Saudi nationals.
The following visa restriction measures are now in place:
- closure of all government agencies except those related to public health and security as well as the military sector until 31 March;
- suspension of all commercial flights to/from Saudi Arabia until 31 March;
- border with Jordan is closed for all passenger traffic;
- border crossing at the King Fahad Causeway, linking Bahrain with Saudi Arabia is closed;
- entry into and exit from Qatif governorate (from Saihat in the South to Safwa in the North) is temporarily suspended. Residents who are currently outside of the governorate will be allowed to return to their homes. Work of all government departments and private institutions in Qatif governorate is suspended;
- Saudi visa applications for nationals of select countries, including China, Iran and Yemen, are currently suspended;
- applicants with visas issued by Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Mainland China, Hong Kong SAR, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Macau SAR, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Somalia, South Korea, Syria, Taiwan, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Vietnam or Yemen, must cancel their visa before they apply for a visa for Saudi Arabia;
- processing of all categories of visa applications are suspended at many consular posts, including Egypt, India, Jordan, Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates;
- foreign nationals whose residence permit and / or exit-re-entry visa expired while being outside Saudi Arabia, are expected to be able to renew their permits through one of the electronic portals, Absher or Muqeem (this option is currently unavailable but expected to be activated shortly); and
- foreign nationals whose visit visa expired while being in Saudi Arabia, including visas for business and for tourism, can renew the visa through one of the electronic portals, Absher or Muqeem.
For more information on these articles or any other issues involving labour and employment matters in Saudi Arabia, please contact Sara Khoja (Partner) of Clyde & Co at sara.Khoja@clydeco.ae or visit www.clydeco.com.
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