Saudi Arabia Extends Tourist Visas For Three Months

by Vaishnavi Venkataraman
Saudi Arabia Extends Tourist Visas For Three Months

Travelers in Saudi Arabia will have their visas automatically extended by the Passports General Directorate in the kingdom. In a recent development, Saudi announced that all tourist visas will be extended for three months, free of charge. Saudi suspended inbound and outbound flights in March, in order to curb the spread of the virus.

This also meant tourists in the Kingdom could not leave until restrictions eased or manage to get on a repatriation flight. Many who are currently in the country have over stayed even after their visas expired. The tourist visa will now be extended automatically without tourists having to register on any portal. The extension will be done via the system of the General Directorate of Passports.

What’s More?

The visa news comes in line with Saudi’s decision to ease restrictions. The Kingdom eased coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Thursday, 21 May. The Interior Ministry said there will be a three-phase return to normality. The first phase begins today until May 30, when curfew times will ease in the Kingdom’s regions, except Makkah, between 6 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Travel between cities will be permitted, but not during curfew. Business activities including wholesale and retail shops will be permitted to resume and operate outside curfew hours. However, beauty salons, barbershops, sports and health clubs, recreational centers and cinemas, will continue to remain shut.

The second phase will run from May 31 to June 20, during which curfew will be further relaxed from 6 am to 8 pm, except in Makkah. Friday and group prayers in the Grand mosque can be held, but with precautionary measures. The Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance has issued a list of rules to be followed:

  1. Worshippers must bring their own mat
  2. The Qur’an must be read on smartphones or worshippers must bring their own copy
  3. Worshippers must maintain a 2-meter distance
  4. People with chronic diseases, as well as the elderly and children below the age of 15, are not allowed in mosques.

Mosque will open 15 minutes before the call to prayer and will close 10 minutes after the prayer. On Fridays mosques will open 20 minutes before adhan and close 20 minutes after prayer. Friday prayers and sermons should not exceed 15 minutes.

What Else?

Saudi Arabian Airlines will resume 60 flights each day in the first phase. All domestic flights to and from Jeddah will be operated through the new Terminal 1. The carrier also continues to operate its international flights to repatriate citizens.

The first stage includes operation of the following airports:

  1. King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh
  2. King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah
  3. King Fahd International Airport in Dammam
  4. Prince Mohammed bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Madinah
  5. Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Qassim
  6. Abha International Airport
  7. Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Tabuk
  8. King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Airport in Jazan
  9. Hail International Airport
  10. King Saud Airport in Al-Bahah
  11. Najran Airport