Foreigners working in Saudi Arabia who fail to return to the Kingdom before the expiration date of their exit/reentry visas will not be allowed to enter Saudi Arabia for three years.
This is according to General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) Director of Media and Public Relations Col. Muhammad Bin Abdulaziz in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency as published on Saudi Gazette.
The ban, which will be counted from the date of expiration of reentry visa, applies to workers only.
The decision was met with surprise among expatriates, who said there are unavoidable circumstances make them extend their stay outside Saudi Arabia.
One of them, an IT professional native of India, said his father was unable to return on time because a family member died.
“Now we are arranging to extend the reentry visa duration for him,” he said, expressing concern after he came to know about the new rule.
Recently, expats have been given a much convenient access to issue visas for their dependents, update personal information, issuance/cancellation of final exit visas, among others through the Abshir system (www.epassport.gov.sa), which enables them to avail of online visa services without having to visit the Jawazat or the Foreign Ministry.
Jawazat phased out in 2013 the need to carry a printout of exit/reentry visa. Details of exit and reentry visa found on the website www.passportevisa.com will be considered authentic and final. But expats face problems when returning as airlines often wanted to check validity of their visas.