Saudi Arabia relaxes ban on family visa renewals

U-turn comes just a month after the kingdom said visit visas for expats would not be extended

Relatives of Saudi expatriate workers currently visiting the kingdom can have their family visit visas renewed for the rest of the year, Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Naif has announced.

Last month, a Directorate General of Passports (Jawazat) official had said that from June 29 (Ramadan 1) visit visas for expatriates, except for Syrian nationals, would no longer be extended, local media reported.

However, on Saturday Director General of Passports Maj. Gen. Sulaiman Abdulaziz Al Yahya said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) that expatriates could now extend visit visas all year round.

He said the directive followed the minister’s realisation that the circumstances of visitors to the kingdom sometimes required them to stay for longer, Saudi Gazette reported.

However, he said while the restriction had been removed, visitors whose visas were due to expire must file an application with the Passport Department.

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