Saudi Arabia Lifts Three-Year Entry Ban for Expatriates on Exit and Reentry Visa

Saudi Arabia

In a significant move to boost its investment and labor environment, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has officially lifted the three-year entry ban on expatriates who left the country on exit and reentry visas and failed to return before the visa expiry. The decision, which took effect on Tuesday, January 16, was communicated by the General Directorate of Passports, known as Jawazat, to various entities including passport offices, airports, airlines, shift heads, navigators, shipping companies, and transit halls.

The decision marks a departure from the restrictions imposed in 2022, when Jawazat implemented the ban at the request of industrialists and entrepreneurs who faced operational disruptions and financial costs due to delayed returns of expatriate workers.

According to reports from the Arabic daily Okaz, the lifting of the ban is part of a broader initiative to introduce improvements in the Kingdom’s regulatory framework. This move is expected to foster a more welcoming environment for foreign workers and investors.

Under the new regulations, expatriates seeking the issuance of an exit and reentry visa must adhere to specific conditions, as outlined by Jawazat:

  1. The visa is issued based on the individual’s fingerprint.
  2. The worker is responsible for paying all traffic violations imposed.
  3. There must be no violation to ensure the previously ordered visa will not be canceled.
  4. There must be no valid visa at the time of application.
  5. The passport must be valid for ninety days or more.
  6. The individual holding the visa must travel with all dependents.

The decision to lift the entry ban is expected to bring relief to both expatriates and employers, aligning with Saudi Arabia’s ongoing efforts to attract foreign talent and investment. As the Kingdom continues to implement reforms, stakeholders are optimistic about the positive impact on the business landscape and the overall economic climate.

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