Monday, December 29, 2014

New restrictions on family visit visa renewal

The new restrictions imposed by the Passport Department on renewal of family visit visa has caused a lot of heartburn among expatriates working in Saudi Arabia.

When the official announcement came, I purposely waited for a couple of days before writing this post for the dust to settle down. This was because, as soon as such an announcement is made, there would usually be one more announcement completely refuting the same. 

Until now, the maximum validity of a visit visa used to be up to 9 months. This included two extensions. A detailed description of the procedure to bring your family on a visit visa has already been explained in this blog earlier (click here). For those unfortunate expatriates working in Saudi Arabia who are unable to bring their families on a permanent visa due to various reasons, visit visa was like a boon. Unlike permanent family visas, visit visas are usually quite lenient on one's iqama profession. 

The Passport Department has now announced that the maximum validity of a visit visa would henceforth be only 180 days, i.e., 6 months instead of 9 months. This means that only one renewal would be issued from now onwards.

Just six months back there was an announcement that there would be no more renewal of visit visas (click here).  Within one month, came the announcement that the rule has been abandoned (click here). Let us hope that this new announcement, which completely lacks logic and reason, will also be recalled like previous occasions. 

In another development, the earlier announcement of tourist visas for non-Saudis (click here) has now been "postponed" (an escape route for saying that the announcement has been recalled - what else did you expect?). Click here to read that announcement. Watch out this space for more such flip-flop announcements! 


Anonymous said...

You didnt explain what the new restrictions are?

Anonymous said...

Hi expatguru

thanks for the article. Where one side the nitiqat is affecting the people, there is a hammer on visit visa.

Hope these people understand this soon before it is too late. May Allah Bless them

Expatguru said...


You cannot renew your visit visa more than once and have to leave the kingdom within 180 days from the first date of entry.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the article.
My family visit visa is going to expire in next ten days. Can you please confirm that will i have to arrange air tickets in a hurry. If this is true then it is very disturbing and painful. They should at least give some time to those who have very few days left.

Expatguru said...


I suggest that you immediately go and renew the family visa. Usually it takes a while before any official order is implemented. If you are lucky and the renewal is done before the new order comes into force, then no worry. Otherwise, you must definitely arrange for your family's departure. Remember, there is a SR10000 fine plus your deportation at the end of your iqama's validity, in case your family overstay's the visa validity even by a single day, so hurry. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

thanks for the info. i hope they will change this rule as many people will be affected in this decisions inshallah they will wake up 1 day and revoke this rules...

Raneeen said...

These new restriction are pretty tough for non-residential people or visitors. They should reduce these restriction,I know they have security issues but its pretty hard for others.