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!