Saudi govt to fine visitors staying in country after expiry of umrah visa

Saudi govt to fine visitors staying in country after expiry of umrah visa

RIYADH: The Saudi Arabian government has announced a fine of Saudi Riyal 50,000 and six months imprisonment for those who continue to stay in the country even after the expiry of their umrah visa.

According to a notification issued by the passport department of the Saudi government, pilgrims should leave the country before their umrah visa expires.

Earlier in the year, reports quoted the passport department as stating that visa extension requests can be made seven days before the expiry of visit visas. However, it added, visas cannot be extended for more than 180 days.

According to the passport directorate, the final exit visa will be valid for 60 days.

It had also stated that those who perform the pilgrim without a permit will be banned from entering the country for 10 years.

In a move to open its doors for tourism too, the Saudi government had decided to introduce the option for tourist visas, reports said.

The visa could be obtained for when visitors complete their pilgrim so that they could become tourists in the country.

The reports stated that 65 countries would be allowed tourism visas in the first phase of the project, while the number will increase in the second phase.

The Saudi government is aiming to solidify its place as a tourist destination by planning projects such as the Red Sea resorts.  APP/AFP