Thursday, August 11, 2016

How expats in Saudi Arabia responded to hike in Visa Fee?

The recently restructured visa fee for the pilgrims and expatriates was announced on Monday and subsequently became a hot topic for discussion internationally and has also sparked various conversations amongst the local residents in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Several of the expatriates working in the Kingdom, who had spoken to the Saudi Gazette, had applauded the new revision in visa fees which allow the first entry of the Umrah and Hajj pilgrims to enter for free. Recommended: Single/Multiple Exit Re-Entry, Hajj, Umrah Visas Fee drastically increased

Hike in Hajj Visa Fee: Saud Ibrahim, a travel manager in the city of Jeddah, stated that he knows that Hajj is supposed to a once in a lifetime thing. Hence the fee for performing the Hajj pilgrimage for the second time also makes a bit of room for all those who have not performed Hajj even once. Shaji N. Siddiqui, the General Manager at the Golden Travels in Jeddah stated that they are currently working towards a stronger economy and the new move is also helping in strengthening the country. He added that they have welcomed the new move, especially keeping in mind that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has given the expatriates so much more, be it a subsidy on gas or the means to live a better standard life.

Hike in Single Exit Re-Entry Fee: For the larger expatriate families in the Kingdom who have children either living abroad or studying abroad, this new revision has thrown up some challenges. Syed Abdul Rahman, a salesman in Jeddah, stated that he has three kids who are all studying in India. Prior to this change he used to pay SAR 200 for each of them, due to the fact that they would come to the Kingdom only once a year, however now for their exit – re entry visa, he will have to pay an additional SAR 3,000 if they are going to stay on his residence permit or Iqama. He stated that if he cannot afford to keep up these payments then he will have to give up the Iqama.

Hike in Multiple Exit Re-Entry Fee As for the numerous trips, the exit and re-entry fee will be charged at SAR 500 for a period of three months, after which a charge of SAR 200 will be made for every additional month, till the residence permit is valid.

Hike in Transit Visa Fee:  This new change in the structures has also included a new fee of SAR 300 under the title of transit visa, for passengers that are travelling through the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Jihan Ahsan, an overseas student currently living in Canada stated that for all those who are either coming from the Canada or the United States, were looking to save the money on routes using various stop overs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in order to get back home. However, now his family of five will pay SAR 1,500 just for the transit in the Kingdom.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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