Saudi Arabia recently announced an automatic extension of tourist visa validity and a three-phase easing of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Key Points:

  • The validity of all tourist visas that expired during the international flight suspension has been automatically extended for three months. The extension was conducted through the General Directorate of Passports system, so no travel to the Directorate’s offices is necessary.
  • First phase: From May 28 to May 30:
    • Curfew hours will ease from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. in all the Kingdom’s regions, except Mecca.
    • Travel by private vehicles between cities and regions will be permitted when curfew hours are not in effect.
    • Work activities that previously were not allowed, such as those at retail and wholesale outlets, including malls, are permitted when curfew hours are not in effect.
    • Activities at barbershops, beauty salons, health and sports clubs and cinemas and recreational centers, where it is not possible to practice social distancing remain suspended. Other activities defined by authorities are also still suspended.
  • Second phase: From May 31 to June 20:
    • Curfew hours will ease from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. in all the Kingdom’s regions, except Mecca.
    • In the King’s mosques, Friday and group prayers will be allowed to resume, except in Mecca. At the Grand Mosque, such prayers will continue.
    • Children less than the age of 15, the elderly, and people with chronic diseases will not be allowed to enter mosques.
    • Office work at ministries and for private sector companies and government authorities will be allowed to resume.
    • Public sector workers will return to full work attendance on June 14.
    • Travel between regions within the country using various transportation methods will be allowed.
    • Domestic flights will be allowed if airlines follow precautions established by the Ministry of Health and civil aviation authority.
    • Beauty salons, barber shops, sports and health clubs, entertainment centers and cinemas will not be allowed to reopen during this phase, but restaurants and cafes will be permitted to do so.
    • Social gatherings of more than 50 people will still not be allowed.
  • Third phase: Beginning on June 21, there will be a return to the normal living conditions that existed before the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions were enacted.

Analysis & Comments: The automatic tourist validity extension is good news for holders of such visas. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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