Saudi Arabia’s government has updated visa and immigration rules in 2019. Some new residency programs have been launched. New criteria of visa fee have been announced. Many online services related to expats has been changed.

In fact, Saudi Arabia do not want to rely only on oil revenue in future rather wants to discover additional resources of revenue in the forms of tourism, foreign investment and religious tourism. Recent updates revealed Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030. According to vision 2030, Saudi Arabia want 30 million tourist and religious tourist every year. To achieve this huge target, Saudi Arabia is doing extra ordinary measures like starting new projects for tourist attraction so that more tourist may be attracted towards Saudi Arabia.

Lunching Tourist Visas

According to latest News reported by Okaz Newspaper, Saudi Arabia has announced a new tourist visa. It will be obtainable online in the form of e visa for tourism purpose. Tourist can get this visa online at home as well as on arrival at international airport of Saudi Arabia. The duration of new tourist visa is 90 days. An amount SAR 440 will be charged as visa fee. The New Tourist visa is expected to be launched in the current year.

E Visa System

Almost every country is taking advantage of internet in the connection of visa and immigration. Saudi Arabia has also introduced Electronic visa system. Hajj, Umrah, transit and tourist visas are now available online. Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior has instructed hajj and umrah operators to apply visas online instead of conventional visas at Saudi Embassy or consulate. This will reduce visa processing time and applicants or visa agents do not need to visit consulate or embassy of Saudi Arabia to apply visa. Visa application will be submitted online. They can pay visa fee online and take print of visa which will be issued online.

Changing Online Services for Expats in Saudi Arabia

In the past, almost all services related to Iqama were available at official website of Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia (MOI KSA) but recently, Ministry of Interior of Saudi Arabia has updated the system of online services. They moved all services related to Iqama from MOI website to ABSHER portal.

Absher is also a portal of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Interior. In the past, Expats do not need to create account at MOI’s website if they want to use any online service but now, they have to register and activate an account at Absher portal to use all services related to iqama.

The list of services moved to absher portal includes, Query Iqama expiry service, iqama hurboo service, iqama funds query, traffic violation and almost all services related to expatriates in Saudi Arabia. For Example: Now, if a person holding Saudi Arabia’s residency card which is known as Iqama, wants to check expiry date of his iqama, first of all he/she have to create a free account at website of absher, then he needs to activate his absher account. Once account is activated, he have to login to absher account to access “Query Iqama Expiry Service” to check status of residency card or iqama. Click to See the latest method of Checking iqama status and expiry date.

However, a single absher account is enough to use all services available in Absher porta. There is no need to create more than one account.

New Residency Status

Two New types of status of residency have been launched under a new residency category which is called “privileged iqama”. One is temporary and issued for one year with possibility of renewals each year. The second is permanent which will be issued for life time without any expiry date. Both residency status will allow foreigners to live, working, set up business in Saudi Arabia without need of any Saudi Kafeel. It will bring a lot of benefits to foreigners but unfortunately these benefits will be limited to millionaires only because the cost of this type iqama is very high.