Tougher penalties for overstaying visas include jail time

9 Feb 16

SAUDI ARABIA

IMPACT – MEDIUM

What is the change? Saudi Arabia has set new penalties for visitors who overstay their visas.

What does the change mean? A foreigner who overstays any type of visit visa will be fined up to 50,000 riyals (about US$13,300), jailed for up to six months and then deported. The same penalties apply to anyone who assisted in obtaining the visa.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: All visit visas (family visit visa, commercial visa, business visa, government visit visa, escort visit visa).
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals in Saudi Arabia. Nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council countries are exempt.
  • Business impact: Companies or individuals who sponsor the visit visa are liable for paying fines for those who overstay.

Background: The General Directorate of Passports, or Jawazat, announced new rules that set progressive fines and imprisonment for each overstay. A first offense will result in a fine of 15,000 riyals. A foreigner who overstays a visit visa a second time will be fined 25,000 riyals and imprisoned for three months. A third overstay will be punishable by a six-month jail term, a 50,000 riyal fine, and deportation. A five-year ban on re-entry is also imposed following deportation; however, authorities have discretion to deny visas and impose a lifetime ban even after a first offense.

BAL Analysis: Foreign employees and family members traveling to Saudi Arabia on visit visas should be sure to leave the country upon expiration of their visa.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Saudi Arabia. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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