Visa officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have advised that work visit visas to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are no longer available. Those currently in the Kingdom under these visas are free to remain through the expiration date. While they are free upon return to their home country apply for a new work visa (i.e. a visa that allows for conversion to an iqama upon entry into Saudi Arabia), work visit visas are not convertible directly.
The Ministry of Labor’s Assistant Deputy Minister for Labor Policies added the following comments:
- A new type of temporary visa is currently under review by the Council of Ministers, details expected in the coming days or week, allowing work for 6 months renewable for another 6 months. These visas will not be convertible, and the same rules will apply to all nationalities.
- A list of activities which may be performed under a business visit or tourist visa is being prepared (i.e. “exempt activities”). These activities will likely include sports and entertainment engagements, signing and negotiating agreements and presenting lectures. While visitors holding such visas may receive financial honoraria, they may not be employed by the sponsor. While some agencies favor convertibility of these non-work visit visas to iqamas, this is still under review and faces stiff opposition.
Wolfsdorf Rosenthal Global Immigration Services will continue to monitor closely and bring updates. Should you have any questions please contact a WR immigration attorney or email Global@wolfsdorf.com for case specific information.