Expats in Saudi Arabia hit with new fees as they leave for vacation

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Expats in Saudi Arabia going on vacation with their families in this peak holiday season felt the pinch of the new dependent fee, which came into force on Saturday, when they tried to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for family members.

Those who wanted to pay the exit-reentry visa fee for their family members were prompted by the online payment system to first clear the dependent fee for the remaining months of the validity of their iqamas (residence permits), Saudi Gazette has reported.

From Saturday evening till Sunday morning, the online payment system was displaying only exit-reentry fees.

But hours later it started displaying complete and accurately calculated amount of dependent fee based on the validity of iqama against each dependent.

The payment of dependent fee is not only directly linked with the renewal of iqama but also the issuance of exit-reentry visa, whichever comes first.

The exit-reentry process can be done against single individual dependent by paying the fee till the date of the validity of iqama.

However, for the renewal of iqama it is mandatory to settle the amount for all dependents, according to a human resources expert of a leading business firm.

Expats will have to pay SR1,200 per dependent each year. The fee is payable either at the time of the dependent’s visa renewal, or when they seek a visa to exit and re-enter the kingdom, such as for holidays abroad.

Critics have suggested the additional financial burden on expat families will make the kingdom less attractive for professionals. Authorities are also attempting to reduce the number of expats working in the kingdom by encouraging more locals to join the private sector.

Published on 3 July 2017

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