Saudi Arabia allows Egyptian visa violators 90-day grace period to leave country

Mahmoud Aziz , Thursday 30 Mar 2017

Minister of Manpower
File Photo: Egypt's Minister of Manpower Mohamed Saafan (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Saudi Arabia has begun implementing a more relaxed regime for processing Egyptians found guilty of visa violations, allowing them to leave the country within 90 days without paying a fine or being deported, according to Egypt's manpower ministry.

The new policy is being implemented as of Thursday, the ministry said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia decided to pardon 30,000 Egyptians accused of visa violations in the country, exempting them from punitive measures, including deportation, a 10-year ban from entering Saudi Arabia, and the removal of financial, educational and work privileges.

The new rules allow Egyptian visa violators 90 days to adjust their status and leave the country without being deported, allowing them to return to Saudi Arabia in the future.

In 2014, Saudi Arabia implemented a new system requiring foreign nationals performing the pilgrimage to Mecca to fulfill a number of requirements, including demonstrating valid pilgrimage visas at the time of departure.

Some 2.5 million foreign nationals have been deported since the implementation of the new system, according to Saudi Arabia's interior ministry.

Cairo and Riyadh have held talks in recent months regarding the deportation of Egyptian families who violate residency and pilgrimage regulations.

Hundreds of Egyptians in Saudi Arabia implored Egyptian authorities to intervene on their behalf, saying they are unable to work or have access to banks, education or residencee

Egypt's State Information Service has estimated the number of Egyptians living in Saudi Arabia at around 1.5 million in 2012, making the largest Egyptian community abroad.

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