Bruneians Must Have Visa To Visit Saudi

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Bruneians are now required to apply for a visa everytime they visit Saudi Arabia, its embassy here said yesterday.

The Saudi government introduced a new visa structure that requires Bruneians to pay fees ranging from $700 to $2,900, depending on the type of visa applied.

In a statement, the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia said the new visa rules, which apply to people of other nationalities, started after the Islamic New Year on October 3.

The embassy announced that Bruneians who visit the country will be charged a minimum amount of 2,000 Saudi Riyals ($742), particularly for single entry visas for commercial and personal matters.

In the past, Bruneians had the privilege of entering Saudi Arabia without paying any visa fees including those who perform the Haj and Umrah.

A single entry to Saudi Arabia for Haj and Umrah will cost 2,000 Saudi Riyals for second-time pilgrims, but visa fees will be waived for first-time pilgrims.

The fees hike up to 3,000 Saudi Riyals ($1,114) for multiple entries that last for six months, 5,000 Saudi Riyals ($1,857) for one-year validity and 8,000 Saudi Riyals ($2,971) for two years validity.

Diplomatic and special passport holders from Brunei are exempted from paying visa fees including for medical and study purposes as well as visiting under the sponsorship of the Saudi government.

Meanwhile, the embassy said the 2,000 Riyal fees for student and employment visas shall be paid to the local authority in Saudi Arabia.

The embassy said the changes would not affect the bilateral agreements between Saudi Arabia and other countries.

When contacted, the spokesperson of the embassy said the changes were made due to Saudi’s economic downturn from falling global oil prices.

The spokesperson, who did not want to be named, said a sharp drop in oil revenue had led the Saudi government to make the changes as one form of earning revenues.

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation in Saudi Arabia has risen in recent months to over four per cent as energy and water prices have increased. — Khai Zem Mat Sani

The Brunei Times