Saudi Arabia Introduces Penalties for Overstay of Visit Visa Holders


Saudi Arabia has introduced stringent regulations for visit visa holders overstaying their visa period. These are part of a series of recent visa reforms introduced by the kingdom under its Vision 2030 initiative, and aim to diversify the economy, attract global talent, and establish a robust regulatory framework to ensure compliance and orderly stays.

By Giulia Interesse

Saudi Arabia has introduced new visa regulations to ensure compliance and maintain order, especially during the Hajj season. The Saudi General Directorate of Public Security (Public Security) now imposes strict penalties, including jail time and fines, for failing to report visa overstays.

This article explores these recent visa reforms, detailing updated requirements for different visa categories, enforcement measures during critical periods, and their impact on residents and visitors.

What’s new?

On May 28, 2024, the Saudi Public Security announced that recruiters who do not promptly report the departure of individuals they have recruited once their entry visas expire will face severe consequences. These penalties include a substantial fine of around SR50,000 (approx. US$13,300), up to six months in jail, and the deportation of the foreign employee.

According to the announcement, citizens are urged to report any residency, labor, or border security violations by calling 911 in Makkah, Riyadh, and the Eastern Province, or 999 in other regions.

Moreover, from Dhul Qada 15 (May 23, 2024) to Dhul-Hijjah 15 (June 21, 2024), visit visa holders are prohibited from entering or staying in Makkah, and they are not allowed to participate in the annual Hajj pilgrimage. According to the Ministry of Interior Saudi citizens, foreign residents, and visitors, caught entering Makkah without a Hajj permit will be fined SR10,000 (approx. US$2,667).

This provision applies to those found without a permit in key locations such as the Central Haram Area, Mina, Arafat, Muzdalifah, the Haramain train station in Rusayfah, and various security control centers.

Recent developments in Saudi visa regulations

Updated requirements for the Special Talent Residency Visa

On January 22, 2024, the Saudi Premium Residency Center introduced new eligibility criteria for the Special Talent Residency Visa.

Applicants must now demonstrate expertise in fields such as scientific research, healthcare, information technology, financial services, space and defense, renewable energy, mining, logistics and transport, tourism infrastructure, and food and agriculture. This visa is valid for five years and can be renewed if the eligibility criteria continue to be met.

Revocation of the three-year entry ban

On January 17, 2024, the General Directorate of Passports officially announced that it would allow foreign nationals whose Exit-Entry Residency Visas expired before their return to re-enter Saudi Arabia. This decision abolished the previous rule that imposed a three-year ban on those who did not return before their visa’s expiration.

Changes to the Premium Residency Visa Law

On January 10, 2024, Royal Decree No. M/106 (hereinafter, decree) introduced significant changes to the Premium Residency Visa Law.

The age limit for applicants was lowered to allow individuals below the age of 21 to apply. Additionally, following the release of the decree, Premium Residency Visa holders are permitted to apply for Saudi citizenship, following the repeal of the provision that previously barred them from obtaining citizenship.


The recent visa reforms and regulations put forward by Saudi Arabia are part of its Vision 2030 initiative. These changes aim to diversify the economy, lessen oil dependency, and globalize the kingdom.

With aspirations to become a top destination for tourism, investment, and talent, the kingdom’s visa reforms streamline entry, attract specialized skills, and ensure orderly stays. This overhaul not only promotes Saudi Arabia but also establishes a robust regulatory framework, signaling the nation’s commitment to progress with stability.

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