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- Wednesday, October 26, 2016
- BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
- 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
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