News Details

Immigration developments in the MENA Region

Wed, February 21, 2018


United Arab Emirates

Effective 12 October 2017, North Korean passports holders are not eligible for UAE entry visas, following the break of diplomatic ties between the two countries.


Effective 1 October 2017, foreign nationals who entered Qatar based on a visit visa-on-arrival are not eligible for a change of immigration status to residency or employment, as the Immigration Authorities have discontinued facilitating such processes. Foreign nationals seeking to convert their dependent family visit visa to a dependent family residency permit are not affected by this change.

Saudi Arabia

Effective January 2018, employers in Saudi Arabia will be subject to a monthly fee for each foreign employee under their sponsorship. The levy will be paid in addition to the standard recruitment fees and it will increase by SAR 200 every year, reaching SAR 700 and SAR 800 per month by 2020. The amount will be higher for companies with a foreign headcount larger than the number of Saudis, and reduced for those where the total number of Saudis is greater than the foreign national headcount.


Effective immediately, newborns of expatriate residents can enter Saudi Arabia without having to obtain a visa in the parent’s home country. Instead, the child will be issued a visa upon arrival in the Kingdom.


Omani Authorities have announced that Chinese, Indian and Russian passports holders, along with 25 other nationalities, holding a valid residency or entry visa issued by Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, United States or a Schengen Member Country are now eligible for a 30-day single-entry visa-on-arrival for tourism. Accompanying spouse and children of the visa holder will also be allowed entry even if they do not have a visa issued by one of the approved countries.


The Royal Oman Police have reduced the minimum salary requirement for foreign residents sponsoring dependents from OMR 600 monthly to OMR 300 monthly. In addition to bank statements from the last three months indicating the mandatory income, foreign nationals seeking to sponsor their dependents must also provide a tenancy agreement in their name or in the name of the employer.


The Royal Oman Police have announced the following changes to the visitor visa for tourism, expected to come into effect on 17 November 2017: 

  • The 10-day single-entry visa will be replaced by a single-entry visa valid for up to one month
  • The 30-day single-entry visa will be replaced by a multiple-entry visa valid for up to one year

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