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Umrah pilgrims warned against overstaying

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The General Directorate of Passports (Jawazat) on Tuesday urged all foreigners who arrived on Umrah or visit visas to leave the Kingdom before the expiry of their visas. Those who overstay their visas as well as those who extend any sorts of help to them have to face stringent punitive measures, the directorate warned in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

The penalties against the violators include six months in prison, SR50,000 in fine, and deportation. The Jawazat urged all citizens and expatriates to ensure that those who entered the Kingdom on Umrah and visit visas in line with requests made by them shall be sent back before the expiry of their entry visas. “Those who extend any help to the overstayers in terms of providing shelter, employment, cover up, and transportation shall also face similar penalties,” the statement said.

The Jawazat also urged Umrah service providers to report to the concerned authorities about the overstay of any of the pilgrims who came under their package. The violating Umrah companies and establishments shall have to pay SR100,000 in fine. The amount of fines will be multiplied in accordance with the number of violators. It also warned private firms against hiring any of the Umrah visa overstayers. Penalties against the violating firms include fines up to SR100,000, five-year recruitment ban, naming and shaming the firm, one year-jail for the manager of the firm plus deportation if the manager is a foreigner.

The Jawazat has started media awareness campaign to ensure the return of all Umrah pilgrims and visitors before the expiry of their visas. The directorate urged the citizens and expatriates to contact it through e-mail (mailto:992@gdp.gov.sa) to inform about any violations or seek any queries.

[Source: Saudi Gazette]
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