10 Jan Saudi Arabia’s new fingerprint biometrics mandate for expatriates
The Saudi Arabian General Directorate of Passports (GDP) announced a new biometrics mandate for expatriates and their family members in the country.
Starting with immediate effect, family members aged six and above must register their fingerprint biometrics which is now essential for accessing government services and obtaining documentation.
In a bid to enhance national security protocols for those living, working or visiting the Kingdom, the Directorate also announced several changes to visa processes, such as electronic visas.
By introducing more flexible visa options for expatriates, the adoption of exit and re-entry visas will now allow foreign residents to return to Saudi Arabia until their visas expire.
Those who hold an exit and re-entry visa will also be able to apply for physical or electronic visa extensions and make online payments for associated fees whilst they are outside of the country using the Absher platform or Muqeem portal.
However, foreign nationals must ensure that their passports have at least 90 days of validity left for exit and re-entry applications and 60 days for final exit visas to allow for efficient processing times.
Saudi Arabia relies heavily on the contributions of foreign workers, with the Saudi General Authority for Statistics revealing that 41.5% of the total population is of foreign nationality.
To ensure a smooth interaction with authorities and navigation of crucial procedures, the Directorate emphasised that compliance with the new mandate is essential.