Saudi Cabinet approves higher visa fees, traffic fines

Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet has raised the fees for visas and travel, and fines for traffic violations in a bid to boost its revenues.

The Cabinet, holding its regular weekly session, approved proposals by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Economy and Planning to increase revenues from the non-oil sectors.

Under the proposal, the single-entry visa fee was increased to 2,000 Saudi riyals. However, the fees for foreigners who apply for the first time to perform Umrah or pilgrimage will be borne by the state, the Cabinet said.

A six-month multi-entry visa will cost 3,000 Saudi riyals, while a 12-month visa will be 5,000 riyals and a 24-month will be 8,000 riyals. A transit visa will cost 300 riyals.

Anyone leaving the kingdom through a seaport will have to pay 50 riyals.

Foreigners will pay 200 riyals for a single trip abroad lasting less than two months, and 100 riyals for each additional month within the validity of their residency permits.

A trip of less than three months will incur a 500-riyal fee and an additional 200 riyals for every month within the validity of the residency permit.

The new fees will be implemented from the new Hijri year, corresponding to October 2.

The Cabinet also approved proposals to increase traffic fines and prison terms for violators.

Drifting, one of the major phenomenons attracting young Saudi men, was among the most hard-hit by the punitive measures.

Under the new rules, first-time drifters will have to pay 20,000 riyals and will be referred to a court. Their vehicle will be impounded for 15 days.

However, a repeater will have to pay 40,000 riyals and referred to the court while the vehicle is impounded for one month.

A third-time drifter will pay 60,000 riyals and will have his vehicle confiscated. The violator could be forced to pay a fine for a rented or stolen car.

Prior to the announcement of the new set of fines, violators paid 1,000 riyals for a first violation, 1,500 riyals for a second violation and 2,000 riyals for the third violation.

The Cabinet, chaired on Monday by Prince Mohammad Bin Nayef in Jeddah, agreed to increase fees for the use of banners and billboards. The increases were from 200 riyals to 600 riyals per square metre for some of the boards and from 100 to 400 riyals for others.


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