Running low on funds, Saudi Arabia demands pilgrims to pay extra taxes

Running low on funds, Saudi Arabia demands pilgrims to pay extra taxes

As part of its efforts to cover the large deficit in its public budget, Saudi Arabia continues to hold citizens, residents and visitors accountable for filling its financial deficits in various ways .

On Saturday, the Saudi government imposed a fee of 300 riyals ($80) on anyone who wants to extend a visit to the kingdom to a total of four days.

The Cabinet  said in a statement that it had agreed to amend a paragraph of the schedule of the structure of visas for the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages.

The amendment explained that a pass visa for visits, whether by land, sea or air, is given for 48 hours at a fee of 100 riyals ($26.50), and if the visitor wants to stay for 96 hours, the estimated fee is 300 riyals.

In early November, the kingdom allowed pilgrims to come from abroad after a seven-month ban due to the repercussions of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

The decision coincided with the kingdom hosting the G20 leaders’ summit, which will be held by default this year due to the circumstances of the pandemic, and has faced sharp criticism due to the Saudi crimes in Yemen.

Over the past years, the kingdom has increased the frequency with which fines and residence fees are applied to residents and visitors, in an effort to boost its non-oil sources of income and reduce the presence of expatriates.

Saudi Arabia has suffered tremendous financial losses due to the war against, both in terms of standard military costs and due to Yemeni retaliation strikes.