Saudi plans dedicated expat immigration queues at all airports

Published:  6 Jun at 6 PM
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Some 25 airports in Saudi Arabia are at present being either expanded or constructed, with most expected to offer expat-only immigration queues.

According to a spokesperson from Saudi Arabia’s Passport Department, the planned expat-only immigration facilities will help to speed arrivals through the gates in record time. An estimated 10 million residents re-enter the country every year after trips overseas, causing massive queues at immigration desks.

At present, only Gulf State citizens can get expedited immigration clearance on arrival, whichever state they enter. Expat residents in several states can apply for fast-track clearance, but only in their country of residence.

According to Makkah Passport Office’s representative, Mohammed al Hussain, the provision of expatriate queues is part of Saudi’s expansion plan, which includes upgrades and new construction involving 25 airports in the Kingdom. The expansion programme will result in enormous strain on the existing immigration control system, as passenger traffic is expected to almost double in the domestic sector and increase by 35 million across the board by 2020.

Meanwhile, tourists and expats in Qatar are being reminded to dress modestly in public by understanding that ‘leggings are not pants’. Amongst other gently phrased prohibitions are tightly fitting garments, sleeveless dresses and tops, shorts and skirts ending above the knee. The campaign, organised by the Qatar Islamic Cultural Centre, was apparently sparked by the increasing number of improperly –dressed visitors and expats seen in shopping malls.
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