Source: Arabian Business

If you’ve ever experienced the panic-inducing moment of realizing you’ve misplaced your passport or residency permit while living abroad, you’ll understand the relief that comes with streamlined digital services. Saudi Arabia, recognizing the needs of its large expatriate community, has introduced new e-services through its Interior Ministry’s Absher and Muqeem portals.

Digital Transformation

The latest offerings include reporting lost or stolen passports or residency permits, managing visitor’s digital documents, correcting translated names, checking visa information, and receiving employer notices. These advancements aim to simplify processes, save time, and enhance services for expatriates and visitors.

Saudi Arabia outlines rules for expats' entry from banned countries | Saudi – Gulf News
Source: Gulf News

Lt. Gen. Suleiman Al Yehia, chief of the Saudi General Directorate of Passports, emphasized the importance of these services during a launch ceremony in Riyadh. With a population of around 32.2 million people, Saudi Arabia hosts a significant expatriate workforce, totaling approximately 13.4 million individuals. These new digital services cater to the diverse needs of this community, facilitating smoother interactions with government agencies.

Simplifying Travel Procedures

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has made significant strides in digitalization, spurred further by the challenges posed by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The launch of the Absher app in 2013 marked the beginning of this digital transformation, offering citizens and residents access to a wide range of government services. Over time, the app has evolved to encompass various functions, from job applications to passport renewals.

Saudi Arabia's Absher App: Controlling Women's Travel While Offering Government Services | Human Rights Watch
Source: HRW

One notable development is the extension of exit/re-entry visas for foreign residents, allowing them to return to Saudi Arabia until the last day of their valid visas. Additionally, exit/re-entry visas can now be electronically extended while individuals are outside the country, simplifying travel procedures.

Global Logistics Hub

Beyond immigration services, Saudi Arabia is also making significant strides in e-commerce. According to a report by Agility Logistics, the Kingdom’s e-commerce revenue is projected to grow annually at 13.5% through 2027, outpacing the global average. This growth is attributed to simplified licensing for domestic delivery providers, increased investment in warehousing and fulfillment infrastructure, and strategic economic diversification efforts outlined in Vision 2030.

With around 80 logistics development projects in the pipeline, supported by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia, the country is poised to emerge as a regional e-commerce leader and global logistics hub. The transformation underway in Saudi Arabia is not only enhancing the expatriate experience through digital services but also positioning the Kingdom as an attractive destination for investors and businesses alike.

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