Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Touts for family visa in Saudi Arabia

Working in Saudi Arabia could be psychologically extremely stressful for those who are without their families :( My earlier post and the tremendous response it has received just proves this point over and over again, which has prompted me to write this particular post. This is quite understandable, because at the end of the day, no amount of money can equal the happiness when you are with your family :)
Desparation drives people to extreme steps. I have got emails from people saying that they have been contacted by touts to help them get a family visa :-O Let me make it clear. The rules are very straight forward and simple. If the job title in your iqama states that you are a laborer, you have no chance of bringing your family. The logic behind this is simple - if you are a laborer, you wouldn't be able to sustain your family with your income levels.
However, if you are a qualified person and you still have this job title in your iqama, the best option is to change your profession in the iqama. For this you need to get your degree or diploma certificate attested by the Saudi Embassy in your country. For Indian citizens, I have covered the procedure for this here. Once this is done, take your sponsor into confidence and through the Government Relations Officer of your company, fill up the required form in the Passport Office and get your job title changed in your iqama. The process is not complicated, trust me :-B
Never, ever, ever depend on any tout of middle man to get your family visa papers done. It is illegal and if you are caught, you may be deported or worse still, be jailed. It is also likely that by some hook or crook you do manage to get your job title changed through a tout or broker, but when you try to bring your family (which was why you did this in the first place), you would end up in trouble. Never do anything which is against the law of the land. Remember, you have come to work in Saudi Arabia, not to indulge in such activities :-S

53 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you kindly advice solution to bring family for person who has a good profession on his iqama also earning an handsom salary but not a graduade from university, if he can bring his family on visit visa ,is there are any chances to convert that visa to permonent residence visa.
i know the law of bahrain states that if you earn more then or equal to 2500 BD montly, no mater what is your profession, you can still bring your wife and children in bahrain.
i heard that saudi government is thinking of brining new laws like other gulf states related to family visa's and your sponser transfer, how far is it true?
thanks alot in advance for your coaperation in spreading awareness among expats.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

I do not know how you define a "good" or a "bad" profession. The Saudi labor department has a list of job titles who are not eligible to bring their families. If you are in the kingdom, contact any of the agents and he will verify and let you know whether you are eligible or not to bring your family.

Regarding converting a visit visa into a permanent visa, this is not possible. The procedures for the two are entirely different. That's why as per the new rule, when a person overstays his visit visa, there is a fine of SR10,000 plus immediate deportation for the sponsor (i.e., you).
I am not aware of Bahraini laws nor do I encourage any rumours in this blog. Honestly, I do not know what the Saudi Government is "thinking". I am neither connected with any Government agency nor am I a lawyer. What I write here are pure facts and nothing else.
Thanks for your comments.

bg said...

Hi expat Guru,
I have been regular reader of your blog, i have a situation, im on business visa which was for 1 month and got it extended for one more month, now my company is trying to get work visa for me, now they are asking for certificate attestation and police clearance certificate...i could see some company in india doing certificate attestation, but for police clearance certificate, it seems it would take 2 months through indian embassy as my passport is issued in chenna and first one in delhi.
Can you please throw some light on this.

Expatguru said...

bg,

You have no choice but to go personally to Delhi for getting your certificates attested. See my post on this in this link

http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2007/06/attestation-formalitites-for-indians.html

Regarding police clearance, you can try your luck with the Regional Passport Officer in Chennai by making an application to him citing your urgency. Good luck!

bg said...

Hi expat Guru,
Many a thanks for your answer. I really appreciate your noble endeavour

Regards
Bala

Asher said...

Hi,

I loved ur blog. Have written about it in my blog www.apnikitab.blogspot.com

Cheers

Pratik

Anonymous said...

Dear expat guru,
Great blog with reliable info. Keep it up!

I am a lady doctor with post graduate specialization hired to teach as an assistant professor in a medical college by the ministry of higher education, Saudi.

I intend to take this job and plan to move there with my children aged 11 and 8 by myself. My husband will not be able to accompany us now due to job constraints here in India.

I would like your advice on whether to take this job offer in the face of constraints and restraints faced by women in general without a related male accompanying them.

I would also like your comment and advice on education for children in Saudi (they are studying here in Tamilnadu in a well known school), the safety concerns, living by ourselves without a male etc and any other issues of relevance.
Also additional emoluments for a doctor that need to be stated in the contract.

Would be very grateful for this information. I have read all your blog entries and must say each one deals with common problems faced by expats with a detailed depth.

Thanks. Vidya

Expatguru said...

Thanks, Pratik. You have a cool blog too!

Expatguru said...

Vidya,

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments. You have a list of queries, so let me try to answer them one by one:

1. You want to know whether it is okay to leave your husband and come here with your kids. Doctor, this is a major decision which you have to take in consultation with your husband. Please see my link below which deals with working expatriate women in the kingdom

http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2007/06/openings-for-expatriate-women-in-saudi.html

2. You have asked the renumeration for a doctor. I would like to mention that nothing is impossible here. It all depends on how you bargain. You may find someone who is less qualified, less experienced and less skilled than you, but earning much more than you, simply because he or she bargained well. So, essentially there is no such thing as a fixed salary - it depends on your bargaining skills, supply and demand in the market and your luck.

3. You wanted to know how life is here without a male. Doctor, life is definitely not easy when you are not with your spouse - either male or female. In case of women without their husbands, it is even more tough. Usually, all major hospitals give their own accommodation and transport to women, but then you would find life really tough if you are going to bring your kids along with you, without your husband.

I would not like to generalize, but since you have asked my personal opinion, I think life would be easier here for you if your husband could get a job here, so that you all are together. If this is not possible, in my opinion, you are better off not coming here.

In any case, this is your personal decision which you must take in consultation with your husband. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear Expat Guru,

Thanks a lot for the sincere effort taken to give an honest and straight forward reply.

I am already living alone here in Tamilnadu with my children as my husband is often away on overseas posting.

So I thought I may just be able to carry it off in Saudi too.

Thanks. Yes we will take a joint decision on that soon . Vidya

സനാതനന്‍ said...

Dear Guru,
As per ur opinion only those have "Labour"as Iquama profession,face problem in geting family visa.But when I asked somebody working in my Passport department about it,they say that even Technicians could not bring family through the right way and only Engineerss,Doctors and Such classified proffessionals can bring family.My Iquama Job is AC Technician..can u please clarify ...

Expatguru said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Expatguru said...

സനാതനന്‍,

A small correction. I never said "only" those having 'Labor' aren't entitled to bring their families. I have always said that 'Labor' category cannot bring their families. In fact, there is a big list of categories available with the Interior Ministry, who are not eligible to bring their families (this keeps changing, but I understand that the last count was around 32 categories).

In any event, technicians can definitely bring their families. I know friends who are in this category and who have brought their families.

bg said...

Hi Guru, thanks for responding to my previous comment.
I would be leaving for new delhi this week to get the certificate attested, it would be very helpful if you can tell me how to get marraige certificate of mine and birth certificate of my son attested, so that i can finish most of the documentation from my side before i come here again
I presume HRD has nothing to do with Marraige certificate & Birth certicate right?
Also will the attestation happen on original certificate or copies?
Eagerly awaiting your post

Regards
BG/Bala

Expatguru said...

Bala,

The marriage and birth certificates need to be translated in Arabic and attested by the Chamber of Commerce in the kingdom. Don't waste your money trying to translate in Arabic while you are in India, because it has to be done anyway here. There are several professional translators who do both these jobs for a small fee.

You are right - HRD would attest only your education certificates and it would always be on the original.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I have been reading you blog for most of the time to search my problems or for just time pass when i am alone here in riyadh. You are doing great job man. I have some concerns. My profession is computer engineer...

1) i want to take my mother on family visa(because she want to perform hajj).

2) suppose i get convince my company. (Which i am hopefull they will agree if their extra iqama or some thing like that is not required).

3) what kind of letter is required from company for mother. is it the same NOC as required for family.

4) I still have to take my wife and son can i process all three visas at a time.

5) If my bad luck i dont get mother residence visa. then can i process family visa for wife and visit visa for mother at same time...

Thanks in advance for your help...

Expatguru said...

I don't know whether you are asking these questions only for "time-pass" (as mentioned by yourself) or you genuinely want answers. But since there are others who seriously want to know answers to the same questions raised by you and read this blog regularly, I decided to publish your comment.

The answer to all your questions is just one: You cannot bring your mother on permanent visa. You can bring your wife and kids on permanent visa and mother on visit visa.

shajeer said...

Could you answer some of my very simple questions regarding saudi visa as i am willing to move to saudi and i am not much aware of the visa procedures in saudi arabia.

My uncle send me one saudi visa having profession TV technician/TV Mechanic issued from jedhah.it cost me about 12000 saudi riyals.Whether this 12000 SAR is worth for a visa having such profession.? Actually i am a computer engineering degree holder from one of the reputed university in india.Now i want to know whether in future i will be able to take my family to saudia arabia to stay there.?.Is it possible for me to change visa profession to computer engineer after reaching there.? How much it will cost for me to change?

Is it difficult for me to find a good job in saudia arabia.I am a Bachelor in Technology and my stream is Computer Science and Engineering and i have two years of experience in software section.I am very good in my communication in English.Unfortunately i dont know to speak in Arabic.

Just consider this as asking to my Brother as you are seems to be very very helpful for the needed.
You are doing a great and reward job,May allah give you the reward..

Expatguru said...

Shajeer,

First of all i do not understand why you have to come to Saudi on such a visa. At this point of time, a 'technician" is definitely entitled to bring his family, but remember that this is a non supervisory category and at any point of time it could be classified under banned category for family visa purposes. My personal opinion is that SR12000 is better spent on something useful. You are a qualified IT person and there are better options for you if you come on an Engineer visa, since you already are one.

It appears that you want to first somehow enter the kingdom on whatever visa available and then later on search for a job.

Remember that Saudi economy is now booming and there is an acute shortage of skilled people. Also, there is no guarantee that you could change your profession after arriving here, particularly if you land with some unknown sponsor from whom you have purchased your visa. Try to get a job as an engineer and come on an engineer visa. You can register with a lot of agencies (for instance www.bayt.com mentioned on top of this blog and for sure you will get a good break). Good luck!

Hasan said...

Dear Expat Guru
I find your blog really informative, you are a guiding light in this dark world.I need some information & help from you.

My profession is FANNI HINDASA ANTAJ although i am a chemical engineer & MBA.Can i bring my family on this profession.
I cant go for profession change because in which i am working does not have that profession in its C.R.I dont know what to do i am very depressed i am staying in Riyadh for past 6 months without my family, my company not at all supportive, i am stuck.Please help me or suggest something so that i can bring my family here.

Regards
Hasan Atif

Expatguru said...

Hasan,

I feel sorry for your situation. First of all, whatever be your profession in your iqama, you have mentioned that you cannot go for a profession change and that your company is not supportive. Hence, it hardly matters what your profession is when you cannot bring your family.

You are a qualified person, Hasan. My advice to you is not to waste time with this employer. Try searching for a better job. If you are an Indian national, you do not need an NOC and so, just create an emergency, go on exit, and return to your new company. You are totally protected by Saudi law. If you are not an Indian, please check with the Saudi Embassy in your country whether the no-NOC law has been implemented for your country. I do not see any point in your continuing with this employer. The longer you stay and brood about it, the worser it would get for you, aggressively search for a better opportunity. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi expatguru,

I am an Indian in Saudi Arabia for the past 20 years. I have submitted my iqama for transfering to another company. However the process is ongoing and its been two months since my iqama expired.
I have got only a letter stating the process is ongoing
Could you please tell me how much time (approx)does the process take.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Normally it should not take more than a month. Since it is taking so long, for sure there is some problem either with the documentation or maybe something to do with the dues to be paid by your sponsor. Find out the reason from the passport office, as it should not take so long.

shajeer said...

Hi Expat Guru,

First of all let me congratulate you for the effort and time you are spending to clear most of the doubts of expatriates living in Saudi Arabia and thanks for your reply and advice for one of the comment posted before.
I am a B-Tech Computer science and Engineering graduate having more than two years of experience in IT/software industry. Currently I am working in Bangalore in a small software firm as a 'Software Engineer'. I was planning to come to Saudi Arabia for a free visa provided by one of my relative in Saudi Arabia. Most probably I will be reaching there soon after Ramzan. My plan is to come to kingdom and then search for a job. The problem that I am facing currently in my current job is very less pay and due to down in IT market I am not able to find a better job. Please help me by answering some of my doubts.
My questions are ,
1: Will it be difficult for me to find a job in Saudi Arabia?
2: What is the rate of IT growth in KSA when comparing to previous years?
3: Whether IT field is dominated by westerners?
4: What will be average salary that I can expect if I am getting an IT related job in KSA?
5: Do u have any list of IT related companies,if there could you please get me some of the list or the source that I can find it?
6: What type of industries could I try after reaching there?

I will be greatful to you if you can give me some more help regarding my situation.

Expatguru said...

Shajeer,

Thanks for your comments. Most of your queries are rather difficult to answer because they depend on the perception of the individual. My advice to you would be not to come to the kingdom without a job, rather try for a telephonic or a personal interview, negotiate well (including housing, which is a very big drain on one's income) and come to the kingdom with a job in hand. The days are gone when people used to somehow come to Saudi Arabia and then land up in a good job. Regarding your job search, you may register with any of the reputed head hunters (for example, bayt.com whose ad appears on top of this blog). The bottom line is that if you arrive in the kingdom and then search for a job, your bargaining potential reduces drastically, because the employer knows that you are desperate. Hope you understand. Good luck!

Mohiuddin said...

Hi ExpatGuru,

Loved your blog and the work you are doing for the Expats living in Saudi Arabia.

I have a very unique issue and I don't know if you can guide me around this issue. I would be grateful if you could.

Anyways, I am an Indian who was working on job visa in Saudi Arabia. I got married an year ago in Saudi Arabia with an Indian girl, who is under her father's sponsorship.

But now the situation is that I have not transferred her on my Iqama due to some issues with my sponsor and have left the kingdom alone on an exit visa 2 months ago. While I am currently working on returning back to the kingdom, my wife has given birth to a baby in the kingdom.

The baby got issued a passport from the Indian Embassy recently. But he does not have his name entered in the iqama since I have already left the kindgdom.

Now my wife can get out of the kingdom to visit India but my baby cannot since he cannot get an exit/re-entry visa.

What options do I have to get my wife and baby to India on exit/re-entry?

Expatguru said...

Mohiuddin,

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments. You are indeed in a very unique situation and I hope and pray for the early unification of you with your family.

There are two options which come to my mind. I assume that your wife's name is still in the iqama of your father-in-law. So, the easy way would be to add your baby also to his iqama as his dependant. Then both your wife as well as your baby can get an exit visa and all the three of you can come back to the kingdom on a fresh visa.

The second option would be to approach the Indian Embassy in Riyadh. Ask your father-in-law to go personally to the Embassy and arrange for an emergency exit visa for your baby. Your wife must also accompany the baby on exit visa. The bottomline is that you must remove your wife's name from your father-in-law's iqama immediately as she is now legally married to you, so please take the required steps at the earliest. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

respected sir,

i am working at reputed telecommunication organisation in saudi arabia and have profession'telecom technician' in my iqama. but i have BSc degree in Botany. can i apply for permanent family visa for my wife.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

You are eligible to bring your family on a permanent visa.

Anonymous said...

dear sir,

will you please give me an idea that whether there is any relation between the profession in Iqama and the qualification of a person. While appling for the family visa, does it matter to government official who is scrutinizing the documents that the profession of iqama is matches with the degree/certificate of the applicant who is applying for family visa? Please elobrate this issue because there are so many persons which by means of their profession in iqama is eligible for the family visa but they have confusion because their current degree/certificates/qualification doesn't match to their good profesiion in iqama. Can such type of people also bring their family or not. need your guidance on this specific issue. please elobrate.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

You have hit the nail on the head. This is ONE issue which causes so much of heartburn among expatriates. You are asking for the relationship between the profession in the iqama and the qualification of a person. The answer is: ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Then where is the problem?

Please open and read the following:

http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2007/09/visa-profession.html

Anonymous said...

AOA.
I would like to ask that if a company is forcing employee to resign instead of termination what is the law states.

Thanks.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

The law says that no one can be forced. But forget about what the law says. Try negotiating with your employer and get an NOC (if you are not an Indian citizen). In any case, it appears that relationship between you and your employer is strained, so it is better to look out for a better job, maybe in another country, rather than trying to fight him and in the process breaking your nose. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Dear Guru,
I got a job in Saudi Arabia and my proffesion mentioned in Visa that computer network technician (Fanni Shabakath Hasib) ,i would like to know that is my profession is eligible for family visa status?
Thanks & Regards

Anas

Expatguru said...

Anas,

You are eligible to bring your family provided that you produce your degree or diploma certificate in your profession attested by the Saudi Embassy in your country.

syed said...

Dear Guru,
This is very urgent since i am given my resignation and going on exit from Saudi Arabia in November 2008.I have some queries regarding my EOS benefits and Iqama.
1)My contract is for 3 years and i am with the basic of 2300 SAR per month.I finished 2 years here in this company.So, my question is what benefits and entitlements with i am subjected to.Because my PM is telling that i will be not getting any benefits like (Air ticket, Bonus etc..)because i didnt finished my service contract.
2)My iqama is getting expired in Nov Last week and i informed him that i dont want to renew it.Then he told me to submit my Iqama as it requires to complete the process for Exit in the passport office. I think something is wrong. please tell me is it true that it needs iqama for Exit in the passport office.

Expatguru said...

Syed,

Your company is right. You did not complete the contract, so you would not be entitled to benefits like return air ticket, etc. You also need to submit your iqama for stamping exit in your passport. Just make sure that you give in writing to your company that you want to go on exit.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your usefull informations, recently i was visited ministry of interior site and also registered. They give me a reference no. and advice to me tp contact passport office with your iqama. Please let me know the advantages of this site. Where i go and confirm the registration, in passport office no one give me proper response moreover no one know about this site even saudi. Your earlier advice is enable me to proceed further.

Regards,

Ahmed

Expatguru said...

Ahmed,

I do not know why you registered yourself in the Ministry of Interior's website. I also do not know why they asked you to contact the passport office with your iqama. I cannot guide you any further unless I have more information. If your purpose is to sponsor your family, then just see the relevant post I have written from the archives.

roby said...

Dear Sir,
I am working in Riyadh. After I availed vacation, my contract again started for 2 yrs. I wish to resign and go exit. But as far as my contract not finished, can my company stop me??. Pls. inform me. Thankz
Roby

Expatguru said...

Roby,

No one can stop you from resigning. However, you may not get your full benefits. Probably your sponsor may also not pay your return air ticket. It all depends on the relationship you have with your employer and the contract you have signed with him.

sj said...

Hi guru,

Please help and guide on the following two problems.

1. We are expecting a baby and want to bring my mother-in-law here in Saudi. I checked this from my company also but due to Hajj, they said that no visit visa is being processed for Muslim families. I have also presented a medical report/certificate from the hospital but nothing was useful. Please help what is the alternate ways to get visa on such emergency cases.

2. Also guide me what is the process of registering a new born baby and getting passport, visa etc. while living in KSA.

Thanks alot

Expatguru said...

SJ,

Unfortunately, it is impossible to bring family members on visit visa during Hajj and Ramadan periods. For Muslims, there is a total ban and for non-Muslims, only a 1-month visit visa is issued (which can be extended by two 1-month periods). Sadly, you have to make your own arrangements during this critical period.

I will be shortly writing a separate post on the formalities for a new-born. Just that I am a bit busy with my work.

Praveen said...

is noc required for an indian (house driver) who went on exit from saudi arabia, to come back again within one year in another free visa? please advise, its very urgent

Expatguru said...

Praveen,

As per the latest change in the rule by the Saudi Consulate in Mumbai, NOC is required for all categories. If you want to return without an NOC, you have to wait for 1 year if you had left on an exit visa or 2 years if you had left on an exit/reentry visa.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir

Is it necessary to get the marriage certificate attested by saudi embassy in india to bring my wife to KSA. What are the other docs. accepted for this purpose instead of marriage certificate, like legal affidavit etc.,

Thanks

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

It is an absolute must. Read this link for details

http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2008/08/permanent-family-visa-for-saudi-arabia.html

Anonymous said...

Dear All
I am still confused with NOC issue, Do we still need NOC to return back to saudi once we go on Exit, As Im from Hydrabad, I am working for some company due to the suitation of the present company I am force to leave the company and seach for other offer, I have an another offer for which I think I need to go back Home and come on new Visa, the new employer is ready to provide me visa, but still do I need the NOc
SBBAH

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Indian nationals do not need an NOC anymore. Make sure you go on exit, not exit/reentry. If you still have any confusion, contact the agent Gheewala in Mumbai directly.

FRFISC said...

Hello,

I was wondering if you know if there are any time restrictions regarding entering Saudi Arabia on a family residence visa. Say the visa is ready in December, would I be able to travel in March?

Also, what would the procedures for a newborn baby be. Would we have to apply for a separate family residence visa if the baby is born before the mother can travel to Saudi Arabia?

Thank you in advance for your reply.

(I'm not an Indian national nor am I travelling from India)

Expatguru said...

FRFISC,

What on earth made you think that this blog was meant only for Indian nationals?

Coming to your question, your family must reach the kingdom within 3 months of the visa being stamped. Usually it is mentioned in the visa itself.

About the procedures for a new born, please fill in the form using the link given on the top right corner of this blog for a detailed reply. I charge a nominal fee for this, to segregate spam from genuine requests and also to give a customized reply.

Anonymous said...

dear guru

please help about my concern, i am planning to file my resignation due to another job offer.my contract will be end this coming nov 2012 for two years contract.If my resignation will approve is there any problem might be encounter on immigration?i didnt do the eyes scan and fingerprint when I arrived here in saudi, and what is the ealiest time might i can get back here, beacause my new visa has 3 months availability. thank you so much

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I charge a nominal fee for my consultancy, which would get you a detailed, personalized reply by email.