The biggest problem facing expatriates working in Saudi Arabia is bringing one's family into the kingdom. I had already covered the procedure for the same earlier (please click this link). But this was for bringing one's family on a visit visa. I would now like to mention the procedure for bringing one's family on a permanent visa.
I have mentioned several times in the past about the profession in the residence permit or iqama (See this link for more details). The biggest hurdle facing an expatriate working in Saudi Arabia is the profession in his iqama. It is quite common to find people working in one profession whereas his iqama would have something else as a profession. In fact, one ex-Principal of an international school here, a professor with a double doctorate, had to resign in frustration and go back, as he could not bring his family here. The reason? His profession was mentioned as a painter, and as per the rules, a painter cannot sponsor his wife! What a pity!
Coming back to our topic, the first thing you should do is to check your iqama profession. If it is mentioned as "Labor" or "Operator" or "Secretary" or any other non-supervisory category, you can straightaway assume that you cannot bring your family either on visit or on permanent visa. But if you are qualified, i.e., a degree holder and yet your iqama profession is in one of those mentioned in the 'restricted' list, then the best way out is to get your profession changed as mentioned here (please click here) and then apply for a family visa.
Next, you must get the following certificates attested in your home country.
1. Your original degree / diploma certificate
2. Your original marriage certificate
3. Copies of Birth certificates of your children
You also need the following:
1. Arabic translation of your marriage certificate
2. Arabic translation of your degree / diploma certificate
Note that all of these have to be done in your home country. For your degree certificate, you must first get the same attested by the HRD Ministry or the Ministry of Education (where applicable) of your home country's government. Once this is done, it has to be re-attested by the Saudi Embassy in your home country.
Once all the above are ready, they have to be brought to the kingdom by you. Now, you need two more documents. The first is your salary certificate which has to be attested by the Chamber of Commerce in your city. The next is an introduction letter from your sponsor in Arabic, complete with all the details of your salary, your position in the company, etc., in the company letter head with the signature of your company's authorized representative and company seal.
Approach any of the numerous agents here and get all the processing done through them. This would save you time and energy. However, you can also get the work done here yourself. In that case, do the following.
Get an application form for permanent family visa and fill all the details in Arabic. You may need an Arabic-speaking person next to you to do this. Make sure that there are no mistakes. Next, submit the following to the Passport Department ( Jawasat )in your city:
1. Original family visa application
2. Copy of your iqama
3. Original salary certificate / introduction letter from your company in Arabic with salary details attested by the Chamber of Commerce
4. Copy of the passport of each one in your family (eg., wife and each child)
5. Copy of birth certificate for each of your children
6. Arabic translation of the copy of your marriage certificate
7 Copy of your degree / diploma certificate which has been attested.
9. Arabic translation of your degree / diploma certificate.
9. Copy of your passport
10. Copy of your work permit card (the original is normally attached to the passport and will be in custody of your sponsor)
If you are going personally, keep ready with you the originals of the following:
1. Original degree certificate
2. Original marriage certificate
3. Original iqama
4. Original work permit card
The above may be required for verification and depends on the mood of the officer across the counter :)
If everything goes well, he will give you a so-called 'Yellow Slip' immediately. Get a color photo copy of this yellow slip for your records and send the original to your family in your home country.
Ask them to submit copies of all of the above documents, along with the original yellow slip and original passports of your wife and children to the consulate of embassy of the Saudi Government in your home country. Usually, if it is not Ramadan or Haj season, you should get a permission to proceed for medical test within 2 weeks. Once this is obtained, ask your family to get the medical test in the authorized place (mentioned by the Embassy). This medical report must be again submitted to the embassy. That's it. The visa would be stamped on the passports of your family and they just have to buy their tickets to join you in the kingdom.
Hope the above post was useful. Do let me know of the same. Your appreciation is my motivation to write more.