If you are one of those expatriates working in Saudi Arabia and have sponsored anyone on a visit visa, this is a must-read for you. Some important changes have taken place to the law, which I thought of sharing with you :-S
For those of you who have started reading this blog recently, I would like you to refer to this link which gives the details of sponsoring your family on a visit visa.
First, the procedure for renewing a visit visa. Make sure that you renew your visa well before the expiry date. As per the new law, if an expatriate has sponsored someone on a visit visa and has failed to renew it (even by a day), he faces a penalty of SR10,000. The person who has been sponsored will be asked to to leave the country immediately. That is not all. Hold your breath. When your iqama is about to expire, it will not be renewed and you will be deported ^#(^
This is no joke. The Saudi authorities are implementing this rule very strictly with immediate effect. This is to check the people who are staying back unauthorizedly in the kingdom.
I would strongly urge you to do the renewal atleast 10 days before its expiry. The procedure itself is quite simple. You have to go to the Passport Office in your city (Jawasat), and take the form meant for renewal of the visit visa. Everything has to necessarily be in Arabic and remember, all dates have to be as per Hijri calendar. Use the calendar converter given in this blog to convert Gregorian dates into Hijri dates.
Take the help of someone who can write Arabic and fill in all the details. Remember that presently there is no multiple entry for visit visas, so you have to check the box given in the form as single entry. Also, you must write clearly the date of expiry of the visit visa, for which you are submitting the application for renewal.
If, for example, the validity of the visa is written as 3 months, you must calculate it as per Hijri calendar. The 3-month period starts from the date your visitor landed in the kingdom, not the date of issue of visa. To be on the safer side, always deduct a week, i.e., submit your application in 80 to 83 days, not exactly on the 90th day, if it is a 3-month visa.
You will have to fill in the passport details in the form and all personal details such as address, religion, etc. Do not leave any space blank. Once completed, you will have to attach with this a copy of your residence permit (iqama) and the original passport of your visitor.
Next, take it to the passport office and give it to the authorized officer. Usually it is a policeman with a single star on his uniform. He is the one who decides whether to renew the visa for 1 month, 2 months or 3 months. It is absolutely his discretion and mood, so the best you can do is to politely request him for a 3-month extension. Remember, there is no column in the form asking for the number of days of extension #-o
(Update as on 29th December, 2014: The passport department has now announced that the validity of visit visas has been reduced to 180 days, which means not more than 1 extension of 3 months).
He will just put his signature with instructions on the number of days of extension. Next, you will have to take this form to another officer who will collect SR100 for each visitor plus the original passport. If he is busy, he will ask you to come later. You will not be given a receipt for either the passport or the money, so do not even attempt to ask him. Don't make the blunder of arguing with him, you simply have to wait :-w
When you go back at the specified time, he will dig out the passport you had given earlier, stick on it a SR100 stamp and will put his seal and signature across the stamp. Wait, it is still not over yet >:P
The last step is to take this passport to yet another officer. Usually, he is a higher-ranked officer with 2 stars. He will also have to sign across the SR100 stamp, only then it becomes a valid document #:-S
That's it foks :-B Hope you found the post useful.