Monday, April 6, 2009

New multiple exit reentry visas stopped?




These are indeed tough times. The myriad procedures and complex policies, half of which are not officially announced, are already keeping expats on their toes. To add to the misery, here's the latest rumour - I call it a rumour because it is still not yet official - new multiple exit / reentry visa for eastern expats, particularly those in the eastern province, has been "temporarily" suspended.

Expatriates working in Saudi Arabia over the years develop a 'skill' not normally present elsewhere. That is, if they hear a rumour, they believe that in all probability it must be true! Much as I try not to encourage such talk, particularly in this blog which has such a high credibility rating, it is just impossible to skip this particular one because it affects all of us.


One of my friends in Jubail recently had applied for a multiple exit/reentry visa. He followed the usual procedure - paid up SR500 through the bank and gave his application with all the required papers. His application was simply rejected without a reason. And then followed another and one more and yet another one - all of them rejected for no reason. No one would give a reason and there is no one whom you could go and approach. "Khalas" and "Yalla" are the standard replies.


It seemed very strange. So I contacted my friends in other companies and surprisingly, they too had the same story. In fact, the information I obtained was that there is an unofficial ban on issue of multiple exit / reentry visas but this is only in the eastern province. There is a small consolation though. Expats with iqama professions such as doctor, engineer, etc., as also western expatriates are exempt. I tried to read a pattern among all the friends whose cases where rejected, and this story seems to be credible.

My sources tell me that work on expansion of the Saudi-Bahrain causeway has already begun and this measure is just to avoid over-crowding the causeway! I believe that in the past 2 months, the causeway had not less than 5 major chock-o-block traffic jams, something typically seen during vacation time when people use Bahrain as a transit point to go home.



Now don't ask me for proof of this information. I can't provide you a hyperlink, certainly not for a 'rumour'. So you've got to either take it or leave it. What this shows is so typical of the drastic steps officials taken when faced with such problems. It appears to be a case of burning a house for killing a fly inside. Let me reiterate once more, that I write this particular post with abundant caution. There is no official announcement, no official press release or nothing which gives you detailed information on this. It is only through experience of fellow-expats that we really realize that something has changed suddenly.



Aren't there better ways to control the crowd in the causeway rather than creating a blanket ban on multiple visas? For example, why not provide a couple of separate counters for those having multiple visas? Why not create a rule that those having multiple visas need not undergo the process of stamping in the causeway and that they could just pass through after passing their passports under a scanner. In fact, why not have the stamping done before the bridge itself for multiple visa holders and business / frequent travellers? And finally, isn't it just plain and simple stupid to link the iqama profession with a multiple visa, given the fact that 90% of the expats don't have iqama professions matching with the actual work they are doing! Ideally, the system of exit/reentry visa itself (either single or multiple) should be done away with, but I don't see this coming so soon.


Just thought of keeping you informed. No one really knows how long this unofficial ban would last. Let's just hope that thngs return to normal soon. What do you think?

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Expat Guru
I want to know that is there a profession "Marketing Representative" in the profession list of labour court.Also tell me can Sales Representative bring his family ?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Yes, this is a supervisory category trade and is entitled for a family visa.

The Village Idiot said...

If it clarifies anything with you, I just received a multiple-entry business visit visa from the Houston Consultate General without any problem. The invitation letter came from a company in Jeddah.

Expatguru said...

The Village Idiot,

What you are referring is a multiple-entry business visa. What I have mentioned is the multiple exit/reentry visa for permanent visa holders, i.e., people holding a residence visa (iqama). The two are totally different.

P.S. You have posed an intelligent question, so better change your pseudonym to something else! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Expat Guru

I appriciate your work.

One of my friend told me 2 days ago that MOFA now days is offering Wife Visit Visa for all profession & there is no restrictions on any profession. Is that true?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

I have no idea about this. The best way to make sure is to apply yourself and find out. You don't lose any money, just some time and effort. This way, you will be absolutely sure. If you are successful, please do drop in a line in this blog for the benefit of other fellow-expatriates. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

As with others posted here, i have also secured recently, a multiple entry and an MVPI here in the Eastern Province. The process is cumbersome and fraught with anxiety because of the company handling the matters and the government systems.

I agree that the reentry visas need abolishing. It's not just unfair and expensive, but it's exploitive and gives me the feeling of being enslaved.

Shakti Prateek Sharma said...

Dear Sir,

I had resigned from my company about a month back for personal reasons at home. I wanted to leave Riyadh, as soon as possible but my employer is shifting the dates again and again giving excuses that my client does not want me to release at present as there is lot of work in my project. I have been working here from past 22 months and I know to what extent work is going on in side my project.

Please suggest what approach should I take as It is very urgent for me to move to India with proper exit, I mean with experience certificate and a reliving letter I am not interested in getting the release as I am not planning to return to saudi arabia again.


Kindly suggest.

Expatguru said...

Shakti Prateek Sharma,

Tell your sponsor firmly but politely that you positively want to leave by such and such a date. If nothing happens, tell him that you will be approaching the labour court. If he holds up your passport, approach the Embassy who will arrange to send you on emergency exit. Of course, you may have to pay for your return ticket. Once you reach home, get a new passport. Good luck.

Joe said...

Dear ExpatGuru,

I recently had an offer to work in KSA at one of the hospitals on a one year contract. I'm a Paramedic by profession. My question is; I have a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor charge from 2001. It was simple fine of $100.00 and I did not have any jail sentence imposed. Would this criminal conviction keep me from obtaining a Residence visa to work in KSA? Thanks for any insight on this topic and I appreciate all of the info you provide readers. =)

Expatguru said...

Joe,

If you have already paid the fine, then the file as well as the case is considered as closed. It should not stand in your way of getting a residence visa. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expat Guru, Thank you very much for this blog. I want to bring my family as permanent visa,when I applied for visa they said my iqama and passport showing different profession,Iqama showing Funny Kharbai(Electric Technician) but in Passport showing Kharbai (Electrician) only,so they reject my requestPlease advice me what can I do for next?If Iqama showing funny kharbai can I apply again in another office? I mean in different place? Please help

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

The real reason seems to be the word "technician". Of late, particularly in Riyadh region, people with technician visas are not being encouraged to bring their families. Try in some other office. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

would like to know that i can go back to saudi again. i came from saudi to india on june 2008,with re-entry visa. but i cannot return back to saudi within the re-entry peroid.now i want to go back to saudi. is it possible to get a new visa to saudi. my iqama is expired on januvary 2009.please help me.my email id is jiji_sd2002@yahoo.com

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

You can enter Saudi only after January, 2010.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expat Guru,
Thanks lot for your reply,really appreciate for your valuble advice.I would like to ask once again about my problem please help me.I applied permanet family visa through company in Al-Khobar but request was rejected due to the below reason
1)Iqama showing Funny Kharbai(Electric Technician) but in Passport showing Kharbai (Electrician) this was the reason they said.
2)Iam working in Jeddah ,can I apply once again personally in Jeddah stugdham office? First time applied in Dammam through company representative.I have all documents including company salary leter,Diploma Certificate attested by HR and Saudi Consulate, also marriage and all documents.Please advice me is there any chance ? same reason they will say or not?Iqama showing "Funny Kharbai" and Passport Visa showing "Kharbai".Please advice.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Try once more. If possible, use wasta. Good luck!

rejo said...

HI Expat Guru,

This is just to say a good work done form ur side... nice to see such an initiative from ur side.

I have just applied for a mulitiple entry re-entry visa. I am working in Al Khobar in the eastern province as an Electrical Engineer.

I will let u know once the thing is cleared. Guess it must be done in a day or so.

Regards

Rejo George

Nile Shah said...

Dear Expat guru,

My profession in iqama is chemical technician I got my multiple exit reentry visa in october09 (valid up to May). However recently may friend with same visa was applied through comapany denied multiple visa and was given single exit reentry visa. Is there recent change in rule for multiple?

Expatguru said...

Nile,

There is no change in the rules as far as the Government is concerned. A few companies are reluctant to give multiple visas for no reason.

Anonymous said...

Hi Expat Guru!

Really, really glad to have found your sight. I have recently been offered a position teaching in a Saudi University. I am waiting for my employment contract and believe work has already been started on getting my visa. I am worried about this: I have 2 misdemeanor DUI charges in the U.S. which will likely show up on my police report. Aside from these and a few speeding tickets, I my report will be clean. All fines and fees have been paid in full. Do you think that there is any possibility that my visa could be denied due these charges?

I appreciate any opinions you can offer . . .

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

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

Anonymous said...

hi please give me advise! I work saudi for about a year then I went back home for an emergency vacation and I didnt come back any more. And my exit re-entry visa expired. and my iqama expired this august. can I still come back in saudi with different company? thanks for immediate response.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Please fill in your query using the form through 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.

Ethan said...

Hello,
I hope you can give me a quick piece of information -
I'm an American working at a private school in Riyadh. My profession is listed as teacher on my Iqama.
I'm trying to get a multi-entry visa, but my school says that the ministry won't allow it for teachers. Is this the case? I was promised one before I signed on, but the man who promised it has told me that he was unaware of this limitation.
Is there a resource that you can point me to that says that I have the right to a multi-entry visa if the employer grants one to me?

Thank You,
Ethan

Expatguru said...

Ethan,

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 and confidential reply by email.

Anonymous said...

Hello Expatguru,
I am female doctor here in saudi. My husband has not good in health.. He wants to visit me here in saudi. Is it possible?

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 and confidential reply by email.

Anonymous said...

Hey there I'm currently facing a criminal conviction for drug charges, I was wondering if I get convicted would that stop me from getting a work visa or even a visitor visa to go and visit my family who are currently working there.
Cheers

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 and confidential reply by email.