Thursday, March 4, 2010

Final exit procedure from Saudi Arabia

I always used to say that the only thing certain in Saudi Arabia is uncertainty. Well, not exactly. For expatriates working in Saudi Arabia, one thing is certain - it is the final exit from the kingdom. The date of final departure may vary, but come what may, you must leave the kingdom one day or the other. With this solemn thought, I thought that it would be a good idea to document the exit procedures from the kingdom and give it as a checklist for the benefit of my beloved fellow expat brothers and sisters.

1. Whether you are going to break your contract or you would not like to renew it, you must give 30 days written notice to your employer. This would legally entitle you to get your End of Service benefits. As far as possible, try to make your exit as smooth as possible, without quarreling with your employer, whatever may be your grievances. Afterall, we have all come for money.

2. Remember that your housing contract is different from your employment contract. You would have to give a written notice to your house owner at least 30 days prior to your departure. You are legally bound to pay up for the remainder rent till the end of your housing contract. Usually, expats find fellow-expats to occupy their houses and get the proportional rent from the newcomers.

3. If you have a landline/DSL connection from STC, I would advise you to surrender your connection at least 10 days prior to your departure. First go to STC and collect a printout of your pending bill. Then go to Arab National Bank, fill in an STC-specific form available there (it would be completely in Arabic, so you would have to take someone's help), pay up the amount, and bring back the receipt to STC. This is the procedure in the eastern province. In places like Riyadh, you can directly pay up the amount in STC. Take a photocopy of the bank receipt and the STC bill and keep them safe till you leave the kingdom. Get your connection cancelled in the STC system. Remember, you would not be given any receipt or proof of cancellation, so make sure that you actually verify yourself in the STC computer screen before leaving the office. The last thing you want to happen is to be sent back from the airport.

4. If you are with your family, I would advise you to send them home a few days prior to your departure. You don't want your family also to suffer in case you land in some kind of trouble, right?

5. Keep your SAWA/Mobily/Zain prepaid card with you with a decent balance. This would be your only mode of communication till you leave the kingdom. There is no need to surrender this. You can always transfer the remaining credit to your friends when you leave.

6. If you have any traffic fines pending, pay them up right away and keep clear.

7. If you have a car, sell it at least a week before you leave. Never EVER make the mistake of driving a car after you have sold it. It is quite tempting that you may ask your friend to use his car till you leave, but remember, in case of an unfortunate incident, you would be in really deep trouble.

8. You must make absolutely sure that the name has been transferred to the person to whom you have sold the car. Remember that you would not be given any proof of transfer, so I would advise you to take a photocopy of the buyer's istemara once you have sold it. Retain it with you till you leave the kingdom. There have been several cases where people have been sent back from the airport, because the name has not been transferred in the system even though you might have actually sold the car.

9. In case you are using VOIP for making internet phone calls, make sure that you have adequate credit balance. This would prove to be a blessing in the last few days.

10. Pay up all your dues and surrender your credit cards well in advance.

11. Try to dispose off your house along with the goods. You may not get the same price as what you purchased, but remember, you cannot save every single riyal.

12. Pay up your electricity bills and keep a copy of the receipt till you leave the kingdom.

13. Do not have any pending dues to anyone. Not only is it ethically wrong, it might even land you in trouble in the airport.

14. Before you submit your resignation, take an introduction letter from your employer with complete salary details. Some employers may not like to give it once you submit your resignation, so this is just in case.

15. A couple of days before your departure, send the most essential things you need back home by cargo. Remember, it costs money, so be sensible and send only those items which you think are badly needed. These days most things are available everywhere.

16. Withdraw almost all money from your account at least 2 weeks before you leave. Never EVER use the ATM in the last 15 days. The last thing you want is trouble with your bank because your ATM card got stuck up in a machine. Have all transactions only by cash.

17. Your ESB will be given only 2 days before you leave. Take a statement from your employer stating that this is your final settlement money and take a photocopy of this letter. If you are going to transfer money home from an exchange other than your regular bank, always make sure that you take a friend along with you. Take a black bag and try to keep a low profile. The time between removing cash from your bank and paying it at an exchange is extremely important. Remember, eyes are always watching you and the last thing you want is some thief to snatch your hard-earned money.

18. Always book your final departure a couple of days AFTER you send money home. Make sure that the amount has actually reached your account back home.

19. Take a statement from your bank that the account is closed and that there are no more dues. Keep this paper till you leave the kingdom.

20. When the final exit is stamped in your passport (which will be on a separate piece of paper stapled to your passport), take a photocopy of it and retain it even after you reach home. You will need this in case you want to return to the kingdom for employment. This is extremely important. The exit paper may or may not have a stamp, this is not so important. Having this paper is very cruicial.

A very important update:

As per an advisory from the Ministry of Immigration, Iqamas are supposed to be surrendered to the Passport Office before you leave the kingdom. The earlier practice of surrendering the Iqama at the airport has now been stopped. Take a look at my detailed article (click here) on this subject. I would advise you to take a photocopy of your Iqama and get your sponsor's stamp and signature on it. This is to safeguard you at checkpoints, so that you can show to the police that your Iqama has already been given to your sponsor for surrendering to the passport office. As mentioned in my post (click here), please note that simply having an exit visa no longer guarantees that you will be out of the kingdom.

21. There is a column in this exit paper in which you have to sign. It is a declaration that all dues to you have been settled. By signing this, you are giving up your right to sue anyone at a later date. and unless you sign this paper, the guy in the immigration will not allow you to pass.

22. As already mentioned, make sure you collect the exit paper from the airport counter, otherwise you cannot return to the kingdom for employment.

23. In case you are leaving the kingdom along with your family, always make sure that you stand in the queue ahead of your family and not the other way round. In case your family stand before you and they are sent without a problem, but unfortunately you get stuck up due to any reason, you would have to return whereas your family cannot come back. To save yourself from this trauma, let your family always behind you so that if you are sent back, you can still be with your family.

24. Once your passport is stamped, you can relax as you are officially out of Paradise.


45 comments:

Joe said...

What a pity that you have to leave, Expatguru. Thanks a ton.

Anonymous said...

When one door closes another door opens. Good luck.

Shaiku said...

ohh so sad to hear that...you are and were a good friend and guide for many...

"Meeting and Departure are the way of life, Departure and Meeting is the Hope of Life"...see you soon...

urban said...

I hope that you will come back to the kingdom at least to see some faithful friends. best wishes for getting back to homeland.

" ungalai vandhu paarpatharku innum vehu naal illai. "

Deepa said...

So Long !
All the best
Take care

shine said...

it is a real loss to all those who were intersted in saudi arabia. Your good work and great help will always be appreciated by many

shine

Anonymous said...

Please don't leave. Is it really necessary? Where are you going to go now? Please keep us informed, because we have connected through this blog in the real sense of the term.

Thanks for all the help and advice that you have been offering to people like me who have learnt almost everything about being expatriate in the KSA through your blog.

Anonymous said...

Your site was a good help for many people.
Wish you all the best in your life ahead !!

jahangir said...

you have helped lot of peoples through your experience and informations i really thank you and your efforts.

May God Bless you... All the best..

Regards

Anonymous said...

Good luck, I've justed arrived and have been reading your blog for about 6 months, can i ask why your heading home?

Add said...

Wish you all the best in your future endeavours. Thank you for all your help.

AliBaba said...

You will be badly missed. Wherever you go, may you find peace and prosperity. I hope we may still interact from time to time through your blog or mine.

Anonymous said...

I felt very sad to hear that you are going to india on final exit. Your blog was very very informative. You were a guide and a christopher for the expats in KSA. Please dont stop blogging. As i suggested you earlier please write an article on keeping the required documents when we go for any governmental work. This will really help many people. Thanks a lot.
Best of luck.

Expatguru said...

To my dear readers, well-wishers, friends and fellow expat brothers and sisters,

I am overhwhelmed by the tremendous response you have given. A very big THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart.

I am now disabling further comments in this blog. As mentioned in the post, I am ready to give paid consultancy on a case to case basis. Thanks once again and God bless you all.

working visa philippines said...

Thanks for posting this. Now, all of the employees that are planning to exit a company will have a guideline.

Anonymous said...

HI, IM HAVING A TROUBLE LATELY W/ MY DSL LINE.. I HAVE 1000SR BILL THAT I HAVE NOT PAID AND SUDDENLY TODAY I FOUND IOUT THAT MY BILLS WENT FROM 1000-5000SR WITHIN A MONTHS. AND IM HAVING MY VACATION THIS WEEK. I DONT HAVE ENOUGH MONEY TODAY BUT I WILL HAVE MONEY AFTER I RETURN FROM MY VACATION. WILL I GET IN TROUBLE IF I WENT TO VACATION WITHOUT PAYING MY DSL BILLS? OR THE WORSE WILL IT SHOW UP MY UNPAID BILLS INT THE COMPUTER WHEN I CHECK IN TO THE AIRPORT?

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.

Anonymous said...

Dear Expat guru,

I am an indian staying in saudi ,my parents wish to marry me to a pakistani girl here. But the problem is that my father in law is going for exit his iqama has been expired 5 months back and his sponser is in no mood to renew. My QUEStion is
can i marry her in the Kingdom before they depart the problem is her iqama is expired.I want to know if i can do nikah here and transfer her to my iqama as am a proffesional and eligible for family status.Thank you in advance, looking forward for your earliest reply

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 give you a detailed personalized reply.

Anonymous said...

I want to know that if i left the saudi without getting the proper exit, can i still go back and work for some other company. I have been out for over three years now and have a new passport. I will really appreciate your inputs

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...

thank u very much for giving us valuable information..

Anonymous said...

what if my passport will expires a week before my exit here in jeddah, do i have a problem here or in my country philippines?

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.

Pinoytoolbar said...

This article about exiting Saudi is really helpful even to those who already traveled in the middle east for a number of times. Your advice are practical and mindful of the real situations that may arise. reading this article also conveys the feeling of angst and worries of expats finally leaving Saudi. Thanks for this great post!

CanD said...

Dear ExpatGuru,

i just want to ask you that if leave the country without exit visa, how many years later i can come back to KSA.

In this time being can i work at other Middle east companies.

Still i am searching your blog, i could not find any info yet.

I really appreciate your support regarding this issue.

Expatguru said...

CanD,

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.

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir.
I am looking forward to leave on exit within couple of weeks, as i am not able to renew my iqama. my sponsor has already taken money but he is not able to renew. so i am planning to go on final exit and come back. Do i still need to settle down my credit cards or leave them as it is. Since i would love to use them once i am back within two months. Your quick responsoe will be highly appreciated.

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.

Dhakesh N. Gautam said...

Sir;
i have been working in KSA since 6 Month but I want to change my Profession in my Visa and Iquama as an accountant
so can u please advise me about the Procedure and how could i do it
Thanks
Rajan

Expatguru said...

Rajan,

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.

kangucup said...

best article,
may be, if u have a time, you can see at this link,

http://leaderin365days.blogspot.com/

Marzook said...

Dear mr Expatruru,

I really appreciate your efort and helping mind.

I read people's comment.

Im a Civil Engineer and my iqama position also civil Engineer.

Im in saudi for last 6 months.

I need to bring my wife.
Do i need my sponsor's letter?

I have attested my marriage certificate and Degree certificate from Srilanka Foreign Ministry.

I did not attest is saudi embassy.

can i attest it here anywhere in Saudi?

Reply me please.

xxxxxxx@gmail.com
(edited by Expatguru)


Thanks
Marzook

Expatguru said...

Marzook,

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...

Hi Thanks for the info.I am going on final exit.I have a loan from a bank which i cannot pay in full.so, i am depositing my ESB in the bank, and make arrangement to come back after, say six months, and continue paying the instalment,as usuall. is that okay?What happens in this situation? cant they stamp the final exit, or will they stop me at the airport?

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.

Ethan said...

Hi sir,
One of my friend told me that if some is leaving Saudi Arabia on final exit he or she will be charged for the net usage.if the sim is registered in their own iqama number and how many mbs the have use so far and they hav to pay at the immigration before leaving. ..is it true ir just a rumor? If u no anything about this please drop a comment below. ..
Thabks in Adavace. ..

Expatguru said...

This is nothing but rubbish. Don't believe in such rumors.

Chris said...

Dear Expatguru --

first and foremost, thank you for a brilliant site that cuts through so much of the red tape when it comes to life in Saudi. Secondly, please forgive what may be a naive question (still a newbie): namely...

...been working here for nearly a month now. Still within the 90 day period on my visa and with an Iquama that was successfully processed. I now wish to leave. (nothing on Saudi - simply want to escape an untrustworthy and incompetent employer). Given the above, do I need my employer's permission to leave, or can I just skoot of my own accord?

Many thanks in advance if you can find the time to answer this question, and continued power to your pen for the fine work you do...

Chris

Expatguru said...

Chris,

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...

Dear,I came here in saudi arabia on 20th december 2013. My visa is mechanical engineering visa and but I am not engineer, when I have tried to registered myself on saudi engineering council website I received a rejection and my iqama cannot be processed. I need to go to my country on final exit but my company told me the documents need to send riyadh at ministry. Any one having advice? What to do?

Anonymous said...

Wow.. good detailed description. Hope many will be benefit from this.

PS: Is there any way to kick some Saudi's butt and run away smoothly. I hate to see them hate us without any reason. Awwwhh...

Anonymous said...

Hai..I working in US Based company in riyadh, they are telling final settlement will be deposited after 2 weeks from final exit on your home town Account..Is it OK???

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

I need to get more details from you to give a detailed reply. 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.

Rahil Fayaz said...

I am one of biggest fan of your blog, As i can see it with so many years. Thank you to Expat Guru.