Saturday, August 11, 2012

What to do if family visit visa expires

I had already mentioned in my earlier post (click here) about the procedure for bringing your family on a visit visa. Recently, I have been getting a few queries from some people who forgot to send their families before the deadline expired or who were unable to do so due to certain reasons.

Before I proceed to explain how to deal with such situations, let us first examine why these things tend to happen. I would like to caution expatriates working in Saudi Arabia that if your family who is on a visit visa does not leave the kingdom before the expiry date, you stand to face two very big risks. The first one is that there is a heavy penalty of SR10,000. Believe me, there is no mercy from the immigration authorities on this, because once it goes into the system that your family overstayed beyond the visa validity, no amount of wasta can save you. But the worst part is that, there is a bigger risk. Once your Iqama is up for renewal, the system straightaway flags your name and passport number and you will be deported upon expiry of your Iqama.

One of the main reasons why expatriates miss the deadline is the confusion between Hijri and Gregorian calendars. If your visit visa deadline is supposed to expire in 3 months, it is always 3 months as per Hijri calendar and NOT as per Gregorian calendar. Because this is so important to everyday life for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia, I have specifically given the link in the right hand side of my blog. You can also view it by clicking it here.

I recently got a query from an expatriate family who had actually been to the airport for their flight back home on the last day of their visa expiry, but had to return  because the flight had got cancelled. They were in a terrible state of mental agony because, on the one hand the flight had got cancelled, but they were now illegal overstayers because their visa had got expired.

You can take comfort from the fact that in such extreme cases, there is a tolerance of 15 days given by the Saudi immigration authorities. However, please note that this is purely dependent on the mood and judgement of the officer. If, in the unfortunate event that you have indeed crossed the visa expiry deadline despite you making the best efforts, chances are that you would still be allowed to go by the next available flight without any penalty. However, you must definitely exit the kingdom by the next available opportunity.

I would like to once again stress the fact that this 15-day grace period is only in extreme cases and depends totally on the immigration officer's mood. But why to even wait until such a thing happens? Please let your family leave the kingdom at least a couple of days before the visa expiry (remember, it is the Hijri date which is counted not Gregorian date), so that they reach home safe and sound.

14 comments:

Alan Robinson said...

As usual, a very timely and helpful post, Expatguru. Thanks.

தியாகராஜன் said...

Hi,
I got an approval (Visit Visa) to bring my parents but unfortunately they cannot come over here. Kindly advise that is there any penalty for not bringing over here. please Note that still they have not stamped the visa's on their passport. Kindly suggest is there any validity on the visa's issued. Some told us that we got 3 months for getting stamped and one month for departure from the date of stamping. Thanks in Advance.
- Rajagopi

Expatguru said...

Rajagopi,

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.

mail2merchant said...

I came back from Saudi on Entry Exit Visa on 5th Jan 2011 and I didnt go back. As usuall I am banned for 2 years.
My Concern Is that the ban of 2 years applies from the date I arrived in India on Entry-Exit Visa
OR
I can go t Saudi Arabia after my Iqama Expires. as per the Expiry date mentioned on Iqama.

Waiting for your reply

Expatguru said...

mail2merchant,

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...

It is really unfortunate to see your great work coming to halt just because you have turned commercial and this blog is no more than basic info cum marketing tactic to earn consultancy.

Sorry to say, you been doing a great job but now just in the name of 'avoiding spam' you are ripping money off those expats who are already suffering one way or the other.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for your comments. If you go to a doctor to seek consultation, don't you pay him? Or do you expect the doctor to do a free service to you? The charges I levy is for the time I spend on each consultation. If you consider it as a rip off, you are most welcome to go elsewhere to seek answers to your queries. I do not need to justify anyone why I charge this, because this is my blog. I did not cheat anyone nor did I take anyone's money. Note that I have a regular job which pays me a decent salary and my priority is only for that. This blog is only my hobby. It just happens that I charge a fee for personalized consultancy, to put a value for the time I spend on each mail in answering, similar to how a doctor spends his time on a patient. Just as how a patient has a right to choose his doctor if he feels that the fees are a rip off, you are also free to choose your consultant. As for me, I do not do a free service, certainly not from those who can afford it.

Maxfac Sundar said...

At the outset a very big thanks to expatguru, for all that I've come to know after reading his blogs.
Information is a scarce resource in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Hats off to expatguru for enabling dissemination of free information on varied issues that keep us expats bothering about. With regard to personalised consultancy it is justifiable that expatguru seeks value for his time spent. For those concerned that it might be exorbitant, please stop short with reading the posts.

Expatguru said...

Thanks Sundar, for your comments and understanding.

Anonymous said...

Dear Exaptguru,

I am Krishnamoorthy, currently in Jeddah and first tried to remit USD10 via PayPal to you before posting a query.

However, I was unable to use my India credit card as it shows a message that the card is invalid for the transaction due to which I was not able to consult with you.

At the same time, I used the same card two days back and purchased airline tickets from Jeddah to India.

Please let me know any alternate method to send you the money as it is urgent for me consult with you.

It would be also helpful if we can get a chance to transfer money through online banking as it is also a more easier ans safer method of remittance. Please help us in this matter.

Thanks,
Krishnamoorthy.

Expatguru said...

Krishnamoorthy,

Did you make the payment in favour of expatguruin@gmail.com? Please check once more as a lot of readers from India have paid me without any problem. If you still face difficulty, let me know your email ID (will not be published) and I will get in touch with you.

Anonymous said...

RULES MENTIOMED IN YOU BLOG DASTED OCTOBE 2007 ABOUT FAMILY VISA (http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com/2007/12/family-visit-visa.html) ARE NOW CHANGED AND NEED TO BE UPDATED

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

Anonymous,

Thanks for your comment.

Before I publish anything, I personally verify. The particular post you are referring to was originally written in 2007. Not much has changed in practice since then. In case you have any update, please do let me know of the same. I will gladly publish it and give you credit for the same, after verifying it.