Thursday, May 15, 2014

No more visit visa extension

Not a week passes before some vague rule hits expats working in Saudi Arabia like a bolt from the blue. Here is the latest one, which is bound to create ripples, particularly for those who have been planning to bring their families to the kingdom on visit visas.

As mentioned in this blog earlier, probably the one issue which creates the most heart-burn and anxiety for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia is that pertaining to bringing their families into the kingdom. Linking one's visa profession rather than his actual job title with an expat's capability to bring his family is the core of the problem. An alternative for those unfortunate people who could not bring their families on a permanent visa, was to bring them at least on a visit visa. Until now, irrespective of the visa profession, almost anyone who applied was given a visit visa as long as his sponsor had no objection to it.

 
The best part of the visit visa was in its validity. This blog had already explained earlier (click here) on the procedure to bring one's family on a visit visa. Depending on your luck, you could get a visa which was valid for either one month or up to three months, something totally dependent on the mood of the officer who issues it. There was also a provision to extend the visa two more times. It is not necessary that each extension would be of the same duration as the first validity, but the maximum continuous legal time a dependent could stay in the kingdom with two extensions was up to 9 months.
 
All that is now about to change. I had explained in detailed about this earlier (click here) on the validity of these visit visas. The Passport Department has now announced that except Syrian nationals, there would be no further extension of any visit visa. This is indeed bad news, particularly for those whose dependents were given visit visas valid only for one month. The new rule is set to take effect from 1st July, 2014. There is a very heavy penalty if your dependents overstay the deadline. You would end up paying SR10,000 at the time of renewal of your Iqama but worse still, it would be followed by deportation stamp on your passport (final exit), which means you can never return to the kingdom any more. As mentioned earlier in this blog (click here), if your family is already in the kingdom on a visit visa, please click on this link to know the validity of their visas. Note that all dates follow Hijri calendar and not Gregorian, so use the date conversion tool given in the bottom right corner in this blog or just click here for the same. Of course, nothing prevents you from bringing them again on a fresh visit visa, but then you have to go through the procedure of painful paperwork all over again - what a torture!
 
All this seems to be more of a money-making exercise and makes expatriates working in Saudi Arabia wonder whether it is worth it any longer. The winds of change have started blowing in GCC with neighboring Qatar already on the way to abolish its sponsorship as well as exit visa system (click here). Rather than doing away with pointless unproductive regulations, the kingdom has now taken a regressive step with this new rule.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

can we hope any exceptional in case of mother (in connection with her daugher/in law delivery)?

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

At the moment, unfortunately there seems to be no such intention.

Anonymous said...

Assalamualaikum expat guru: i have been following your blog and also seeking guidance,i read recently That if an employee Is not paid for three months Transfer Can happen without sponsors consent..i havent got salary since feb i work for a polyclinic and the employées strength Is around 45 they give cash and not cheque after signing a receipt...please please let me know if its possible to get the Transfer under such a situation without sponsors consent.please reply me sir.i would be forever indebted to You...

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

You can certainly transfer your sponsorship. Contact your embassy immediately who will guide you on the detailed procedure.

Anonymous said...

Well , (heart Burning? ) The Kafeel's here Are buying and selling Arabian visa's to foreigners ..
And as they Buy it And Arrive here
They Find Themselves Stuck With No Other Choice to PAY the kafeels Without reasons, and the Visa )AS BEEN SOLD OR GIVEN BY THE KAFEEL)
is not related to the jobs they are offered(well mostly not) and the kafeel leaves them on their luck, is that right at all ?
SO the Kafeels that Apply and sell the visa's and do not even give them a job proper or anything and ask them for payment again and again what would they do, they will get sick of it and stop paying the kafeel as they have been paying and the iqamas are not renewed...... the kafeel's should be held Answerable for that ! And there is no such reason to stop expanding of VISAS(none can apply for it without a Non - expired iqama )

Anonymous said...

Hi ExpatGuru.
Thanks for sharing wonderful and timely information. However, I would like you to correct me, but the link https://www.eserve.com.sa/VVSWeb/ you mentioned above,cannot be used to check visit visa validity. I tried it for both my parents with all possible combinations and it is giving invalid entry. However for exit re-entry for my kids, I am able to get correct response.

Thanks.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Thanks for pointing it out. It was working earlier as I had used the same link for my own family in the past. I have absolutely no clue why it no longer works specifically for visit visa. Thanks anyway, for your update.

Syed sultan Ibrahim said...

Thanks for your Comments.No Extension will be made in Entire Kingdom or Any particular area. if there is any Possible after July to extend visa.

Expatguru said...

Syed,

I am not the one making these rules so I have absolutely no idea. At the moment, there seems to be no news to relax this rule.

Abeer Ahmad said...

Hi Expat GUrru,

It also happened last year. It seems as if its beacuse of Ramadan and Expansion of Harram.
Last year after hajj visa extension was openned.
Any information that this year it is due to same reason or some else reason

Expatguru said...

Abeer,

Every year visit visas are temporarily suspended only for Muslims from Ramadan until the end of Hajj season, but during this period they are always issued for non-Muslims. This is the first time that there is an official announcement about an outright ban on extension of visit visas, so it doesn't seem to be related to Ramadan or Haj. Let us wait and watch.

santhosh said...

dear Sir,
After waiting in vein to get residence visa to my wife, I brought her on visit visa two days back. now this is a very bad news as the visa mentions it has to be stamped every month for next three months. will they refuse to stamp after 1st july?. how else I can get residence visa for my wife. the problem seems to be my degree certificate which is not completely related to my work experience. I wonder how my wife residence visa is affected by my education certificate whereas it dint affect my work visa. please help with alternative ways to get residence visa
thank you

faheem said...

I heard that these new rule of no extension to visit visa has change and reverted back to old rules.

Steven said...

I consider myself extremely lucky to have been issued a 3 month visit visa for my step-son. The process is not yet finished though...I have to visit the MOFA tomorrow to submit the paperwork. Wish me luck!

Expatguru said...

Steven,

Good luck! Do let us know your experience and I will gladly publish it here for the benefit of others.

Unknown said...

Could you please tell me the validity of visit visa before stamping at Embassy and after stamping before entry

Expatguru said...

Unknown,

Three months and one month respectively.