Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Loss of exit / re-entry visa when abroad

This blog has always insisted on keeping multiple hard copies of all important documents such as exit / reentry visas, iqamas, etc. This, despite the fact that it is not insisted upon at the airports in the kingdom. I had written a specific article (click here) about this earlier. Despite all the so-called reform, fact is that the system is not fool-proof to give enough comfort for expatriates working in Saudi Arabia to do away with paperwork.
People do lose things and what happens if you are one among the unfortunate ones who lost their exit / reentry visa after leaving the kingdom? Thankfully, there are now two options to get out of this situation.
I had mentioned in my earlier article (click here) on the importance of keeping the hard copy of the exit / reentry visa, because the immigration officer abroad needs to check the validity of your visa before allowing you to cross the gate. In the unfortunate event of you losing this paper, just click on this link, fill in your details and get a printout. You also have the option of getting the details by sms through the same link.
The fact that such a link is now available is itself a "reform" of sorts, but real reform would be to simply scrap this exit / re-entry system itself. All countries require visas for entering, but how many civilized countries have visas for getting out? I am totally astonished that in this modern era when slavery is supposed to have been abolished, we still have such outdated mindsets and procedures. And if the kingdom cannot live without charging expats for each exit / re-entry, why not just add a fixed cost to the Iqama charges and simply scrap this system which is nothing but a pain in the wrong place?