Saturday, June 27, 2015

Changes to family visit visa rules

The changes announced by the Passport Department to the rules governing family visit visa are small, but significant.



This blog has been keenly observing this since beginning and has been recording the same here (Click here for the procedure to apply for a family visit visa). The changes announced periodically have also been recorded here (click on this link). 

For those who were unable to bring their families on a permanent visa, the best and only option available was a family visit visa. Irrespective of one's visa profession, authorities were quite liberal in granting this visa. Until recently, the validity of visit visa was 9 months, which inexplicably was reduced to 6 months, much to the annoyance of expatriates working in Saudi Arabia. It was an unwritten rule that starting from beginning of Ramadan to the end of Hajj holidays, no visit visas were issued to Muslim applicants. No such restriction was there for non-Muslims. This was due to the absolutely illogical fear that Muslims would come on a visit visa, perform Umrah and continue to stay back. But then, you don't speak logic when it comes to rules and regulations in paradise, right?

Now, it has come straight from the horse's mouth. The passport department has announced that there would be no stoppage of issuing visit visas and they would be issued throughout the year. Finally, a positive step. But then, one step forward and two steps backwards. Here comes the 'fine' print. As already mentioned in my earlier post (click here), it was totally up to the mood of the guy stamping the visa whether to offer your family a one-month visit visa or a 3-month visit visa or anything inbetween. The saving grace was that at the time of renewal, one could go and personally meet the captain to request him for an extension of 3 months, a procedure which usually works. After all, human ego needs to be pampered, isn't it? All that is going to change now.

The passport department has announced that if your original visit visa was issued for 1 month, the renewal also would be only for 1 month. If it was issued for 3 months, the renewal also would be for 3 months. How much more stupid can the rules get?

Also, the fines have been quietly raised. Earlier, it used to be SR10,000 for those who overstay. This has now increased to SR15,000 plus deportation for the first offence. The funny part is, as per the new rules, the fine is SR25,000 plus 3 months' jail followed by deportation if the offence is repeated for the second time and SR50,000 plus 6 months' jail followed by deportation if the offence is repeated for the third time. Nobody even thought about a simple fact: how could someone repeat an offence a second and third time, when he has already been deported after the first offence? For those expats who have recently come to the kingdom, don't be surprised, you would get used to such jokes very soon :) 

10 comments:

Zaheer Ahmed said...

Assalam wa alaikum.
Ie applied have applied for Family visit visa just before the Ramadan starting, it was denied. Second time I have applied for my wife and son , also rejected. Third time I have applied for son only. That also rejected. Finally came to knew that, it will be stopped till Hajj.
Than I tired for Permanent visa for wife, unfortunately, Isteqdaam closed the doors and displayed with the board in Red color that NO APPOINTMENT AVAILABLE. I do not up to what time they will close this appointments for Permanent Visa.
After reading your new message, I feel that I can call my family of Visit Visa. Please endorse the same.
Engr Mohammed Zaheer Ahmed- Jubail- 0552108138

Expatguru said...

Zaheer,

The announcement came just yesterday, so I suggest you try once again now. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

is it possible to transfer my sponsorship from govt.hospital to husband?

Waiting4PCE said...

Hi
Firstly, thank you for this blog, it has been very informative! I am a Canadian citizen and would like to bring my parents, my sister and brother for a short visit... My parents and siblings are Muslim (if that matters)... Is it possible to do so? I read in other blogs that I cannot sponsor my siblings to come. Also, it would be my husband who sponsors them, he is an engineer, but on his iqama it says 'technician' , would he need to change it?

Expatguru said...

Waiting4PCE,

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...

Sir,I need personilized information,how can I contact you,its urgent

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I chsrge a mominal fee for my consultancy.

Expatguru said...

Anonymous,

Please fill in your query in the form using the link in the top right corner of this blog. I chsrge a mominal fee for my consultancy.

Kaleem Ahmed said...

I have applied for family visit visa I am hopeful Inn Sha Allah It will be issue. My question is tha after issue visa from mofa Saudi Arabia can I go pakistan for stamping my family visa and bring my family with me in KSA. Some of my friends told that you can't go pakistan for stamping or bringing your family. Please let me know about it. Thanks

Expatguru said...

Kaleem,

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.