VISIT VISA PROCESS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS – SAUDI ARABIA
There are a lot of expatriates in the kingdom who are currently without their families, but would like to bring them on a visit visa. This post is meant to guide those.
The most important factor which decides whether you can bring your family or not, is the profession mentioned in your Iqama or residence permit. Note that this may not be your actual job title. For example, it is quite common for an engineer to be hired on a labour visa on which there is no chance of bringing in family for visit or permanent residency. In such a case, the concerned person needs to get his profession changed on his Iqama before applying for the family visa. For all government transactions, it is the profession mentioned in your Iqama which matters, not your job title!
Coming back to the visit visa procedure for bringing your family into the kingdom.Before you proceed to fill in the online form, you must have with you the following documents ready:
1. Your original Iqama (keep a copy with yourself for records)
2. Your passport photocopy
3. Salary Certificate in Arabic from your Employer
4. Passport copy of the visiting member (parents / children / in-laws)
Note: A separate application has to be made for each individual family member whom you are going to sponsor.
For sponsoring your in-laws, the following additional documents are required:
• Certificate from a hospital in case your wife needs support for any reason, e.g., pregnancy
• Wife’s passport copy – this is to prove the relationship between your wife and her father / mother
• Copy of your Marriage Certificate, translated in Arabic and attested by the Saudi consulate / embassy in your home country
Once you are ready with all of the above, proceed to the next step as below. Have a person who can read Arabic next to you.
1. Then click on this link: https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/ and choose the language as ‘English’ as shown in the image below:
2. Once the page displays in English, follow the steps as shown in the image below:
3. The next page will display the Terms & Conditions in Arabic. Unfortunately there is no English version available for this application yet as seen below. You may go ahead and click on the button marked in the image below to proceed:
However, it can be translated through Google Chrome by clicking on the small icon on the top right in the address bar of the page as shown in the images below:
4. On the next page, as seen in the image below, the applicant will need to enter the Iqama no. and its expiry date and the Visa No. which can be found on the Visa stamp on your passport. The image below is after the translation from Arabic to English via Google Chrome:
And if in Arabic, follow the instructions in the image below:
A sample of the Visa no. found on the Visa Stamp can be seen in the image below:
5. On the next page, the system will fetch and display applicant’s Identity details on the screen. All that needs to be filled here is the Profession Title as mentioned on the Iqama, Email address, Mobile no. and make sure the name of the City is written in Arabic. If you do not know the Arabic name of the city, either take help or use Google translator to get an accurate translation. If some details are not mentioned, it can be filled in manually. Once again, it is advisable to have an Arabic native speaker to assist you in filling the form to avoid errors.
6. On the Next page, the duration of the visit has to be mentioned. It can be anything between 30 days to 180 days.
Note: In the column asking for the number of days of visa required, type “90”. The final visit visa duration is allotted solely on the discretion of the Passport Office. You may get a 3-month visit visa, otherwise it can be only a 1-month visa as per the new rules. However, you can always renew the visit visa twice, and each extension will be based on the initially approved visit duration. For instance, the visa was issued for 1 month, then it will only be renewed for 1 month.
7. Proceed by clicking on the ‘Addition’ button as shown in the image above to add the details of the family member/s for whom the visit visa application is being prepared. A pop-up screen will open up where the applicant will be required to enter the Name and other details of the family member/s. Kindly follow the guidelines mentioned below strictly in order to fill this form accurately.
???? In this form, the applicant will need to accurately enter the Name, Religion, Gender, Nationality, Relationship with the applicant and the City the concerned person will be travelling from.
Please note that the name of your family member AND the name of the sponsor (i.e., YOU, the applicant) should be filled ONLY in English exactly as mentioned on the passport. All the remaining data are to be filled in Arabic.
???? In case more than one family member is visiting you and are coming by the same flight, enter their names in the same form, otherwise use separate forms if they are travelling separately.
???? In the column asking for the purpose of the visit, type as “family visit” in Arabic.
8. Once you fill in this form and submit, you will get a filled form with all the given details as shown in the image below. Double check to make sure everything is correct. This form will contain an acknowledgement number on it. Print two copies of this. Keep one copy with yourself as a reference. On the other copy, the applicant must sign in the place mentioned in the bottom along with the date and most importantly, the signature and stamp of the applicant’s company sponsor must be taken.
9. Submit your application to Chamber of commerce :
???? Sign and put the date on the printed application.
???? Take sign and stamp of your sponsor on the printed application.
???? Visit to chamber of commerce of your city where your employer is registered.
???? Pay the Visa application fee of approximately 30 SR to Chamber of commerce.
???? After submitting, you will receive a print out from chamber of commerce.
10. Wait for about a week and then visit the above mentioned MOFA link once again. Type in your Iqama number and the acknowledgement number which is mentioned in the printout you took earlier. If you get the same page after hitting the ‘Enter’ button on your keyboard, it means that your visa is still under processing. Otherwise, you should get a so-called ‘Yellow slip’. Take two ‘COLOR’ printouts of this, and keep one for your reference, and note down the URL address.
11. The next step is to send the following documents to your home country or wherever your concerned family member is located:
???? The ‘Yellow slip’ color printout as mentioned above
???? Copy of your Iqama
???? Copy of your passport (remember, you are the sponsor)
???? Copy of your marriage certificate (required only when you plan to bring your in-laws to prove the relationship between your wife and her parent(s) – this is to ensure that the visitor is really your in-law
???? Printout of your last 3 months’ bank statement
???? A letter in English addressed to the Saudi Embassy / Consulate of your home country stating that you will be present to receive your guest
???? Introduction letter in Arabic from your employer giving details about your salary- Salary Certificate.
Send all of the above by courier to your home country. Along with the above documents, the following should be attached by your family member and submitted to the Saudi Embassy / Consulate in your home country:
1. Original passport of each family member who plans to visit
2. Passport copy of your wife (in case your in-laws are visiting – this is to prove that the visitor is indeed your in-law)
Good luck with your efforts to bring your family to the kingdom!
Who is eligible to be invited on a family visit visa?
We can only invite the following immediate relatives in Saudi Arabia on family visa either on visit or permanent status:
????Mother & Father in Law
Can I renew my family’s visit visa under the new law?
Previously, the visa initially issued for 90 days was renewable two more times for 3 months each, extendable up to a maximum of 270 days but as per the recent changes, the Directorate General of the Passport Office has announced that there would be no extensions in visa beyond the maximum limit of 180 days. Another change brought in recent laws is that unlike the previous law, there would be no stoppage of issuing visit visas and they would be issued throughout the year and it is totally upon the discretion of the Visa Office to offer a one-month visit visa or a 3-month visit visa or anything in between. If the initial visit duration 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 and so on.
What happens if the visit visa expires or the visa holder overstays?
Earlier, it used to be SR 10,000 for those who overstay and the visit visa expires. As per the new laws, this fine has now increased to SR 15,000 plus deportation for the first offence, and, SR 25,000 plus 3 months jail followed by deportation if the offence is repeated for the second time and SR 50,000 plus 6 months’ jail followed by deportation for the third offence.
How to check your application status online?
It may take a week or more to process your application. Keep patience and check your status everyday.
1. Go to MOFA website
2. Choose Application Submitted
3. Enter your application number, Iqama number and image code.
4. Click Inquire.
How to easily submit my approved application to Saudi Embassy in the home country?
Once your visa got approval, send copy of your application or the number of your application to your family member and it is advisable to let them contact the nearest agent. An agent will charge for further process in Saudi embassy of your home country but the task will become much easier for your family members.
Documents required for this process are Original passport of the concerned visit visa holder, the sponsor’s Iqama & Passport copies, 4 passport size photographs.
For married sister:
Authorization letter from husband must be attached.
For Mother in Law or Father in Law:
Marriage certificate and copy of the spouse’s passport and Iqama must be attached.
What if my application is rejected?
It is common sometimes for the visa application to get rejected. Do not worry and apply again and again till you succeed. Sometimes it may get accepted the 4th time, sometimes it may get accepted first time itself. So do not lose hope.
How much time does the visa holder have for visa stamping and travelling once the visa is stamped?
Once visa is approved Saudi embassy has 3 months of time for stamping. Once visa is stamped, visa holder MUST travel within 1 month else the visa will expire.
Hope this article was helpful.
Al khobar, Saudi Arabia