By Sobia Javed
Over the past couple of issues of DJ, we’ve brought you this new section, dedicated to expats in Jeddah. We’ve provided many tips, which will have, hopefully, have eased your transition to life in Jeddah. Iqama? Check. Apartment? Check. Transport? Check. Job? Check. Excellent! So, what’s missing?...
Is there a deep down feeling niggling inside you, and you can’t quite put your finger on what it is? Well, if you’re like most expats, you’re probably experiencing a large dose of homesickness.
Living in Jeddah is great, and DJ has proved time and time again that there is just so much to do, from diving, to horse riding, to indulging your taste buds in any food that takes your fancy. One thing that you’ll never be able to substitute here, though, is your family.
What can you do combat this feeling of homesickness? Maybe you’ve realized that Facebook, Twitter and all the other social networking sites can only do so much for you. What you need now, is a personal visit from your nearest and dearest. “How can I arrange this?” you ask. Easy! (well....kind of!). Why not apply for a family visit visa? This will allow designated members of your family to visit you here in Saudi Arabia. The validity of the visa ranges from one month to three months (the actual time permitted to you is decided by the person processing your application. You can, however, renew the visa if you are only permitted a one month visa)
Who is eligible?
Important points to remember:
• YOU are the sponsor of your family
member, NOT your employer.
• The purpose of the visit should be filled
in as “family visit” in Arabic
How do you apply?
First things first – you will need to get the help of an Arabic speaking/reading/writing friend (time to pull in those favors!)
• Go to https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/VisaFamilyApp/FamilyApp.asp and fill in the form. Only the names of your family members must be typed in the passport language. The rest of the form needs to be in Arabic.
• Once you click “submit”, a reference number will appear on the screen. Take a print out of this.
• Print out your completed application, and sign and date it. Take the form to your employer, and get a company stamp and signature on the form
• Obtain the following documents:
• Your Iqama
• A photocopy of your passport (if this is with your employer, get a copy of the back page as well as the page with your visa stamp on it)
• A letter from your employer detailing your salary
• A copy of the passport of the person that you are sponsoring to visit you
• If you are sponsoring your in-laws, you will also need a copy of your marriage certificate (translated into Arabic, and attested by the Saudi consulate)
• A copy of your spouse’s passport
• A copy of your birth certificate (if you are sponsoring your own parents) or a copy of your spouse’s birth certificate (if you are sponsoring your in-laws)
• Take your completed application form, a print out of the online reference number, as well as all of the above documents to your nearest Ministry of Foreign Affairs office (you can locate this on their website, which is cited at the end of this article)
• These documents MUST be submitted within three days from the day you submit the online form. If you are unable to do this, then you will need to complete the online form again and obtain a new reference number
• Go back to https://visa.mofa.gov.sa/VisaFamilyApp/FamilyApp.asp and type in your Iqama number and reference number. If your application has been processed, you will be directed to a screen showing you a “yellow slip”. Take a few color copies of this. As a further precaution, “print screen” the page and save onto your computer so that you have a copy of the URL address.
• Get the following documents together:
•A color print out of the “yellow slip”
•A copy of your Iqama
•A copy of your marriage certificate (if you are sponsoring your in-laws)
•A print out of the last 3 months of your bank statement
•A letter in English, addressed to the Saudi Embassy/consulate of your HOME country stating your sponsoring intentions
•A letter, in Arabic, from your employer detailing your salary
• Use a reputable courier service such as DHL (www.dhl.com.sa) to send the above documents to the person that you are sponsoring
• The above documents will need to be submitted to the Saudi Embassy/Consulate in your home country, as well as the ORIGINAL passport of the person that you are sponsoring. If you are sponsoring your in-laws, a copy of your spouse’s passport will also need to be submitted
• Wait for your family member’s visa to be stamped into their passport, and have a frantic spring clean of your apartment, ready to receive your long awaited guests!
This is just a simple guide to help you - please be aware that the application process may vary on a case by case basis. Please refer to the following websites for further guidance. Best Wishes!