This blog post is meant to simplify and explain the befuddled information regarding family visas to Saudi Arabia. So, you got the job in Saudi and you may have been there for a few months. The government has finally approved your Iqama and now you just want to bring your family to Saudi. How can I do this?
As I have mentioned in a previous post, the Iqama card is your life line and will dictate your life in KSA. This is true even when applying for a family visa. The profession listed on your Iqama will help OR not help you in getting the visas. The more prominent and lucrative job titles; doctor, engineer, systems analyst, or professor, will have a better chance to get the approval from MOFA for visa issuance. If you happen to hold a lower class job title such as a laborer, dredge worker, or house servant; the chances for bringing your family are very, very low.
Now that we have discussed the specifics of the Iqama, the visa process is relatively straight forward. You will want to go to the MOFA webpage, which allows you to initiate the process for family visas. I do apologize for those who do not speak Arabic. If this is the case, I recommend you sit with your government relations rep or a trusted translator. But more on this shortly.
Before you enter the site, you will want to make sure you have these documents in your immediate vicinity:
- Iqama card
- Copy of your passport
- Contract from your Employer which shows the salary amount
- Copies of the passports of those you are inviting to KSA
- Copy of Marriage certificate
- Copies of Birth certificates for any kids
Now, you are ready to begin. As I mentioned above, the MOFA site is only in Arabic, SO you will need some help, unless you are a fluent speaker. It is important when they ask for the sponsor, that you put your name as it is listed on your Iqama card. When it ask you for the length of stay, put 90 days. This is the longest amount of time MOFA will approve for a visa, but it may be only for a 30 day stay.
I get a lot of questions, asking if they can get a longer stay and I always advise, it really depends on what the MOFA officer wants to do that day. I have seen visas for 10, 30, 90, 180, and 5 years. There is not a rhyme or reason. But you are able to renew a family visa. More on this in the next post.
Make sure, you select family visit for the purpose of travel. Once this has been finished, you will need to submit the application. Print TWO copies. Keep one for your records and the other, you’ll want to sign and date at the bottom. Then you will need to take this copy to your local office and have them sign and stamp with their seals. Once you have gotten all of this done, you will want to take the documents we discussed earlier, this paper, and forward all to your nearest MOFA office. The documents must reach this office within 3 working days of being submitted online or the visa will no longer be in the system. It is very important to keep in mind MOFA as the rest of Saudi Arabia are closed on Thursday and Friday.
After about a week or so, you’ll want to check the link for updates. You will have to input your Iqama number and the application number, which is listed at the top of the printout. If the page looks identical to what you have submitted to MOFA, then your visa is still under review. However, if the visa has been approved it will be a yellow screen. This is commonly referred to in the kingdom as “The Yellow Paper”. Print two copies and keep one for your records. Now we visit the second half of the process.
You will want to send these documents to your family members in their host country:
- The paper you printed
- Copy of your Iqama
- Copy of your passport
Your family members will want to follow these instructions, which are listed on our web page.
However, they will want to contact Justin Hackett at 202 684 7150 to discuss their case. In addition to the documents they received from the Saudi, they will need to provide:
- Passports of all applicants
- Birth Certificates
- Marriage Certificates
Generally, the process will take about 5-10 business days to be approved by the Embassy. Expedited options are available if needed.
If you have any questions, regarding the procedure, please send me an email. I am here to help.
Good luck with your travel plans.