Hello! It has been awhile since I’ve written a post about KSA. Now that things are up and running, expect frequent posts.
In one of my earlier articles, I discussed in great detail about the attestation process for US citizens applying for a Saudi Arabia work visa, those living in KSA who wish to invite through MOFA, and those wishing to change to a professional job title.
In the past 8 months a lot of changes have happened with the attestation process and now it has even become more crucial for the above-mentioned processes.
First and foremost, the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission is a separate entity from the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia. They have their own staff, operate different hours, completely different procedures, and have many more complexities. It is very important for you to understand that the Embassy and Mission are separate. This will help alleviate some of the stress when engaging in this process.
The Mission is solely responsible for attesting your US based degree. The attestation is completed when the Mission stamps your degree with a red stamp and lists the dates of confirmation. The Mission must make contact with the host institution to verify your degree and this is called a FERPA request.
Now many people think, just because you have a degree and a transcript, it HAS to mean that it can be easily confirmed. You would be surprised about how much goes on behind the scenes. Ill get to this in a minute.
In order to start the degree attestation process, we ask for:
- A scan of the first page of your passport
- A scanned copy of your diploma
- A copy of your official contract, which must have the company and Chamber stamp
- A no objection statement allowing the Mission to access your records
- A sealed envelope containing your transcripts
- A sealed envelope containing a method of study letter. This will state whether you studied your degree online, in class, or through Distance learning
Now only items 5 & 6 need to be directly sent to the office. The sixth step is the new part of the procedure. Quintessentially, this is exactly what the Mission is supposed to do. So why do I have to send a letter? The reason is simple, many of the institutions fail to make contact with the Mission and this causes great delays. Upon receipt of the documents we will begin the process of attesting your degree.
First, we will verify your degree with the National Clearinghouse and we will include this paper when we meet with the Mission.
However, the process on the Saudi side could take anywhere from 5-15 business days AND this is solely dependent on the institution that you studied at. Why does it take so long?
The Mission will make contact with your school. Your school has to then confirm that you did indeed attend and graduate. Then this information is sent to MOHE in KSA. KSA then verifies the cable and sends it back to the Mission, who then will affix a stamp to your diploma. Now, if your school delays their response or ignores the request, the process incurs serious lag time.
What if my degree is rejected? What if I studied online? Or distance learning?
Stay tuned to the next article which I will address the above points.