Saturday, March 22, 2014

Apply for Family Visit Visa Online in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is said to be a dry place since there are not too many options for the outdoor activities. In this regard, single people who are living in Saudi Arabia try to bring their family members to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to spend quality time. If your family is here, life becomes a bit interesting. In this regard, there are two options. First option is to bring your family on permanent visa and the second option is to bring them on family visit visa. If the stay is short term, family visit visa is a better option.

Requirement for Family Visit Visa in Saudi Arabia
  1. You should have a valid original iqama with validity of at least 90 days
  2. Copy of Passport
  3. Copy of passport of each member of your family you want to invite for family visit visa
  4. Acceptable Profession to apply for family visit visa (See list here) Unfortunately, if profession of your visa is not listed in one of the professions listed in the list, you will have to go for change of profession.

Following Persons can be invited on Family Visit Visa   
  1. Wife
  2. Children
  3. Father
  4. Mother
  5. Father in Law
  6. Mother in Law

Step by Step Process to Apply for Family Visit Visa
Filing online application
Here we shall provide you step by step guide to apply for family visit visa in Saudi Arabia. First step of applying for Family Visit Visa is to fill an online application on the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have provided a detailed guideline of filling online application for Family Visit Visa of Saudi Arabia in this link. I would recommend you to read it and fill the application. In this way, you will be able to avoid many mistakes which cause the rejection of Family Visit Visa application. "Guideline to fill online Application for Family Visit Visa in Saudi Arabia"

Submitting the Application to the Employer
Earlier, you had to print the application for family visit visa applied, get it signed by your sponsor and then submit it to the Chamber of Commerce. We used to call this process “Tafeel”. However, now the procedure has been changed. You just need to apply it online as per the procedure above, print it and hand it over to the Government Relations Officer of your company. He will authenticate the application online and it will be submitted to the MOFA. Chamber of Commerce offices are not accepting any family visit visa application now. After a while, your status will be changed on the MOFA website. 
Note: This process has not changed in all the Chamber of Commerce offices all around the Kingdom. Some offices are still processing the visit visa applications and it is better you check with the office of your city. Ultimately, it will change to the process described in the first paragraph under this heading.
You can check the status using the guidelines provided in this link. Recommended: Check Family Visit Visa Application Status Online.

Submitting the Application in Saudi Embassy
If your family visa is approved, you need to send application number to the relative in your home country. It is better to contact some agent in this regard. He will charge you a little amount but your work will be eased out in your home country. Normally agents who issue Umrah visas have some contacts in Saudi Embassy and they can speed up the process of your family visa application. The visit visa obtained from the procedure mentioned must be stamped from the Saudi consulate or Saudi embassy of the respective country within 3 months of its issuance as per the website of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In some countries like Pakistan, Saudi Government has established Etimad Centers. You do not need to contact agents in case Etimad Centers are established in your native country. You directly go to them with the report of medical test. They will process the permanent family visa for you. Charges of Etimad Center are also same as mentioned above. You will have to take an online appointment at Etimad Center and the procedure of taking online appointment at Etimad Center is explained in this linkFollowing documents need to be submitted to the Saudi Embassy.

  1. Original passport
  2. Copy of your Iqama (Remember you are sponsor)
  3. Copy of your Passport
  4. 2-4 passport size photos
  5. If you want to apply for visa of your married sister, authorization letter from her husband.
  6. If you want to apply for the visa of in-laws. You need to present the marriage certificate and copy of the passport and Iqama of your wife.

Once the visa is processed and stamped by the Saudi Embassy, visa holder will have to travel within 3 months, failure to do so will result in expiration of the visa.

Procedure to Check Family Visit Visa Application Status

Officially they say, it takes 3 days but normally it takes a week to process the visa. Even if it takes more than that, don’t worry. You are dealing with Saudi government department so you should build up some patience. Go to this link, and enter your application number and Iqama number to get the status of your application. If everything goes fine, family visa will be issued. I have explained the in this link the Procedure to Check Family Visit Visa Application Status. Moreover, the meaning of different messages sent by the MOFA to the applicants is also detailed in that link.

If Some More Documents Required
In some cases, your application for family visa is not approved straight forward. They will ask you to submit the application along with some documents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Now attach all the documents mentioned above with the application and submit it to the nearest office of Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You should go to MOFA office at around 11 am. This is the time when MOFA office will be least crowded. Timing of MOFA office is 7am to 2pm with Zuhr prayer break. If you will come in the early morning, you will find it very crowded. Continue the same process mentioned above for checking the online status of application. Soon, you will see good news there.

If Application is Rejected?

If online application for the family visit visa is rejected, do not worry. Apply for it again and in many cases it is accepted in second attempt. Even if it is not accepted that time, you should not lose hope, there is another way. You can apply for the Family Visit Visa through Istiqdam. I have explained the procedure in detail in this link "Apply for Family Visit Visa through Istiqdam". Application of Family Visit Visa for one of our friends was rejected 3 times, than he applied through this way and it was accepted.

Validity of Family Visit Visa
  • Once visit visa is issued, it can be stamped by Saudi Embassy in your home country within 3 months of its issuance date. 
  • Once family visit visa is stamped in your home country by the Saudi Embassy, it is valid for 1 month from the date when it is stamped.
  • Asif Shahzad Khan: I had pass through this bad situation recently on 15th Nov 2015. My wife visa was stamped on 4th Sep 2015 and I read it from this blog itself that I have 90 days after stamping the visa. But it was proved wrong and my wife was offloaded by the airline at Islamabad airport and I had to come alone. The immigration officer pointed towards the validity of the visa which was clearly mentioned as 30 days and that was because of this blog that I never checked the validity and was punished. Please make sure to read what is written on the face of the family visit visa before relying on the information provided on the blog.
  • A fee of SR 2,000 per passport is charged for the single entry family visit visa for 6 months. A multiple entry family visit visa for 1 year costs SR 5,000 and a multiple entry family visit visa for 2 years costs SR 8,000 per passport.

2 Years Multiple Entry Family Visit Visa: The fee for 2 years’ multiple entry family visit visa is 2 years. The visa will be initially issued for 90 days which will be extended for further 90 days during the stay in Saudi Arabia. The fee to extend the 2 Years Multiple Entry Family Visit Visa is SR 100. After spending 180 days, the family visit visa holder will have to travel out of Kingdom and come back again on the same visa. In other words, the stay at one time cannot exceed 180 days. You don’t need to go back to your home country, you can go to the nearest border and perform the exit and entry procedure. However, you must be having a visa of that country to enter it.

Extension of Visit Visa
It is very important to mention here that expat living in Saudi Arabia on Iqama takes the responsibility of the family members entering to the Kingdom. In case of Overstay of any family member, even if the stay is of a single day, SR 25,000/- fine is imposed on the expatriate with Iqama. In fact, you should plan the departure 3,4 days before expiry of the visa date. You never know, due to flight problem you may have to stay at airport or some other bad thing may happen to you. You can read about this topic in detail in this article, "What to do if Family Visit Visa Expires"


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