The biggest problem expatriates face in Saudi Arabia is bringing their families to the Kingdom. Social environment in Saudi Arabia is very dry and if one does not even have family, it becomes drier. Below, I will be explaining in detail how one can bring his family in Saudi Arabia on permanent visa (Iqama). I will be treating as you are an Iqama holder in Saudi Arabia and informing you about the procedure you need to adopt after getting your Iqama. Please keep in mind; it is not a simple process. You need to be patient and read all the requirements very carefully. Ministry of Interior has also started the online process of applying for permanent family visa for some specific professions. We have covered this procedure in this link “Apply for Permanent Family Visa Online”. However, it is important to mention here that below procedure is still valid to apply for permanent family visa.
- The most important hurdle in bringing family on permanent visa is your profession on Iqama. Visa for family can only be issued if you have a good profession on Iqama. List of professions who are eligible to bring families on permanent visas can be seen by clicking here. “List of Professions”
- If profession on your Iqama is suitable to bring your family to Saudi Arabia on permanent visa, you will have to change your profession. A detailed guide to change the profession can be read by clicking here. “Change your Iqama Profession”
- If you want to change profession, you will have to send your original degrees to your native country for attestation by Saudi Embassy and Saudi Culture Office. We have also provided in detail the step by step process of getting degree attestation from these two institutions in this article. “Attest Degrees for Saudi Arabia”
- If you have a degree issued by Saudi University, there is no need to attest it.
- If you are intending to bring your wife and children here in Saudi Arabia, next step is to get the marriage certificate and birth certificates of children (along with Arabic Translation) attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your country, then Saudi Culture Office and at the end Saudi Embassy. I have covered this topic in detail in this link “Procedure to Attest Marriage Certificate for Saudi Arabia”
Process in Saudi Arabia
- Now, I assume that you have all these documents in your hand in Saudi Arabia. It means Iqama profession is suitable, you have your attested degrees, attested marriage certificate and attested birth certificates of children along with attested Arabic translated copies. You will have to go to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia to get all of them stamped by MOFA. If these are not stamped by MOFA, Jawazat will not accept it. It is better to go there at around 10am in the morning. You will find it very crowded at 7,8 am. Make sure you have translated all these documents from an approved translator of Saudi Arabia. They are not going to attest it without translation.
- You need to take a letter from your sponsor directed to Jawazat requesting from them to process visa for your family. It needs to be attested by the Chamber of Commerce of the city where your employer is registered. We have listed down some important points for attestation of documents from Chamber of Commerce. I would
recommend you to read them before personally visiting chamber of commerce.
- If your profession is related to Engineering, you need to get membership of Saudi Council of Engineering and accountants will have to get membership of SOCPA “Procedure to get SOCPA Membership”
- You also need a form to be filled in Arabic as an application of the permanent family visa. You can ask government relations officer of your company to give you copy of this form. This form needs to be filled, signed and stamped by the Kafeel. If you do not find this form from the Government Relations Officer of your company, you can take a copy of it from Isteqdam office.
- You will have to book an appointment with Istiqdam office online. The procedure to book an appointment with Istiqdam is given in this link. “Procedure to Book online Appointment with Istaqdam”
- You need to submit visa fee of SR 2,000/- per family through SADAD. Try to pay this fee from your internet or phone banking. It is always preferable to pay it from your personal bank account. I have explained the procedure of making payment in this link. “Payment of Fee for Permanent Family Visa”. However, if you are a government employee, you are exempt from making such payment.
- Now you need to ask from Government Relations Officer of your company about the Jawazat Office you need to visit. There are several Jawazat offices in big cities. If you are living in Jeddah, you need to go to Istiqdam Jawazat Office situated in Rehab District. Moreover, you need to visit the Jawazat office of same city from where your Iqama is issued.
- Try to go to Jawazat Office before it is opened in the morning. You will see people standing in queue; you should also be in this queue. When gates are opened, try to enter early and get token. You will be required to appear to the counter at your token number.
- You need to submit attested degrees along with translation, attested marriage certificate, and attested birth
certificates of all your children, copies of passports of all the people applying for the visa, copy of the Iqama and letter from the sponsor stamped by Chamber of Commerce.The Degree Certificate translation should be done from authorized centers only. Some of the translation centers don’t have license so be careful.
- Take copies of all the original documents and submit them to the window at your turn. Whenever there are some attested documents, make sure you have taken copy of main document as well as attested stamps. He will check the documents and will ask you to wait for a while. After around 30 minutes, you will be called again at the window and if everything goes fine, you will be given a yellow slip. This yellow slip is actually visa for your family. Take the slip and check if the names and other details mentioned on the yellow slip are the same as mentioned on the passport and other formal documents.
- If any information in the yellow slip is not correct, you can go back to Istiqdam within 3 working days.
- Divide all documents as Two Section All Originals & All Photocopies,
Visa application form-with company seal & authorized signature. It is better to type in English capital letters and stick in the place where you should write the names of wife & child/children
- Degree certificate- attested & translated
- Marriage Certificate- attested & translated
- Birth Certificate- Attested & translated
- Salary Certificate- original & Chamber attested
- Passport copy of wife- front & back page
- Passport copy of Kids- Front & back
- Visa copy – from your passport
- Iqama Copy
- Appointment Letter
- Receipt of SR 2000
- Although they rarely ask for it, but it is better to keep copy of Commercial Registration and Zakat certificate of company you are working in. Someone has commented that Jawazat officer asked for it from him.
Process in Native Country
- Now, you need to send this Yellow slip to your native country to your family. It is always advisable to take services of some agent in this regard. Overseas employment agents are expert in these kinds of processes and they have relations inside Saudi Embassy. It is easier for them to get it stamped. They will charge you from SR 400 to SR 500 per passport and take care of all the requirements.
- The Validity of Yellow Slip issued by the Istiqdam office is one year 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 link.
- Once the Iqama is processed, your family will receive a call from the agent. Once you are done with the
above steps, you can check the status of permanent family visa online.All your family members will have to go
through a medical test before apply for visa to Saudi Embassy. Agent will give a token for every family member and they will have to appear for the test in designated laboratories. If you have Eitmad centers in your country, there is no need to take token. You can directly go to the approved laboratory for test. The report of the test is required to be submitted to Saudi Embassy to stamp the Visa. I have already published an article on this subject, have look at it, “List of Medical Tests for Saudi Visa”It is always suggested to go to some private laboratory in your country for the same tests before going to the officially designated laboratory. Private laboratory staff knows very well about the tests required for Saudi Arabia. You can fine tune your diet for
temporary basis after the result of private laboratory. When your results are satisfactory, you can go for the official laboratory.If there is anything wrong in the result, some people will ask for the bribe to get it clear. Please never give money to them. There will be a test in Saudi Arabia as well and you will be deported if
found problematic there.
Process after Arrival to Saudi Arabia
- When your family has reached to Saudi Arabia, you need to apply for their Iqama. Please be noted that the major work has been done. You will have to appear in a medical test in Saudi Arabia. This medical test is not very critical, you will pass it easily. This test is only performed in the designated laboratories of the government.
- Report of the test needs to be given to the Government Relations Officer of your company. He will be responsible for the rest of the official activities. Soon, you will get Iqama! However, if you want to know about the procedure to apply for the first Iqama in detail.