One of the biggest challenges expatriates in Saudi Arabia face is bringing their family to the Kingdom. While many foreign workers have resigned to the fact that they have to live away from their families, others think it’s not an impossible quest to reunite with their family in Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabian society is bound to follow strict Islamic law that may well be a huge culture shock to families: from the way women dress and basically stripped of rights they enjoy elsewhere to plenty of restrictions such as prohibition from practicing faith apart from Islam, consumption of pork and liquor, among others.
Nonetheless, the strong bond among families outweigh these restrictions and make application for family visas more appealing option.
One of the basic indicators on whether one can bring family to Saudi Arabia is the profession that appears on Iqama. Just like in many other places worldwide, visas for family are only issued if the expat has a profession that pays enough to support a family.
However, profession printed on Iqama may not be enough; if the profession as it appears on Iqama is different from university degree, you may need to update records to reflect the corrected profession. Practicing work that is different from what’s indicated in Iqama in Saudi Arabia is an offense.
Assuming you have brought all documents such as university degrees (attested in Saudi Arabia if you obtained it outside the country), your marriage certificate and birth certificates of children and your profession indicated in Iqama is qualified to apply for family visa, you can then proceed with the application.
Note: Arabic translated copies of document is needed before submitting applications to Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia for stamping; without recognized stamp, Jawazat — the office which issues Iqamas for expatriates and passports for Saudi nationals — will not consider the application.
Jawazat in Riyadh
Riyadh Passport Office
6971 King Fahad Branch Rd, Al Murabba
Coordinates : 24.659079, 46.701653
Jawazat in Jeddah
Jeddah Passports office
Abdullah Balkhayr, Al Baghdediah Al Sharqiyah
Coordinates : 21.499303, 39.197756
Jawazat in Dammam
Eastern Province Passports Office
Coordinates : 26.438833, 50.107824
Tip: Best time to visit these offices are mid-morning as they tend to get crowded during earlier hours (7am). Get a token and wait for your number to be called.
You need to bring a letter from the sponsor directed to Jawazat requesting them to process visa for your family. This letter should be stamped by the Chamber of Commerce.
A visa fee of SAR2,000 per family through SADAD payment system. Paying from your personal account is the preferred route.
Prepare the following:
* attested university degrees (along with Arabic translations)
* attested marriage certificate
* attested birth certificates and copies of passports of all family members applying for the visa
* copy of your Iqama
* letter from sponsor with Chamber of Commerce
Take copies of all original documents and submit them at the window upon your turn. After review of documents and, in some cases, questions from the processing officer, you’ll be asked to wait.
After half an hour or so, you’ll be called again for updates. If documentation is complete and everything goes well, you’ll be given a yellow slip. This slip is actually the visa for your family. Check the names listed in the slip.
This slip will be sent to family for visa stamping on their passports at Saudi Arabia embassy.
Upon Family’s Arrival in Saudi Arabia
1. When your family is already in Saudi Arabia, you need to apply for their residence permit (Iqama). A medical test is then required.
2. Medical results will then be submitted to the Government Relations Officer of your company. This person will be responsible for the rest of the procedure.