by Expatguru - 05/31/2015
"This article gives information on the procedure to be followed by expatriates in Saudi Arabia to return to the kingdom after expiry of their re-entry visa."
Most countries in the world require a visa to enter. In case of Saudi Arabia, one needs a visa to go out of the country as well as to re-enter after a set duration. This visa is called as an exit/re-entry visa.
I had described in one of my previous articles about the importance of adhering to visa regulations and more importantly, to keep a close eye on the calendar. In Saudi Arabia, the official calendar is not Gregorian but Hijri, which is the Islamic calendar. All Government-related work revolves around the Hijri calendar. So, if your exit/re-entry visa is valid for, say 2 months, it does not mean 60 days, rather you need to calculate 2 months in the Hijri calendar from the date of your departure. Sadly, a few expats overlook this very important information and once their visa expires, it requires quite an effort to get into the kingdom. One cannot blame the authorities, because as an expat you are supposed to know the rules.
For your convenience, here is the link through which you can convert from one calendar to the other (http://www.islamicfinder.org/dateConversion.php). Do book mark this.
Now in the event that you are unable to return to the kingdom by the re-entry date, all is not lost though. There are of course two conditions - you must have a valid Iqama (residence visa) and your sponsor must be ready to invite you. So, if you ever land yourself into such an unfortunate situation, the first thing you should do is to contact your sponsor right away. Send him a copy of your Iqama and passport by email. The next steps are to be taken by your sponsor.
There is a form specifically for this purpose in the Jawasat (passport office). Your sponsor needs to fill in this form and submit it along with copies of your Iqama and passport. After scrutiny of these documents, the passport office would issue a “yellow slip”. This is nothing but permission from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs allowing you to re-enter the kingdom. Your sponsor must immediately courier this yellow slip to you. The next steps are extremely important.
The moment you receive the original yellow slip from your sponsor, you must submit it along with copies of your passport and Iqama to the Saudi embassy in your home country. The embassy will then put their stamp on this slip and return it to you. It is absolutely mandatory that you must enter the kingdom within seven days from the date of stamping. If you miss this seven-day deadline, your visa will be cancelled forever and there is no second chance.
Keep an eye on the dates and always abide by the rules to avoid putting yourself into difficult situations.