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Article Details

What to do if you lose your passport?

by Expatguru - 10/03/2015

"This article explains the steps to be taken if you lose your passport in Saudi Arabia."

Saudi Arabia's law requires that the passports of their employees be under the custody of their sponsors. As already explained in the past, for the duration of the employee's stay in the kingdom, he is given a resident card called the Iqama, which substitutes for the passport. The Iqama has all the details of the employee and is THE most important document which any expat is expected to carry with him all the time.

Since the sponsor is the custodian of expats' passports, by default he becomes responsible for their safe-keeping. If a sponsor loses the passport, very heavy fines need to be paid. But this article is about employees losing their passports. Prior to an employee leaving the kingdom, an exit/reentry visa needs to be issued. Once this visa is issued, a printout of the same is stapled to the passport and given to the employee. The employee then surrenders his iqama to get his passport before he can fly out. In case of multiple exit/reentry, the visa is stamped on the passport directly. In either case, the passport is given to the employee in most cases just a day before his departure.

The moment a passport is given to an employee, the responsibility of its safe-keeping automatically shifts to him. While it is rare for a person to lose a passport, such cases do happen.

If a passport is lost, the employee must immediately report the same to his sponsor and file a police complaint without delay. It is always a good idea to keep multiple copies of the passport and iqama as they come in handy during such situations. Based on the police complaint, the employee must now approach his embassy for issue of a new passport. After verification, the employee's embassy will issue a new passport cancelling the old one from their system.

As per international law, when a passport is changed, the visas issued by other countries do not get cancelled. They are still linked with the old passports. This typically happens when all the pages in a passport get exhausted and a person gets a new passport. For the sake of travel, he needs to carry both the old and new passports.

In case of loss of passport, once an employee gets a new passport from his embassy by following the steps mentioned above, he needs to first cancel the visa issued against the old passport. There is a fine of SR1000 for cancelling a visa which was issued (both single as well as multiple exit/re-entry). Cancelling the old visa is mandatory as a person cannot hold two visas at the same time.
Once the old visa is cancelled, the sponsor must submit the new passport to the Passport Office (Jawasat) to get the new passport number changed in the system. After this is done, the sponsor needs to apply for a fresh exit/re-entry visa on the new passport in the normal way.

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