From: M Hassan Ganguli <email@example.com>
Date: Sun, Jun 9, 2013 at 10:13 AM
Subject: [tanzeemhumhindustani] Foreigners told to get exit/re-entry visas for dependents online
In a welcome move, the Passport Department has allowed expats to get exit/re-entry visas for their dependents online to lessen the pressure on its overworked staff.
JEDDAH: FOUZIA KHAN
Sunday 9 June 2013
Last Update 9 June 2013 2:18 am
Expatriate families who recently visited the Passport Department to obtain their exit/re-entry visas were turned back and requested to have them issued online.
The move is ostensibly aimed at reducing pressure at Passport Department offices. The departments are witnessing an unprecedented surge of expatriates clamoring to meet the July 3 deadline.
Officials at the Passport Department have urged expatriates to obtain exit/re-entry visas for their families and dependents online to facilitate procedures and ease congestion at the Passport Departments. Exit/re-entry visa services are also obtainable via SMS.
The process is simple and user-friendly. Machines have been put in place at Passport Department offices. Expatriates are required to type their residency permit (iqama) number and then the machine scans the user's two fingers to make sure he is the iqama holder. If the identity is confirmed, the machine issues a user name and password, which they can punch in the Ministry of Interior's website to obtain the exit/re-entry visa from anywhere.
To make use of the service, users are required to pay SR 200 for each visa. The amount must be deposited in the Passport Department account through any of the banks or ATM machines.
"I reached the passport office at 7 in the morning and waited in line for my turn to obtain an exit/re-entry visa for my family members, but when my turn came, the passport officer informed me that these visas are not being issued from the passport office anymore," said Mohammed Hassan. "The officer directed me to the machine downstairs to get my user name and password or to the passport office's computer department to register myself."
Guided by online instructions on the Ministry of Interior's website, Hassan was able to issue and print copies of the exit/re-entry visas for his family members.
Mahmood Ali Mahmood said he was also instructed by Passport Department officers to obtain exit/re-entry visas for his family members through the Internet.
"As I was queuing in line to get my family's exit/re-entry visa, a security guard who was checking on everyone's documents directed me to register for the online service," he said. "The e-government system saves us time, as we don't need to fill out any form nor provide photos, and other documents," he said.
However, domestic workers and house guards are exempted from the e-services and must obtain their exit/re-entry visa at the passport offices.