Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Marriage-->Iqama-->Birth Certificate: Saudi Anonymous (Aziz) and his non-Saudi Wife have a Daughter! And More Paperwork!!

When last we met Aziz, who had commented and posted on this blog and others as Saudi Anonymous, he had successfully negotiated the Saudi bureaucracy for marrying his non-Saudi wife, a Saudi resident along with her family, and had recently married. Since then Aziz and his wife have been blessed with a beautiful daughter.

However, Aziz got a surprise when he went to register his daughter’s birth with Saudi authorities, and wanted to share his experience and the solution here to facilitate the process for others.
Here in his own words is Aziz’ story.

As I have said before, when dealing with the benevolent agencies of our esteemed Ministry of the Interior one must learn to be extremely patient.

I knew that taking care of things this time would take at least two weeks, and set out to obtain half of my previously unclaimed vacation to free up some time to dwell in both the Civil Affairs Office in Al-Khobar, and then the Passport Office in Dammam.

What brought this on was my desire to have a preliminary birth certificate issued for my daughter. I say preliminary because that’s what it is--you can only have the original permanent certificate once the child is one year old, and has received all required vaccinations (at 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months). At that point, you must return with the vaccination documents and the preliminary birth certificate, in order to get the final, original birth certificate.

This sounds easy enough, as I'm sure all would attest, but here is where it all changes—and I'm not innocent in this case either.

As my wife is not a Saudi citizen, I needed to prepare different documents to be presented to the employee processing the documents for our daughter’s preliminary birth certificate.

For declaring a child born to a Saudi/non-Saudi couple, one must have the following:

1. Original & copy of Saudi father’s Civil ID card
2. Notification of Birth from the hospital
3. Form regarding Births—completed
4. Original & copy of mother’s Passport
5. Original & copy of mother’s Iqama
6. Original & copy of Marriage Document
7. Appointment Confirmation document

That last document is a new one, as the Ministry of the Interior, in order to facilitate and expedite civil procedures for citizens, has created an online page specifically catering to civil affairs. There you can book an appointment, but you must remember to print out the confirmation of the appointment made online, otherwise you will not be served when you appear in person.

My issue was with Item #5. When I handed the employee my papers, he asked me for my Family Card (the one to which your wife and children are added). I replied that, as she is not a Saudi citizen, my wife cannot be added. He then asked if she was under my sponsorship. I said that she was not; she was sponsored by her father. He said that until she came under my sponsorship, my daughter could not be issued a preliminary birth certificate.

So I set out to the Passport Office in Dammam.

True, we had married almost 2 years ago, but I was never informed (and neglected to ask—hence my contribution to the problem) that I should have gone straight to the Passport Office and changed my wife’s sponsorship from her father’s to mine.

It turns out that doing so is a different story altogether. After being given conflicting information by a multitude of olive-color-uniformed men about the different prerequisites, I was able to understand all the requirements.

To officially sponsor his non-Saudi wife a Saudi man would need:

1. Her mahrem’s (usually father’s) written consent to withdraw his sponsorship
2. Form regarding Iqamas/Sponsorship change—completed
3. Original & copy of the Saudi husband’s Civil Affairs ID
4. Original & copy of the non-Saudi wife’s Passport
5. Original & copy of the non-Saudi wife’s Iqama
6. Original & copy of the Marriage Document
7. Approval & Signature of Officer in charge of Muqeemeen (Local non-Saudi residents)
8. Payment of a one-time sponsorship charge (currently SR 2000)

While the one-time sponsorship charge is a daunting figure, as I'm sure all would agree, it’s a small price for me to pay so that my wife is able to have her affairs in order. It took me the entire first week (Saturday-Wednesday) of my 2 week “vacation” to get through this gruelling journey.

I then made an appointment for Sunday June 19th, to return to the Civil Affairs Office and request that our daughter be issued a preliminary birth certificate. 10 minutes later, my name was called and I received the document.

It was well worth the wait, as now my daughter’s existence is recognized by my government, and I can rest happy that she will not be denied her birthright. Also, now I can have her passport issued.

Another added benefit is that I was finally able to open a bank account for my wife, as this had been another obstacle for her in the past.

All in all, a very productive “vacation” that has borne fruit.

Although it worked out for me, as I had planned to take a two week vacation to pursue these issues and it all panned out, I advise against waiting to expedite the sponsorship of a non-Saudi spouse. It'll almost be two years since our marriage in late October, and this is something the Ministry employees took pleasure in reminding me all the time. I could afford to engage them in a tête-à-tête as I had some free time, lol.

However, I was lucky in that I genuinely wasn't aware of the need to transfer the non-Saudi wife’s sponsorship on marriage, and had time to rectify the issue. A Saudi who knowingly tries to delay the transfer of his non-Saudi wife’s sponsorship and Iqama from her father to himself might not be as fortunate.

I hope all you good people out there who are married to a non-Saudi spouse find this post most useful.

I would like to thank Aziz for once again so generously sharing his experience and knowledge with Chez Chiara readers.

Most happily, I would like to sincerely congratulate Aziz and his wife on the birth of their beautiful daughter, who has brought great joy to all the family!

Related Posts:
The Marriage Permission Process: "Is either of you a non-Saudi?"
The Marriage Permission Process—Saudi Anonymous/non-Saudi: Update
The Marriage Permission Process for a Saudi/non-Saudi Couple: New in 2010!
The Marriage Permission Process for a Saudi/non-Saudi Couple: Facilitation for GCC Nationals Upcoming

Your comments, thoughts, impressions, experiences?

Congratulations to Abu, Umm, and Bint!


Abu Abdullah said...

Alf Mabrook Aziz and to your family... Yeah these bureaucratic nightmares do tend to slight dull the festivities don't they...

I can very well relate to you as a Saudi Expat, but you did have it much harder then me though.

My wife was in her visit visa at Saudi when i had my baby girl. So after getting her passport issued I went to the passport office early at 5:30 and waited until 8 when they issued the tokens, coz of the heavy rush.

And i end up seeing the same Olive Uniformed gentlemen, he was nice person and was quick to process me. He took my daughters passport and wrote something in Arabic, and stamped it. I then asked him should i go to Ministry of Interior for Stamping and he said i don't need to do that.

After some 2 months i left saudi arabia, and while at the airport the immigration duly stamped me and my wife's passport the exit stamp. But when it came to my 4 month daughter's passport, they said it lacks a Ministry of Interior stamp and they can't stamp her the exit to leave the country!!!

And the worse thing was when i asked them what should i do? they said i must have a MoI stamp from MoI for my daughter to leave the country. And since I and my Wife had our exit stamps stamped in the passport we can't be let back into riyadh!!! So how the hell do they expect my 4 month old daughter to walk on her own to the MoI and do it, it really lacked common sense.

Eventually some common sense prevailed amongst them, they passed us around to various counters, calling their bosses who called their bosses, any way i was planning to make a run for the gate when it opened if they hadn't cleared my daughter. But alhumdulillah atlast they stamped my daughter exit and we caught our flight on time.

Add said...

Alf Mabrook Aziz! It's been two years mashallah and you are also a father. Boy, time flies :-)

Aziz said...

@ Abu Abdullah - I sympathize with you wholly, brother. What they put us through is unjust; honestly, that word doesnt even come close to describing the situation. Happy you had your issues sorted out before boarding your plane.

@ Add - Good to hear from you brother, time does indeed fly. Madame Chiara tells me you have your own good news to share with us in the not so distant future. Wishing you the best of luck in your endeavors.

Delisin said...

Hey I have a question for Aziz if you don't mind.
Did you have to convince your parents to marry a non-saudi first? If so was it difficult? And what about getting permission from the government?
And if you don't mind sharing where is your non-saudi wife from??
Thank you.

Aziz said...


1. It must be made known, that as soon as I informed my mother & grandmother I was interested in the idea of marriage, they sought out a match for me, & lucky enough for me it was my wife. Being a Saudi by citizenship & the son of immigrants, it really was not an issue, as we will always be foriegn to some extent & are at home with those of us who share in the similarity of being outsiders, for the most.

2. To get permission from the government was extremely easy but only after
knowing exactly what they wanted from me.

The first several times I visited I was given vague information, but as I kept asking more pointed questions & reached the people with the most accurate & dependable information, it was a straightforward process.

3. My wife is a Non-Saudi Arab. She is a Yemeni citizen.

Majed said...

Congratulation Aziz, child birth is the best thing that could ever happened in someone 's life,at least this what I think so, I have always adored children whether they were mine or others,to such an extent that sometime I think may be I am weird person,so many a times that children peed and pooped on me that I can not remember how many.

As for after-birth paper works, I heard and saw people going through the torment obtaining them in KSA.

But personally I faced no problem at getting my children 's birth certificates, I filled the forms and paid the fees required online from Saudi Arabia and got them delivered to my home in India within few working days, it is this easy when the children are born at hospitals, as hospitals are required to submit the newborn children 's files to their respective municipal corporation offices withing a month from delivery,where the data are processed and are ready for online transactions,but it is little difficult in cases when babies were born at homes, as most people out of laziness and carelessness do not inform the authorities about those births and later suffer the consequences.

I could have brought my children to Saudi Arabia,but I did not,I prefer giving my children a home they can love and be proud of rather than enjoying myself the luxury of having my wife and children with me,home home and home is the best thing one can give to his children in heritage,I know this because I have spent my life so far straying from one place to another, Ahamdulillah for everything and I blame no one for that, but sure I am I do not want to be burried in Makkah al mukarrama or Madina Al Munawwara, but under some age-old banyan tree and be part of it.

Aziz said...


Thank you Sir for your warm congrats. I do agree with your stance as where to have your children raised, no place better than their home country, as that is where they are most likely to get their equal share of national pride, heritage & family unity.

Although it does hurt not having them around you 24/7, it is a sacrifice worth taking.

Very pleased you didnt have to go through much of a hassle to get your childrens birth certificates, as it really can be quite troublesome when you dont know what they require to facilitate your request at the time.

Thanks be to Allah that the ordeal is over now.

Add said...

@ Aziz - Ramadhan kareem to you and your new family :-) May this month bring you all lots of joy.

Yes, there is news - good news in the end. Sure, they say that all's well that ends well. What they don't tell you though, is what might occur before the end :-)

My saga might scare off some people unfortunately, but the ending might inspire the rest inshaAllah. Stay tuned :)


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