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!
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!