Exit / Re-entry
Favorite thing: Every expat is required to obtain an exit/re-entry permit from the passport office if they intend to travel outside the Kingdom.This is also being processed by the employer.
REMINDER: The passport has to be valid for more than 6 months.
There is a single and multiple re-entry.
FEE: 200SR for single
500SR for multiple
It takes one working day to process the permit except in emergency case.
IQAMA (Residence Permit)
Favorite thing: Note:
This general tip is not my fondest memory here in Riyadh but this is an important reminder for those who plan to stay or work here in Saudi Arabia.
Many questions in the forum have been asked about this Permit and so we find it important to share what we know on how and when to apply it and who are the ones qualified/entitled or required.
1. Any expat/dependent of expat working in Saudi Arabia are required to obtain a RESIDENCE PERMIT or the so called IQAMA.
2. The VISIT VISA (1 - 6 months) is NOT allowed to avail the Residence Permit / IQAMA not unless the visit visa is converted to a working visa. The visit visa can be converted to a working visa even if you are in the Kingdom through a special permit.
3. The government fee for the IQAMA is 500SR per year. Maximum 2 years can be availed. As for the foreign wife of a Saudi, maximum of 4 years.
4. The employer has to be the one to process the IQAMA.
5. The processing time is usually 1 working day.
Pls. always bring your IQAMA with you coz this will serve as your only valid IDENTIFICATION CARD in the Kingdom.
Favorite thing: Education - There are 2 types of schools for Saudi's. One of which is the Government Schools (Grade School to University) and Private Schools ( Grade School to High school)
Recently, few private Colleges have opened for Saudi including School of Medicine.
Also, private schools for expats are available like the American, British, Indian, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Filipino from pre-school to high school.
a. Both government and private schools they allow Saudi's and Non- Saudi's until high school
b. Saudi Universities give stipend of approximately 250USD each student per month.
Finding Accomodation in Riyadh
Favorite thing: These are for expats who are looking for their accommodation when they plan to work here in Riyadh.
Housing is one of the good benefits of Saudi Arabia when you were hired by any company or establishment. Some company has their own accommodation for their employees and some companies would give housing allowance at 3 to 4 times of your salary then you are the one who will manage and find where do you want to stay either flat ( apartment ) or villa ( house ) inside a compound or not.
In our experience, housing was our first concern. We tried to look for a compound where the rental fee ranges from 40K( 2 bedrooms only ) to 100K( 3 to 4 bed rooms ) riyals per year (choices of 1 to 4 bed rooms semi furnished to fully furnished type with complete facilities like swimming pool, groceries store, sports facilities, spa and lots more). Some advantages of a compound are you have a little bit freedom by not wearing an abbaya inside the compound and you can have more flexible social activities with your friends depending on what facilities the compound has.
My husband also tried to find for a flat or villa outside a compound which has a big difference in rental fee compared to the compound rental fee. The difference ranges from 8 to 10K for a 2 bedrooms unfurnished flat or villa, and around 20 to 30K difference for an unfurnished flat or villa.
We preferred big space for our children, thus, we decided to rent a 3 storey 5 bed room Villa outside compound.
Favorite thing: Not quite a favourite but...before you travel:
If you do not already belong to a “Frequent Flyer” scheme, it is advisable to join now. Flights to Saudi have been known to be double booked & passengers removed. Those holding FF cards are given preference.
King Khalid Int'l Airport is quite big & modern, you will always land at a pier & not have to suffer the heat until you are outside arrivals. There is no duty-free area in the arrivals hall of the airport (that said, there isn't even one in departures!). Proceed to the lower level, immigration. Everyone is treated with suspicion, however western expats tend to receive a little more courtesy. You should present your passport & landing card you filled out before landing to the officer here. You will need to know the name & address of your sponsor. Single females have a separate counter & visiting wives may be dragged out to the arrivals hall to fetch their husband to take over immigration proceedings! Onto baggage claim, one word of warning here: “Fragile” seems to be Hindi/Urdu for “throw heavily onto the conveyor” so try to carry your breakables with you. Your bags may then be searched, which sometimes involves putting your bags through an x-ray machine, or a thorough item-by-item search. They will be looking for alcohol, drugs, pork products, porn and any pirated software/videos etc. From here it is out into the arrivals hall where someone should be waiting for you. If you are doing your own thing, turn left & proceed to the domestic terminal, (about a kilo walk!) here you will find the car rental desks, if you are so brave. There are the ubiquitous Airport taxi drivers who will hassle you as soon as the customs doors open "Taxi Sir/Ma'am?" but keep in mind, as are all things in KSA, fair is negotiable - aim as close to 50SR but no more than 75SR.
"Chop Chop" square
Fondest memory: Here is a photo of 'Chop-Chop' square, on a normal day. Unless you're a fan of seeing amputations or capital punishment, avoid this area on fridays at noon. If you are present then, there is a good chance you will be pushed to the front to witness the punishment.
Trust me, it's scary. It's understandable though, they want to show foreigners how effective their judicial system is. (I'm convinced!!)
- Adventure Travel
A Beauty in the Desert!
Favorite thing: I always used Riaydh as a connecting city,because there are more frequent flights from Riyadh(as a capital)to any where in the world,but I always made the most out of the hours staying there.
Fondest memory: My two brother`s lives there,so it is always nice to go visit them while i`m in the city:D
Mobile Phones, Internet
Favorite thing: Two mobile service companies are operating in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Telecom Co. (Al Jawal) and Etihad Etisalat (Mobily)
Both of them are providing prepaid SIM cards from all over the country, with SMS, Multi Media messaging, and video calls if your subscription support that.
EasyNet, the free dial up service can be reached easily from most landlines in the country. The hour would cost you SAR 3.
You can reach Easynet by calling any of the companies numbers, such as 3660011, 3660022, 3660033, 3660100.
The cost will go only for the landline.
You can use wireless net services from most café shops, and in Al Tahlya St. (The smart zone in mid town)
DSL connectivity is also in most 5 stars hotels, with some extra cost for some hotels.
The internet is uses are censored by the sector’s regulator which blocks mainly the porn Web sites.
Don't worry, all famous Web sites are open such Yahoo, Google, gmail, MSN, Hotmail, Youtube, Facebook and sure VT hehe.
There are more than 20 internet service providers in Saudi Arabia, Most of them provide prepaid DSL services.
Orbit, the tv network, provide Satelite internet connection by about SAR 650 a month without a need for landline.
Mobily, and STC have recently launched wireless high speed internet (1.8 mega) for SAR 350 per month.
Riyadh's Emergency Numbers
Favorite thing: I have not tried any of these numbers but I hope this serves useful on urgent situations.
International Operator --->901
International Directory --->900
Directory Assistance --->905
ATM, Money, Investment
Favorite thing: Each US dollar equal 3.75 Saudi riyals, this valued been fixed since so long, and they seems will keep it at least till the end of 2007.
Transferring money into and out of Saudi Arabia is quite easy through banks branches, some information required about yourself, and the receiving person. It will take about half an hour in some cases for the money to be delivered.
ATM Machines are everywhere (6519 of them) with English language for you, some of them also allow you to withdraw local riyals or US dollars.
Traveler's check and credit cards such as VISA, MasterCard, and American Express are widely accepted.
Saudi stock market (www.tadawul.com.sa) is largely dominated by local and GCC investors. Foreign investors channel their investment through the mutual funds managed by local banks. Foreign workers living in Saudi may put their money directly in the market without being allowed to buy in the initial public offerings.
Other investments such start your own business you may look at the General Investment Authority Web site: www.sagia.gov.sa and look at the negative list of fields which limited to locals. I believe its v short list with only 7 items.
PHOTO : HOUSE & APPARTMENT...
PHOTO : HOUSE & APPARTMENT FOREIGN EXPART
Majority of expartiriate engaged with Oil & Gas Industries. Either contract staff to ARAMCO or subcontracting to the local companies. By early 90s, the number of expart are decresing tramendously....the local Saudi taken over all the major area which been monoply by foreign previously.
WHY IS THE FAMILY SO...
WHY IS THE FAMILY SO IMPORTANT TO MUSLIM ?
The family is the foundation of Islamic society. The peace and security offered by a stable family unit is greatly valued and seen as essential for the spiritual growth of its members. A harmonious social order is created by the existence of extended families; children are treasured and rarely leave home until the time they marry.
Parents are greatly respected in the Islamic tradition. Mothers are particularly honored the Qur'an teaches that since mothers suffer during pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing, they deserve a special consideration and kindness.
It is stated in the Qur'an : ' And we have enjoined upon man ( to be good ) to his parents. With difficulty upon difficulty did his mother bear him and wean him for two years. Show gratitude to ME and to your parents; to ME is your final goal.' (Qur'an 31 : 14).
Muslim marriage is both a sacred act and a legal agreement, in which either partner is free to include legitimate conditions. As a result, divorce, although uncommon, is permitted only as a last resort. Marriage customs very widely from contry to country.
PHOTO : THE INTERIOR VIEW OF SHOPPING MALL IN RIYADH.
Taking Photos Privately in Riyadh Public
Fondest memory: For the eager snap shooter, this city is still new to this idea.
Although it was announced that photography in the public were allowed for quite some time, still most Saudi citizens, especially women in black (those covered from head-to-toe) are not accustomed seeing foreigners snapping photos around them.
Taking photos in public to be allowed Published: 2005-7-6
They have this notion that once captured by the camera, soul leaves its body and goes somewhere else, perhaps with the photograph. In most cases locals would not want their women exposed even with their cloak and veil on. To avoid arguments or police confrontations take photos in places away or unseen by these kind of people.
Understandably they are only few decades old in their civilization. We foreigners should allow the tribes to adjust to this technology.
In addition, it is prohibited to photograph government buildings of any kind. It is best to keep this in mind to spare you from big trouble.
Riyadh: The Driest Place I've ever Been
Fondest memory: Riyadh is the driest place I have been to. It is moistureless and dusty whole year round. It is very hot from March to November (summer), while near-freezing cold on other months (winter).
Rain showers only happen few times on every end of seasons ergo no need to bring umbrellas. However sandstorms are more the common conditions.
If you happen to come to Riyadh during winter it is advisable to bring very thick jackets, furry coats and the like. Shopping for winter clothes in Riyadh during those times (November to mid January) could be pricey prior to the ‘end season sale’ in which most tags lowers down to 70% discount, that is between January to February.
AliJoe's General Tip
Since there are a lots of Questionior and Inquaries regards on Women in Islam by my esteem members here. So, I take this oppotunities try to use this small page to elaborate that topic. Hopefully it's helping my non Muslim members.
THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN THE ISLAMIC SOCIETY.
THE position of WOMEN in Islamic Society in general is complex and frequently misunderstood issue.
It is certainly true that Muslim and Western views of the role of women shown sharp cultural differances. The holly Qur'an gave women economic and social rights long before such rights were attained by Western women. From the beginning of Islam, women have been LEGALLY ENTITLED to inherit and bequeath properties, holding their wealth in their own names EVEN after MARRIAGE, without OBLIGATION to CONTRIBUTE that wealth to their husband or their family.
UNDER Islam, a woman is enjoined to behave modestly in public and as in the West untill recently, is generally expected to give a full commitment to making a family home.... a home within which, incidentally, she enjoys a pre eminent role.
IT would be a mistake to think that the role of Women in Islam society is confined at home. The development of Islamic society has brought with it increasing opportunities for women in both Education and Employment.
PHOTO : NEW SHOPPING MALL IN THE CENTER OF THE CITY.
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