A lot of friends from India have been asking me for information about the attestation procedure of their certificates before coming to work in Saudi Arabia. This post is intended for them. Working in Saudi Arabia is a challenge and so are the documentation requirements!
A basic requirement for expatriates from India is that their educational certificates have to be attested and endorsed by various agencies, prior to visa stamping. Typically, this would be their degree certificate. This certificate has to be attested by the Ministry of Human Resources as well as the External Affairs Ministry of the Government of India before being endorsed by the Saudi Embassy in India. Please note that you cannot hire an agent to do this job, and the candidates themselves have to be physically present to do it #-o , so outstation candidates have to undergo the hassle of going to New Delhi personally!
HRD Ministry attestation procedure:
First, take a postal order for Rs.50 addressed to "Secretary, Department of Secondary Education and Higher Education" payable in New Delhi.
The Ministry is open only on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for attestation, so outstation candidates must note this.
Please ensure that the Vice Chancellor's signature and seal are very clear in your degree certificate, otherwise it will be rejected by the Ministry. This could be quite inconvenient for outstation candidates.
If your degree certificate is laminated, make sure to remove the same, otherwise it will be forcibly torn by the attestation officer and the certificate may be damaged.
If your certificate is neither in English nor in Hindi, it must first be translated into English and attestetd by a gazetted officer before being submitted to the HRD Ministry.
If your degree or diploma has been issued in the state of Andhra Pradesh, you must first get the same by the General Administration Department of the Government of AP in Hyderabad. Similarly, if your certificate has been issued by Karnataka University, Dharwad, it must first be attested by the registrar of that university before being handed over to HRD Ministry, New Delhi.
Take a printout of the application form given here and attach your postal order, original certificate, marksheet of your final year / semester, photocopies of all of the above plus your passport copy.
The HRD Ministry opens at 9 am, but to beat the queue, you must reach there before 5.30 am I-) Do not entertain any brokers or agents, it is a waste of your money.
Accepted documents are verified and delivered between 3.30 pm to 4.00 pm.
External Affairs Ministry attestation procedure:
It takes around 10 minutes from HRD Ministry to reach the External Affairs Ministry by autorickshaw. The Ministry opens at 9 am. Go to Gate # 2 and submit your original certificates. Delivery will be done within one hour. ;;)
The final step is to take the attested certificates to the Saudi Arabian embassy. You will have to pay the equivalent of 300 Saudi Riyals, which is about Rs.450. You must reach the embassy before 10.30 am to get the delivery at 3.30 pm, otherwise, you will have to wait another day.
That's it! Hope you liked my post. I would appreciate if you could drop in your comments, which is my motivation to write more.
Until the 1960s, Saudi Arabia recognized only two holidays: Eid al Adha (the Feast of Sacrifice; also known as Eid al Kabir, the Big Eid) and Eid al Fitr (Feast of Breaking the Fast; also known as Eid az-Zgheir, or the Small Eid). The Wahhabi religious establishment refused the celebration of many of the other holidays that are recognized throughout the rest of the Muslim world, such as Hijri New Year, Ashura or Muhammad’s Birthday. In the 1960s, under King Fahd’s direction, September 23 was added as a Saudi National Day or Al-Eid al-Watani. The dearth of holidays means that Saudis usually put on a big show for those that they do get off, and you should expect that public squares will be decorated with traditional crafts and strings of lights in preparation for night-time gatherings. Some include traditional dancing (men only) and traditional music (drums and chanting) and can be a treat to watch for a show of the rich Saudi heritage that is so infrequently on display. Just remember that the same restrictions and rules apply to these gatherings, and families will always be separated from single men.
Dress is always something that is on the top of people’s minds when they come to Saudi Arabia, and it is often the most difficult thing to explain to people visiting the Kingdom. In general, there are no set rules on what men can or cannot wear, but the best guide is to ensure that any man is wearing pants and at least a t-shirt, if not a long-sleeve shirt. Tanktops are a no-go, and those wearing shorts will usually be refused entry to malls or public spaces. Men can wear the traditional thobe, although it is usually seen as an oddity for non-Muslim men to do so. Some say it is perceived as insulting, but I have never experienced this attitude (and yes, I have worn thobes and dishdashas in public in Saudi and Kuwait). Women’s attire is both easier and more difficult. It is easier because it is simply to prescribe: wear the abaya (a long cloak covering from shoulders to ankles) and a hijab. How loose or tight the abaya is, how much or little decoration it has, and how much hair can be shown from under the hijab are all hotly contested issues that Saudis themselves have not resolved. Some women wear them as if they were accessories; others have multiple layered abayas that distort the human form and are entirely devoid of detailing. The niqab (the veil that covers the face) is not obligatory, but it may be advisable even for foreign women traveling to the more conservative regions north of Riyadh and in the south-west of the country; the same goes for gloves. Some more pious women will wear a black gauze sheet over their faces to obscure even the eyes. This is a mark of extreme Wahhabi belief and is by no means required by the Saudi state.
This tip is not particular to Riyadh - Saudis across the Kingdom love their King, regardless of their views about the state that he heads. It is not uncommon to see his portrait everywhere you turn: on highway overpasses, billboards, signage, posters, even food products. Yes, food products: like the cake in the pictures. The love for the King means that any sort of derisive comments about him or the monarchy will get you in hot water and, whenever there is some sort of milestone related to his person (such as his return from surgery abroad) you can expect to find the streets crowded with jubilant Saudis.
This particular tip should be linked to my tip about Jeddah regarding pretty much the same phenomenon. It is very common in Saudi Arabia to see beautiful old houses allowed to collapse from neglect and abandonment. There is little to no concern amongst the general population for the preservation of architectural heritage (although that is changing in certain sections of the educated classes) and, as a result, little to nothing is investing in preserving the rich decorative traditions of the people who inhabited Riyadh before the oil boom and the massive expansion of the capital in the 1980s and 1990s. In the pictures can be seen the way in which houses that feature intricate molding and carving have been allowed to go to waste in the poorer section of the capital.
It is against the law for a man to make eye contact with a woman and when talking to another man, his wife or female children should not be brought up for discussion. Restaurants and even fast food places will have a family side and a male side. It is imperative that females utilize the family side of these establishments. If a woman is beign escorted by a man, usually the case, it is permissible for him to enter the family side with her.
During Prayer time (held 5 times a day) everything generaly shuts down. If you are in a shop you cannot pay for items until it is over (usually 20 minutes). You cannot get into establishments during prayer time either. Prayer times are posted in most papers so be prepared when planning shopping trips or evenings out.
Saudi Arabia is a completely dry country. It is illegal to bring alcohol to the country. So, make sure you don't do so. This also means that you will be unable to find any sort of alcohol anywhere in Riyadh.
Signs can be different from those in Europe. Luckily there's almost always an English translation or a helpful person around!
This dress for modern women, where only in big events it's seen. It may cost SR100-SR5000.
Also commonly seen in weddings and dance shows.