No change in dependent fee structure in Saudi Arabia

The fees should be paid in advance and on a yearly basis along with the issuing or renewal of the worker’s residency permit, when issuing exit-re-entry visa or even final exit visas. (SPA)
Updated 02 January 2018
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No change in dependent fee structure in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Passports (GDP) has announced that foreign workers in the private sector will have to pay fees for every dependent or companion.
The directorate, known as Jawazat among expats, has posted a tweet on its official Twitter account stating that it was implementing a decision previously issued by the Council of Ministers.
It added that the fees for every dependent or companion must be paid through the SADAD payment system, which was established by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) as the national electronic payment service in Saudi Arabia.
In a clarification note received by Arab News via the directorate’s Lt. Col. Talal Al-Shalhoub, the Jawazat said the targeted dependents include the first wife, male children under 18, and all female children. It also clarified that the term “companions” entails the second wife, the third and the fourth, in addition to parents, relatives-in-law, domestic laborers and every expat sponsored by the worker.
As for the fees every expat worker has to pay, the directorate said these are applicable for every dependent and companion of all officially permitted workers in the private sector. “The fees should be paid in advance and on a yearly basis along with the issuing or renewal of the worker’s residency permit, when issuing exit-re-entry visa or even final exit visas.”
The authority made it clear that the worker should pay SR100 ($26.7) for every dependent or companion starting from July 1, 2017. It also gave notice that the fees would be doubled from July 1, 2018, and would reach SR300 by July 1, 2019. According to the same announcement, a single dependent’s or companion’s fees will hit SR400 in 2020.
The announcement also stated that no nationality would be excluded from the decision, and the fees are not refundable. It concluded that a worker could check the validity of his/her passport through the Interior Ministry’s “Absher” online services.


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.