Number of Saudis visiting America doubled in 4 years
Number of Saudis visiting America doubled in 4 years
Deputy Consul General Cecelia El-Khatib, Consul Robin Busse and Press Counselor Mofid Deak were also present at the interaction.
Journalists were taken on a familiarization tour of the mission's consular department to get to know the procedures adopted by the embassy on the issuance of visas.
Smith said that the number of visas issued to Saudis had increased over the previous year.
Some 120,000 visa applications were received last year by the US Embassy in Riyadh and its consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran. There are 70,000 Saudi students currently studying in the US, he added. “We are delighted to see Saudis visiting the US for various purposes,” he noted.
Around 10,000 of the applications were refused due to failure on the part of the applicants to convince the visa officers of the real purpose of travel to the US.
Smith explained that there are three main factors involved in a visa application to the US which include the real credentials of the person, the reason for travel and to ascertain the return of the applicant to the Kingdom. There is no question of Saudis not returning to the Kingdom since most of them are sure to come back to their native place of residence, he stressed.
The envoy requested all intending visitors to the US to apply at least three months before their travel and to exercise patience during the waiting period.
He said his mission is committed to facilitating travel from the Kingdom to the US. “We have a set of dedicated staff who would maintain privacy of individuals and security of all the data provided by the applicants with strict confidentiality,” he noted.
The mission received 80,216 non-immigrant visa applications in Riyadh last year, up 22 percent from 2011. Around 29 percent of non-immigrant visa applications in Saudi Arabia were for student visas. The US Embassy issued 20,677 student visas of which 25 percent were for women.
During the press conference, Busse said: “We encourage applicants to interview at the closest location to them in order to save time and expense. The location of the visa interview does not impact the chances of getting a visa.”
The US Embassy holds weekly question-and-answer sessions about visas on Facebook and Twitter (@USEmbassyRiyadh). Almost all qualified applicants who apply three months ahead of their departure date as recommended receive their visas in time. All US consular interviewing officers in Saudi Arabia speak Arabic. The US government prioritizes student visas and it makes an effort to process student visas before scheduled start dates.
“The leading cause of processing delays is applicants who have not prepared adequately for their interviews, including not having brought the proper documentation.”
The rights Saudi women did not know of
- Since the launch of Saudi Vision 2030, the Saudi Justice ministry has addressed all flaws in the system that prevented women from living their lives securely and free from unnecessary hassles
- No marriage agreement is accepted unless a woman provides a written approval, even if her guardian is her father
JEDDAH: Despite the great steps taken by the Saudi Ministry of Justice to give women a freer and more secure life, many Saudi women still do not have enough knowledge of their rights.
Therefore, the ministry has started a campaign in cities all over the Kingdom to spread awareness among women of their legal rights. A female-only staff runs public exhibitions to enlighten them about how they are protected in different areas so they can lead their lives in a better way.
“We are using every possible channel to communicate with women to enlighten them about their rights, support them in all aspects to assure their ability to enjoy a secure rightful life,” said Majed Alkhamis, head of media and communication at the Ministry of Justice.
Since the launch of Saudi Vision 2030, the ministry has addressed all flaws in the system that prevented women from living their lives securely and free from unnecessary hassles. Despite all the obstacles, the ministry has succeeded in several areas.
A wife’s rights
The system not only grants the woman the right to sue her husband or ex-husband for alimony or acknowledgment of paternity, but it also allows any women legally living on Saudi soil, regardless of her citizenship or religion, to prosecute her current or former husband even if he is outside Saudi Arabia at the time of the lawsuit. Moreover, the new systems now support divorced women to a whole new level. For example, the system gives priority to a woman’s alimony over her husband’s personal debts.
No marriage agreement is accepted unless a woman provides a written approval, even if her guardian is her father. This arrangement grants a woman the freedom to accept a marriage proposal without any influence or coercion. In addition, if a woman is not happy with her marriage, she is free to leave the house of marriage and walk out of the agreement with no law to force her to come back. If she chooses to abandon the marriage her right to alimony will be dropped, but she is still entitled to custody of the children.
The Ministry of Justice has designed a full female service within its courthouses.
These services include advisory people who provide free consultations on everything. In addition, these departments support women at all stages up until the execution of any court order to avoid delays and procrastination.
The law emphasizes the speedy execution of justice in women-related cases.