Deloitte Middle East Immigration updates - Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia developments

Automation of Educational Qualification Verification

The Saudi Cultural Bureau in select countries have announced the suspension of the manual submission of educational certificates to be verified, which is required prior to securing the Saudi embassy stamp for Saudi work and residence permit application purposes. 

The process of verifying an education certificate from the Saudi Cultural Bureau, which previously required a personal visit by the authorized visa agent has now been transitioned to an electronic platform in select countries. Currently, this process is only applicable in Jordan and Egypt on a trial basis with an aim to extend it to other Middle East countries. 

Once the verification is successful, the Saudi Cultural Bureau will electronically issue a printable QR code document, which can be further used to have a final Saudi embassy stamp before the education certificate can be submitted for a Saudi work visa application.

The online verification applications can be submitted through this website.

Deloitte’s view

Currently, the verification of an educational certificate is the most time-consuming part of an end-to-end Saudi work and residence permit process and its automation is aimed to make this process more efficient, less time-consuming and streamlined. 

Considering the new process is still in its initial trial stages for select countries, we expect this to be implemented in other countries in a phased approach.

Suspension of Visa Stickers

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced through the Saudi General Authority for Civil Aviation (GACA) the suspension of the issuance of visa stickers in the passports of foreign nationals applying for a Saudi visa from select countries. 

The visa stickers will be replaced by a printable QR code visa. The procedure is aimed at improving the visa-granting mechanism, including work, residence, and visit visas, making the process more efficient and streamlined. This new procedure is inclusive of seven countries, namely, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Jordan, the Philippines, and the United Arab Emirates. 

For more information, please visit the Saudi GACA website.

Deloitte’s view

This new procedure is a positive step towards achieving the goals outlined in the Vision 2030 plan, which seeks to improve and boost the country's economy. The new mechanism of granting visas, will be more efficient and streamlined, reducing the application processing timelines. 

We believe the replacement of visa stickers with printable QR codes will make the process more convenient for applicants and eliminate the risk of lost or damaged stickers. Overall, we believe this new procedure will enhance the quality of consular services and improve the immigration process for all parties involved.

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