Expatriates in Saudi Arabia can obtain an exit-reentry visa for a single trip by mobile phone via SMS. This first-of-its-kind e-service for expatriates is being provided by Ishaar and Al-Elm Information Security in cooperation with the General Directorate of Passports.
“Al-Elm is the leading company in Saudi Arabia providing e- government services. It is owned by the Public Investment Fund and offers people smart services that help them save money, effort and time,” said Dr. Muhammad Siddiqi, mobile services unit manager of Al-Elm.
“The service has been developed to enable human resources managers and other HR staff in the private sector to issue exit-reentry visas in just three minutes,” Dr. Siddiqi added.
Lengthy transactions in paper format for the issuance of exit-re entry visas can well be on their way out by following convenient and simple steps as listed below:
First, register with Ishaar services to get the security code. To register you have to fill the registration form, attach a copy of your ID and then hand it over to one of the registration centers. The registration process links your mobile phone number to your ID number. After registration you have to send your ID number to 88900 to activate the subscription.
You will receive a welcome message, informing you that you have become a member in Ishaar services. The security code will be sent to you via SMS. It is advised that this code is kept in a safe place outside and away from the mobile phone in order to ensure your protection and privacy. You are also advised not to allow unauthorized people to use your mobile.
The following conditions should be met before using the service:
Payment of government fees Government fees of SR200 should be paid using traditional methods to the resident’s ID number. Payment should be made through bank accounts or ATM machines in order to use the service.
No traffic violations: The resident must pay all traffic violations registered against his ID by the traffic department.
Provide fingerprints: The resident’s fingerprints must be registered with the Passports Department before a visa can be issued.
Valid iqama: The resident’s iqama should be valid for more than the duration of the exit-reentry visa by at least three months and fourteen days (104 days). For example, if you want a visa for a period of 30 days, then the iqama must be valid for a period of not less than 134 days.
Mobile phone payment: Your mobile phone must be charged with a balance of SR20 to pay for the visa transaction.
Executing the service
To issue an exit-reentry visa, send to short code 88922 an SMS message containing in the following order the letter I, the symbol *, iqama number, the symbol *, period of the visa in days, then the symbol * security code. Example: I*1234567890*150*11223344
After sending the message to the short code:
• Make sure that your mobile number is registered in Ishaar notification services and the interactive services are active.
• Verify that the sent iqama number is registered in the subscriber’s record as dependent.
• Make sure that the security code is registered and active.
• Verify the possibility of providing service to the resident through the Passports Department.
Confirmation of the request
After investigating all of the conditions for issuance, you will receive a text message containing your information for verification. When the information has been verified, to confirm your request, send: 1 to short code 88922.
There should be a reply within a period not exceeding 24 hours or the request will be canceled automatically. The transaction fees of SR20 will be deducted from your mobile phone balance after confirmation. In case the information is not correct and you wish to cancel the request, send number 2 to short code 88922.
Printing the visa
The exit-reentry visa can be printed at anytime from the website http://sms.evisa.com.sa by entering the visa number and confirmation number sent in a text message at the end of the process of issuance.
In case of the loss of the confirmation number or visa number, you can request that it be resent by sending a free message to short code 88922 containing the letter R followed by *, iqama number, *, and the security code.
The issuance of an exit-reentry visa through this service will take less than five minutes and save you the trouble of waiting in long queues.
– Compiled from www.elm.com.sa/with inputs from Syeda Amtul