This time for our stay in Makkah we chose Makaram umul Qura hotel in Makkah as we went there for Umrah. It was recommended by a friend. It is located on Ajyad street. We booked this hotel from Booking.com. It has 7.5 rating on Booking.com and after watching pictures online, it looked pretty nice. When you enter the hotel, it has this spacious feel to it. It looks very neat and tidy. Continue reading
If you are looking for buying plants and thinking about decorating your garden or patio, Sultan Gardens is a beautiful place to pay a visit. By road side you must have seen so many nurseries that sell different types of indoor and outdoor plants which are pretty nice but Sultan Gardens is a place that offers much more. You can find outdoor decorating furniture, indoor and outdoor plants, big flowing fountains, huge vases, pots and so much cool stuff that can help you decorate your gardens, lounges and hallways. Continue reading
Many of you might not be aware that there is an excellent taxi service working in KSA which is not only budget friendly but also a very convenient service to travel in city and it is called UBER. It is an application that you can download for Android & Apple smart phones. From the app one can order a ride sitting at home with convince & ease. Continue reading
In pursuit of Vision 2030, Saudi Arab has launched some reforms effective from 1st January, 2018. One of them include decreasing subsidy on Electricity, thus increasing the price substantially. Continue reading
In pursuit of Vision 2030, Saudi Arab has launched some reforms effective from 1st January, 2018. One of them includes increase of fuel price. One of the main goal of Vision 2030 is to decrease the subsidies provided by the government. By increasing the fuel price of Octane 91 by 82%, Kingdom is still one of the countries to provide the cheapest oil. Continue reading
Few days back, I heard about the biggest sale of the year on Boots. They are offering some exciting discounts of 25% to 75% off which are absolutely mind blowing. Boots is usually famous for their No 7 products but they also have many other cosmetics brands like Maybelline, Revlon, Rimmel, Ted Baker etc. under the same umbrella. Boots has their own products too like moisturizers, scrubs and other body products which are mostly made in England. Continue reading
Last week on Thursday, during budget announcement, a new fee has been approved which will be applicable on dependents of expats living in Saudi Arabia. In the budget, the fee for Iqama renewal has also been increased. These changes will come into effect from 1st July, 2017. Continue reading
MANDATORY MEDICAL INSURANCE As mandated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Saudi Arabia, all Applicants travelling to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are required to obtain a Council of Cooperative Health Insurance (CCHI) approved Medical Insurance Certificate from the Visa Application Centre. The cost of the insurance is generated upon receiving the application and has to be paid at the time of the appointment.
As the news of new visa fee structure was circulating the Saudi media & expatriate community for quite some time now. Today, on 2nd October 2016, affecting immediately, the fees has been applied. Etimad Pakistan, company dealing with stamping of visa, has updated the new fee structure on their website. As so many Pakistani settled in Saudi Arabia, call their loved ones to kingdom on visit visas each year, so this news of increase in visa fee is substantially important for the audience.
As it was stated that 1st Muharram i.e. 2nd October, 2016 will be the starting date of application of new visa fees, so as the first thing in morning, I turned towards Etimad Pakistan website to check the status and I found this:
So, from now on for Family visit visa (for each person), you will have to pay 62,921 PKR (Pakistani Rupees) for a normal package and 67,680 PKR for a lounge package. Earlier the normal stamping cost was 10,000 PKR and 15,000 PKR for lounge package. The visa fee applicable to both packages for family visit will be 58,600 PKR which is almost 10 times of the previous fee (5,870 PKR).
IMPORTANT NOTICE- In effect from 01 Muharram, 1438 corresponding to 02 October, 2016. As per the instructions from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, invitation letters dated prior to Sunday, 02 October 2016 will not be accepted for processing new visa requests. Travelers are requested to obtain a new invitation letter to process their applications. Invitation letter is mandatory for application processing.
Following are the highlights of the applied changes related to visa for KSA:
- One time entry visa fee now is SAR 2000 (excluding the stamping charges). KSA government will bear this cost for the people that are performing Hajj or Umrah for the first time. For the second time people performing Hajj or Umrah SAR 2000 will be charges as visa fee (excluding the stamping fee)
- The exit/re-entry visa fees is:
- SAR 200 for a single trip for a maximum of two months and additional SAR100 for each month.
- SAR 500 for multiple trips for maximum three months and additional SAR 200 for each month.
- Multiple exit/re-entry visa fees:
- SAR 3000 for the six-month visa
- SAR 5000 for the one-year visa
- SAR 8000 for the two-year visa
Visa applications submitted from 17th October, 2106 will have to get a Medical Insurance Certificate from Visa Application Center i.e. Etimad Office. Earlier it was said that the fee for medical insurance will be USD 254 (approximately 1000 SAR). But our reader Mr. Usman Sheikh has confirmed that he had paid 3,500 PKR (approximately 125 SAR) for medical insurance.
Complete detail of medical Insurance can be found in this VisaTermsAndConditions document.
Dear Sir, Insurance fee calculation is on daily base offering rate, age of applicant, time span of visa and other factors. We cannot give an exact amount, it can be between 6,000 to 30,000 PKR per passport. Regards Etimad Team.
Please note, no other medical insurance certificate will be acceptable.
There is no doubt that Riyadh is full of burger joints. You will probably find a burger joint at every corner in the city. Hamburgini is one of those burger joints which have the reputation of being the cheapest but delicious. Have you ever heard of a burger that costs only 9 SAR. Yes, Hamburgini offers a beef burger for just 9 SAR. Continue reading
Riyadh is a place where you need to put your great efforts to explore the places where you can spend quality time with your family and friends except the boundaries of luxurious malls. People usually get very few places in Riyadh where they can find themselves closer to nature and inhale quality oxygen. Lately after search on internet, we explored the Park named King Abdullah Park in Malaz Area and it turned out to be one of the best finds for open area in the kingdom. Continue reading
Hajj for year 1437 is just 1 month away. Last week on 1st Dhul Qadah, “Ministry of Hajj & Umrah” started the booking of Hajj for the locals (Saudi Nationals & Foreign Residents i.e. Iqama Holders). This is the second year that the booking for Hajj packages is being done online. Earlier it was all manual process, one had to first find a few agents and then compare the packages himself. It was time consuming and required a lot of effort. But the things have changed from last year. Now the booking process is fully automated and the booking can be done quiet quickly and with a lot ease. Continue reading
Couple of months ago, a campaign was started in KSA to bio-metrically verify all the SIM cards (Voice & Data) by linking it to the fingerprint of the owner. In the first phase an individual having a prepaid SIM (Voice & Data) had to visit the service provider (such as, STC, Mobily & Zain) customer care office to manually give the fingerprint. Continue reading
To drive a vehicle in Saudi Arabia one needs to have a valid “Motor Vehicle Periodic Inspection (MVPI)” certificate, commonly known as Fahas. Fahas is only valid for 1 year and needs to be renewed every year. I have been driving car for a couple of years and no one has ever asked for the Fahas. Normally people only do Fahas when they need to renew Istamara (Vehicle Registration) or sell the car or change the ownership of car (in case of transfer of leased car from bank). Continue reading
Few days ago I went to get a new car insurance from AXA and found out that beside other documents, certificate of National Address is also required. After searching about it on google I came to know that National Address is a project started by Saudi Post to transform the old way of descriptive address to the digital ones. Continue reading
When I first came to Saudi Arabia on family visit visa, I did not know at all if performing Umrah is legal or not on this visa. I didn’t knew even if this debate exists because we all know by default that performing Hajj on visit visa is illegal but no one ever mentioned anything about Umrah. So, we thought that it would be legal as we never heard any news about people being detained for performing Umrah on visit visa as we usually read in case of Hajj. Continue reading
For most of the expats, living anywhere around the globe, savings is the only goal keeping them in foreign land, away from the comfort of their home country. At the start of month, getting the hard earned money, first thing most expats do is to transfer funds to their loved ones back home. Funds are transferred via different channels such as banking channel, money transfer services like western union, money gram and online money transfer services like Skrill and Paypal. Continue reading