30 November 2011

Saudi Arabia visa processing for Canadians deliberately slowed

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Unhappy with the speed at which Canadian visa applications made by their citizens are being processed, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is now deliberately prolonging the processing of Canadian visa applications to the country by way of response.

The decision was implemented on 1st September, slowing the process for a Saudi Arabia visa application for Canadian citizens from a same-day turn around to 30-45 days.

An announcement on the Saudi embassy website states: “[T]he waiting period for issuing a visa to Canadian citizens wishing to enter the Kingdom has been prolonged to meet the same amount of time it takes Saudi citizens to obtain a visa from the Canadian embassy in Riyadh.”

Along with the United States, Canada tightened their visa requirements for Saudis in the wake of 9/11, since the majority of the perpetrators of those events were Saudi Arabian.

It is those security checks that the visa officer director says is the reason for visa processing delays, though Nancy Caron, spokesperson for Citizenship and Immigration Canada described the extended processing times of summer 20112 as a “temporary phenomenon” due to “a sudden and unexpected increase in the number of applications received during the summer of 2011 for temporary resident visas at the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh.”

The visa requirements and criteria for Canadians applying for a visa to Saudi Arabia remain the same; Canadians must be sponsored by a Saudi citizen, company or organisation.

The sponsor takes possession of the visitor’s passport and the visa holder receives a residency card, according to the website of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade.

The Worldwide Visa Bureau is an independent migration consultancy that offers visa advice and services.

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