Tuesday, 20 September 2011

"Time is very slow for those who wait..."

I am definitely enduring a test of patience. My first instinct, as a lover of literature, and an English grad, is to turn to Shakespeare for sympathy. He says that:

"Time is very slow for those who wait
Very fast for those who are scared
Very long for those who lament
Very short for those who celebrate
But for those who love time is eternal"

Indeed, it is true. Time cannot seem to move any more slowly than it is while I am waiting for my visa. But the good news is I'm in love with my husband, and am trying to focus on the "eternal" nature of time and love! Our time together, whenever that finally arrives, will be lasting!

I have a couple of updates on my visa application process--finally! Good and bad at the same time... DH sent me my paperwork this weekend (Saturday) and I was finally able to actually go to Toronto and apply for my visa on Monday!!! YAY!!! My retired father was kind enough to drive me downtown and joined me in my frantic running around back and forth across the city.

So there is the good news. Bad news? Well, as of September 1, 2011 (and DH and I knew this in advance and were trying to expedite everything to beat the deadline...) visa processing times are between 30 to 45 days. This is a change from the former 5 day timeline! In any case, DH and I were hoping the embassy in Ottawa was just saying this, and not really putting the long wait into effect, but alas, my visa consultant said that I indeed should anticipate at least a month's wait for my passport to be returned with the visa. 
When DH sent my sponsorship papers from the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs, all seemed okay, except that my name was listed with my surname first and given name second. I figured this must be an Arabic thing, since the language reads from right to left. The only things in English on the document were my name and my husband's, so I figured I wasn't an authority to complain about the name thing looking off. Anyways, yesterday, my visa consultant, a Jordanian woman who reads Arabic, pointed out the "error" to me...and it turns out I'm right! *sigh* She said I can try to submit the visa application as it is and see what happens, but if something is wrong, the embassy will likely have me reapply from scratch and wait ANOTHER 30 to 45 days. So, poor DH got up at 5am today to have time before work to go to his workplace's passport office and rectify the papers. He waited 2 hours and the official never showed up in his office! I feel terrible, but neither of us wants to risk having to restart everything (not to mention all the expenses of beginning all my paperwork again!)

All this said, my visa application was submitted yesterday and should arrive in Ottawa today. So the countdown is now on, and I'm waiting for word that my visa has been approved. We're going to send the corrected sponsorship document along once I receive it from Saudi Arabia and try to just add it to my current application. *fingers crossed* it will all work out on the first try!
Of course there were other issues. First, the "travel itinerary" I submitted with my visa application (really, a formality; I'm not supposed to actually book a flight yet) was apparently unreasonable. I'd been instructed to submit an itinerary for a date earlier than 45 days in order to kind of hurry the embassy up...but my consultant said the embassy's been sending back applications requesting more realistic travel dates. So I rushed home from downtown Toronto to send my consultant an updated itinerary for November 6th. 45 days. For a visa. For real.  

Secondly, apparently some of my medical tests need explanation (to me--and my doctor--everything seems straightforward, but you can't reason with the embassy's craziness!) So, I rushed from sending in the new itinerary to the doctor's office where I'd been squeezed in. The doctor said he also saw no issue with my medical test results, but obliged me by writing a note to "clarify" the obvious. 

Anyways, that was my adventure yesterday. I've been reading another blog about the adventures of trying to get into KSA. An Australian woman who went to Riyadh as a scientist at a hospital. It took her 8 months from the time she signed her contract in March 2009 to get her papers, sponsorship and visa in order and actually arrive that November. I guess things are moving along "fast" for me in relative comparison. But really, how absurd is that?! Let me use this as a cautionary tale for any readers out there who would consider a move to KSA: count on the process taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r! If you have one, do not quit your job until you have your visa in hand. Otherwise, anticipate being like me, sitting around your parents' house playing oh so lovely the waiting game.


  1. Hi Julie,

    I was searching for someone with a similar experience regarding applying for a Saudi visa from Canada, and that's how I stumbled upon your blog. This is your most recent post (Sept 20), I wonder if you have any updates since then ?

    My email is rfree789@live.com if you want to talk more about this.


  2. Hey Julie! Dont worry, the time will go by soo fast! Any day now yay! But i will miss ya betsey ;)! But you're right, we can keep up with each other through our blogs:). Lets go to shoppers now..:)