I always used to say that the only thing certain in Saudi Arabia is uncertainty. Well, not exactly. For expatriates working in Saudi Arabia, one thing is certain - it is the final exit from the kingdom. The date of final departure may vary, but come what may, you must leave the kingdom one day or the other. With this solemn thought, I thought that it would be a good idea to document the exit procedures from the kingdom and give it as a checklist
1. Whether you are going to break your contract or you would not like to renew it, you must give 30 days written notice to your employer. This would legally entitle you to get your End of Service benefits. As far as possible, try to make your exit as smooth as possible, without quarreling with your employer, whatever may be your grievances.
2. Remember that your housing contract is different from your employment contract. You would have to give a written notice to your house owner at least 30 days prior to your departure. You are legally bound to pay up for the
3. If you have a landline/DSL connection from STC, I would advise you to surrender your connection at least 10 days prior to your departure.
4. If you are with your family, I would advise you to send them home a few days prior to your departure. You don't want your family also to suffer in case you land in some kind of trouble, right?
5. Keep your SAWA/Mobily/Zain prepaid card with you with a decent balance. This would be your only mode of communication till you leave the kingdom. There is no need to
6. If you have any traffic fines pending, pay them up right away and keep clear.
7. If you have a car, sell it at least a week before you leave. Never EVER make the mistake of driving a car after you have sold it. It is quite tempting that you may ask your friend to use his car till you leave, but remember, in case of an unfortunate incident, you would be in really deep trouble.
8. You must make absolutely sure that the name has been transferred to the person to whom you have sold the car. Remember that you would not be given any proof of transfer, so I would advise you to take a photocopy of the buyer's
9. In case you are using VOIP for making internet phone calls, make sure that you have adequate credit balance. This would prove to be a blessing in the last few days.
10. Pay up all your dues and surrender your credit cards well in advance.
11. Try to dispose
12. Pay up your electricity bills and keep a copy of the receipt till you leave the kingdom.
13. Do not have any pending dues to anyone. Not only is it ethically wrong, it might even land you in trouble
14. Before you submit your resignation, take an introduction letter from your employer with complete salary details. Some employers may not like to give it once you submit your resignation, so this is just in case.
15. A couple of days before your departure, send the most essential things you need back home by cargo. Remember, it costs money, so be sensible and send only those items which you think are badly needed. These days most things are available everywhere.
16. Withdraw almost all money from your account at least 2 weeks before you leave. Never EVER use the ATM in the last 15 days. The last thing you want is trouble with your bank because your ATM card got stuck up in a machine. Have all transactions only by cash.
17. Your ESB will be given only 2 days before you leave.
18. Always book your final departure a couple of days AFTER you send money home. Make sure that the amount has actually reached your account back home.
20. When the final exit is stamped in your passport (which will be on a separate piece of paper stapled to your passport), take a photocopy of it and retain it even after you reach home. You will need this in case you want to return to the kingdom for employment. This is extremely important. The exit paper may or may not have a stamp, this is not so important. Having this paper is very
A very important update:
As per an advisory from the Ministry of Immigration, Iqamas are supposed to be surrendered to the Passport Office before you leave the kingdom. The earlier practice of surrendering the Iqama at the airport has now been stopped. Take a look at my detailed article (click here) on this subject. I would advise you to take a photocopy of your
21. There is a column in this exit paper in which you have to sign. It is a declaration that all dues to you have been settled. By signing this, you are giving up your right to sue anyone at a later date.
22. As already mentioned, make sure you collect the exit paper from the airport counter, otherwise you cannot return to the kingdom for employment.
23. In case you are leaving the kingdom along with your family, always make sure that you stand in the queue ahead of your family and not the other way round. In case your family stand before you and they are sent without a problem, but unfortunately you get stuck up due to any reason, you would have to return whereas your family cannot come back. To save yourself from this trauma, let your family always behind you so that if you are sent back, you can still be with your family.
24. Once your passport is stamped, you can relax as you are officially out of Paradise.
I hope that you will come back to the kingdom at least to see some faithful friends. All the best wishes for getting back from
Prepared and Collection by M. Ajmal Khan.