What is the first thing you do after booking your tickets to go on a long vacation of 16 days?
Ok, yeah, what do you after screaming?
In my case, the day we decided about taking this long vacation, I started planning. Of course, when you are going on a long vacation that to if it’s an exotic location like Europe that too during summer peak time, you gotta be really concerned about expenses. Everybody says, book in advance but if your husband is in a consulting, travelling firm then things are never hundred percent sure. Funny part is people suggested us to book six months in advance and we didn’t even book six weeks in advance!!! We ended up booking our local travel and stay just ten days early (yeah, we just finished it on 10th and we are leaving on this 20th).
When you are already living in a foreign country, every system and procedure is new. We were kind of lost during the visa application. In spite of doing a lot of research on this area, we were sent back not once but twice at the Etimad center.
Here are few information you need to know about applying for Europe visa from Jeddah –
1. Check this Etimad website for all the documents required and visa fees http://www.aletimad.com/italy_jeddah_document.html
2. Especially for expats, you need a letter from your sponsor (more like a no objection letter)
“Original employment letter with chamber stamp address to Italian consulate Jeddah. Employment letter should furnish the details of Name, Nationality, passport number, salary, Designation, Joining Date and Purpose of travel of the applicant. Employment letter should also have a visa request”
This is what is mentioned on the Etimad website, and we actually took the original employment letter with us the first time. Hence, we were sent back to get a no objection letter. But yes, even that letter needs to have chamber stamp!!!
You can follow this format if you like,
The Honorable Consul General,
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
We would like to inform you that our staff with details as below,
EMPLOYMENT START DATE
MONTHLY SALARY (SR)
desires to visit your country on vacation from _________ till _________in Italy (mention the country to which you are visiting first or spending more days in).
We do not have any objection.
We request you to kindly issue the necessary VISA for his travel.
3. If you have recently moved to Jeddah, then you can’t travel to Europe as you need minimum six months’ salary slip or bank account statement. This was one more reason why our visa application was not accepted the first time as we had four months bank statement of KSA and two months of India’s bank statement.
At Etimad, they are very particular about every single document and so, follow the guidelines properly or be ready to accept a rejection!!!
We applied for our visa on Monday and we got our visa on next Sunday, in one week’s time. Entire visa application process to Italy costs about 350 riyals per person!!!
Just near the entrance of Etimad building, there is another visa application center called Vega. They charge 50 riyals extra per head and take about 15 days for visa approval. But, if you are not getting through Etimad, then you can always try out this option.
If you have recently shifted your house or moved from a different place in KSA to Jeddah then have a copy of your house rental agreement in ENGLISH. They are very specific about it being in English!!!
The entire process easily took us two months (including the time needed to prepare an employment letter and to get the stamp of chamber of commerce) and at the end, we were literally praying to get our visas as we had already booked our flights out of excitement and to get a better deal on money.
Finally, all is well that ends well. After all the struggle and running around we got our visas done!!!! And the last two weeks have been crazy as we were finalizing on the plan, booking trains, hotels and trying to look for the best deals to save money!!!
I will keep you guys updated about my longest and most happening trip of my life (hopefully, it will help you all to plan yours)
See ya till then!!!