Rights of Saudis' foreign wives



THE government allowed Saudis to marry foreign women and live with them in the Kingdom considering their strong desire to have such marital relationship on humanitarian grounds that may differ from one citizen to other. I am surprised to see the Passports Department’s dealing with foreign wives of the Saudis. The department considers them as foreigners who have come to the Kingdom to work temporarily and not as Saudis’ legitimate wives who have left their countries and relatives to live with individuals whom they love. They are also ready to discard their nationality to win Saudi citizenship.

These foreign wives have accompanied their Saudi husbands to become mothers of Saudi children and live in the Kingdom as good citizens like other Saudi women in the country.

Foreign wives are now treated like foreign workers on the Abshir website of the Passports Department, instead of considering them as dependents of Saudi citizens. At present the Saudi husband has to renew iqama or resident permit of his foreign wife every year, like foreign workers paying their dependents’ resident permit fee at the rate of SR500 per person.

Foreign wives of Saudis are also required to take exit-re-entry visas for every foreign trip they make like expatriate workers in the country. If the foreign wife was a resident in the Kingdom before marriage or daughter of a Saudi woman from a foreign husband, her sponsorship should be transferred after paying the necessary fee. She has to pay even to change the profession.

Why do we impose these unjustified measures on foreign wives of Saudis? We know that the Saudi citizen married her with full rights and qualifications and foreign woman deserves to become a full wife of the Saudi after their marriage and receive all her rights. Wouldn’t the marriage qualify that foreign woman to obtain Saudi citizenship as quickly as possible?

This issue raises several questions. Why don’t the authorities issue the Saudi civil ID card to the foreign wife of a Saudi instead of giving her iqama? We understand that the government allowed a Saudi to marry a foreign woman to have a happy and successful married life. But the official measures taken by the state have often led to the failure of these marriages.

I would like to call upon Saudi authorities to change such measures and policies that do not cope with the Kingdom’s international reputation and its lofty position in the comity of nations.