Can an expatriate get a visa for more than one wife in Saudi Arabia?

Living in Saudi Arabia opens a lot of doors towards a healthy and prosperous lifestyle especially for the expatriates who have moved there in the hope of making a better future. The expatriate workforce in Saudi Arabia enjoys many privileges no matter what part of the world they come from. It opens a lot of opportunities and bounties for the expatriates, giving them and their family a secure future as well. Though, when you are a Muslim you will have to face some problems which you probably shouldn't be much welcomed in the state. The problem at hand for today's discussion brings in families and your wife into Saudi Arabia on a permanent visa.[irp]

You may be wondering why this is a problem. Every man shouldn't be kept apart from their loved ones at all. They should be working and living life just as they should be, right? Though there are many people who unwillingly are unable to bring their families and wives to the state. Yes, I deliberately said ‘wives’. In Islam polygamy is a genuine practice. Every man is given the full right to marry up to four times if he can afford it and treat all of them equally. However, the law for Saudi Arabia will differ in terms of settling in with only ONE family. That's right, only one. The choice is however up to the expatriate for choosing which one of the two or three to bring in to live with him. This also implies that he can call in the children he had with that wife.

There have been many instances where men have tried to bring both of their families to live with them but sadly a family visa can only be used for one wife and her children only. This causes a lot of unrest between the wives since they all want to know who the lucky wife will be. The bigger effect eventually ends up on the man since he wants to keep everyone happy but is bound. There was, however, one doctor who had three wives who decided to use the visitor’s visa instead and kept bringing in one wife at a time. This way no wife complained that she was being neglected or so. Apart from that, there were some unlucky men who tried to bring in both. One of them had to choose the first wife since he had three children from her and left the second wife in Pakistan. He did not have any children with her yet, not sure when she'll be expecting soon either.

Expatriates, when applying for the permanent or visitor's visa, have to be eligible. That means they must have a salary of more than SR 3,500. Those who are cleaners, drivers etc. shouldn't apply at all. In Saudi Arabia, it's the profession of the expatriate that decides that. Doctors, engineers, architects, mechanical engineers, sales managers etc. can apply by submitting their salary certificates issued by the sponsors along with educational documents to the Jawazat. Those wives who are brought into the Kingdom on a visitor’s visa can EXTEND their stay with an addition of SR100 after applying at the Foreign Ministry's website. You can avail this opportunity if your wife is pregnant till her delivery by giving in her medical certificates as well. We have covered this in detail in these two articles[irp]

Requirements for Extending Visitors Visa: Printed Copy of Online form, copies of Iqama, passport and salary certificates from sponsor, passport copy of prospect visa holder, marriage certificate, birth certificates of children all should be submitted to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. We have covered this in detail in this link “Extension of Family Visit Visa online” I would generally hope that the government and laws can up with another game plan to resolve this issue because if not done soon you'll find more wives getting into fights and a clash even if they don't want to.

Source: Saudi Gazette

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.