Online services of MoI praised
Saudis and expatriates alike have welcomed the recent introduction of the hassle-free electronic services being provided by the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and the Passport Department (Jawazat) including the issuance of exit/re-entry visas for dependents and Saudi passports electronically.
The e-government system in Saudi Arabia has opened up the way for a paperless system where all updated information is available online and connected to mobile devices which inform the applicant via a free text message that his visa has been issued.
Commenting on the services, Deen Mohammad, a webmaster based in Riyadh said: “This really saves me a lot of time. I have four dependents whose exit/re-entry visas I can now process electronically in a matter of minutes.” He added that a non-IT person might find the system a little difficult but “it is a big move in terms of the e-government project in Saudi Arabia and the service is commendable.”
A Saudi logistic consultant, Muneer Al-Mehanna, told Arab News that the adoption of the new system underscores the government’s efforts to ease the paperwork required for government procedures for its citizens which not only saves time and effort but also gasoline and the long traffic queues.
“On top of that, the electronic service encourages us to work in a paperless environment,” Al-Mehanna added. Although Al-Mehanna has not tried to obtain his passport electronically yet, he applauded the development as part of the country’s advancement.
Al-Mehanna spoke on the need for training and creating awareness among the elderly about availing themselves of the benefits of technology, stressing that youngsters well-versed in digital devices could help them.
At the same time, he pointed to the glitches that can occur in these devices which could affect the performance of the tasks. “We sometimes see that the system is down, especially at airports or Passport Department offices and even banks which can delay operations,” he said.
Sharif Taha, a Riyadh-based translator said that the new development saves an applicant time by letting him operate from home. “We used to be at the Passport Department office at 5 a.m. in order to get the visit visa for our dependents but now it is very convenient, especially for working people, with all the services right at our doorstep,” he said.
According to MOI’s website, Saudis can now get their passport electronically — a service widely welcomed by Saudis wishing to travel abroad.