Wednesday, March 2

Conditions of nationality

This bewildered me. I quote:

They need to have iqamas (residence permits) and obtain exit-reentry visas every time they want to leave the country.

Under the citizenship rules and regulations, children born to Saudi women with foreign husbands are not automatically entitled to Saudi passports at birth.

Boys can, however, apply to obtain the nationality when they are 18, while girls can only get it if they marry Saudi men.

The boys should be born in the Kingdom and lived here until they are 16 years of age. Saudi men married to foreign women do not face such a problem. Their children are automatically entitled to citizenship at birth.

Children born to Saudi women and foreign fathers need sponsorship.

Al-Sharif said many Saudi mothers register their sons and daughters under their sponsorship as drivers and housemaids regardless of their education in order to save them from deportation.

“These particular job titles will prevent their sons and daughters from getting proper jobs and prevent the mother from recruiting a driver or a housemaid from outside,” he added.

“These children feel humiliated in their motherland, the very place they were born in.”

Al-Sharif said that if the mother was able to register her children as companions to her, they would not be granted work permits regardless of their financial needs.

Al-Sharif said the husband would not have declared in his iqama that he is married to a Saudi, while the wife will not have made the same declaration in her civil records. “They have to have their marriage contract with them always to prove that they are husband and wife,” he said.

He also noted that daughters from such marriages are given cards when they are 18 years old stating that they should be treated like Saudi citizens, but added this would not allow them to work.

He also noted that foreign husbands would not be given any preferential treatment when they apply for Saudi nationality, no matter how long he remains married.

Al-Sharif said Saudi men who marry foreign women without permission from the authorities concerned have a different kind of problem. “They find great difficulties in documenting their marriage contracts or getting their wives and children into the Kingdom,” he said.

Al-Sahrif said children born to Saudi mothers and foreign fathers also have problems in obtaining free medical treatment in government hospitals.

He said the society has come across cases in which children from such marriages were not allowed to obtain their mothers’ pensions or social security assistance.

He claimed that children born to Saudi women and Palestinian men are not even allowed to apply for Saudi citizenship.

Simply bewildering why this kind of gender based discrimination would occur at this day and age. At one point, the UK also treated women differently from men but thankfully this has been resolved now. For example, if a British woman married a foreign man, her British citizenship would be lost but not so if you were a British Man marrying a foreign woman. There are still gender based differences, see here for example.

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