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Terrible experience

Dec 03,2014 - Last updated at Dec 03,2014

Tasheel VFS is the entity that takes visa applications on behalf of the Saudi embassy.

I made an appointment online, requesting “lounge” service, which is supposed to be  VIP treatment. This service costs almost double the “normal” service.

The service is supposed to expedite filling the application, inform, with some certainty, about the time it will take to see a clerk and offer a more careful treatment, since one is paying for this extra care.

I was given a number, but it never showed up on the screen. So every time I asked some “official”, including the manager, about my turn, I was told to wait.

When I asked what it means to have the “lounge” service, I was told it was to obtain an early appointment, which I had already been able to book as a “normal” service.

I had opted for the “lounge” service to expedite the process, as the Tasheel website suggested, but that was not to be. I was to wait more.

The second part of my ordeal came when I had to pay the fees.

Aside from the expensive “lounge” experience, I was requested to pay an additional fee for the type of visa I was to obtain.

The visa paper stated it was a government invitation, to perform some expert work. It was not the first time I have received such a visa type, and I did not have to pay an additional fee before.

I was told that was a recent fee I had to pay.

My “lounge” experience took three-and-a-half hours; I am sure it was longer than the “normal” and less expensive experience.

Another frustrating fact is that the added fee, JD80, was collected from me based on the decision of an accountant, and not the Saudi consulate, as I learned later.

Creating such an entity to be a go-between is a terrible thing.

If its purpose is to serve the customer, make it easier for him, or expedite the service, then certainly it is a complete failure.

The Saudi embassy might consider removing this service or changing its management, as it reflects badly on it.

Ahmad Al Akhras,

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