I had always known that it was a straightforward and easy process to make a child's birth certificate. I realised that I was wrong when my husband was trying to get our son's birth certificate done in Jeddah.
Our son was a year old by the time we finally made his birth certificate. We had been told before that this was free for all infants less than 6 months old, and after this age you had to pay 1000 SAR. We couldn't tell if this information was true, but we nevertheless started the procedure to get his birth certificate issued.
The first obstacle was the clinic where he was born. Apparently, he was the first baby to be born in that clinic and so the administration didn't know exactly the kind of document we needed to take to the governmental office concerned to get our baby's birth certificate issued. The first document that the director of the clinic beautifully signed and handed to my husband was rejected at the register office. My husband was very disturbed because he had to obtain permission from his boss every time he had to do anything not related to his work during office hours. Anyone who has had the pleasure or displeasure of going to the register office at Ahwal Madani in the Al Naseem District, knows that if you want to be received before midday, you should arrive there before 5 a.m. Some people even get there at 3 a.m just to secure a position at the front. The offices open at 8 a.m and by that time, the place is already crowded, with 2 lines established; one for Saudis and one for expatriates. This was our second obstacle.
My husband returned to the clinic and they established another document which my husband had to take to the register office. Again! That meant another excuse from his boss to go to the register office at 5 a.m, and spend the next 5 to 7 hours waiting in line. At last, he was standing in front of the registrar! Guess what. All he got was a broad smile from the register and a "maleish", still not the right document. My husband was really angry this time. The registrar had to write a note to the clinic under my husband's insistence, to tell the clinic administration what document they had to provide to get that birth certificate issued.
Good things come in 3s, don't they? The third time, the clinic gave him the right document and apologised because it was their first time to handle this kind of issue. You wouldn't imagine that all this back and forth process took us months to finally get this paper. Our son was already 6 months old, so welcome 1000 SAR! This might look like a small amount to some people, but it is no fun paying this sum for something that you could have gotten free of charge. The story doesn't end here.
My husband gave up going to the register office for a while because it was tiring to get up very early, and queue up for hours in front of the register office. In addition, he always had to get permission to go late to work. When my son turned 1, he decided to give it another try. He presented the said-document at the register office and al hamdulillah, it was not rejected again! Plus, he didn't pay any charges as most people had informed him earlier. So where did this 1000 SAR charge apply? I will tell you later in a subsequent post…
NB: Current requirements and procedures to obtain a child's birth certificate can be obtained on the Ministry of Interior website.