Mini Guide to Moving to Yemen: 6: Passports

If you are thinking of making hijrah/moving overseas, obviously you will need a passport.

Even if you are not leaving anytime soon, I highly recommend getting your passports now.  It can save you a lot of headache in the future from having to rush and get them at the last minute (like we did).

Here are some resources that can be helpful if you’ve never had to get a passport before:

Where and How Do You Get a Passport?

Source: US State Department site

To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to a passport acceptance facility with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, a valid form of photo identification such as a driver’s license, the correct fee, and form DS-11 (http://travel.state.gov/passport/forms/ds11/ds11_842.html) filled out but NOT signed. Passport acceptance facilities include many Federal, state and probate courts, post offices, some public libraries and a number of county and municipal offices.

For more information, please visit the Passport Services website
http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html
Or, contact the National Passport Information Center by calling 1-877-487-2778.

Can I get a passport online?

You CANNOT get a passport online if you are applying for the first time. You can only renew your passport online.

For information on renewing a passport or obtaining one for the first time, please visit the following website
http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/get_840.html

For general passport information, please visit the following website
http://travel.state.gov/passport/passport_1738.html

How Long is a passport valid for?

If you were 16 or older when your passport was issued, your passport is good for 10 years.

If you were 15 or younger when your passport was issued, your passport is good for 5 years.

 

How much does it cost to get a passport?

For U.S. citizens age 16 and older: The passport fee is $55. The security surcharge is $12. The execution fee is $30. The total is $97.

 

For U.S. citizens under Age 16: The passport fee is $40. The security surcharge is $12. The execution fee is $30. The total is $82.

 

For more information, please see the U.S. passport fee schedule at the following website http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/fees/fees_837.html

 

 

How do I check the status of my passport?

 

The National Passport Information Center is the only office that can check the status of your passport.

To contact them please call this toll free number:
National Passport Information Center 1-877-487-2778.

Please visit the following website for more information
http://travel.state.gov/passport/get/status/status_2567.html

Do I need a passport/visa to travel to a specific country?

Details for Yemen can be found here:  http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1061.html:

 ENTRY/EXIT REQUIREMENTS: Passports and visas are required for travel to Yemen. Visas may be obtained at Yemeni Embassies abroad; all travelers to Yemen can also potentially obtain entry visas at ports of entry. Travelers to Yemen are no longer required to have an affiliation with and arrange their travel through a Yemeni-based individual or organization to enter Yemen. However, individuals may be asked for supporting evidence of their character, purpose of visit and length of stay. Upon arrival at ports of entry, travelers may be issued a visa valid for a maximum of three months.

Yemeni law requires that all foreigners traveling in Yemen obtain exit visas before leaving the country. In cases of travelers with valid tourist visas and without any special circumstances (like those listed below), this exit visa is obtained automatically at the port of exit as long as the traveler has not overstayed the terms of the visa.

In certain situations, however, foreigners are required to obtain exit visas from the Immigration and Passport Authority headquarters in Sanaa. These cases may include, but are not limited to, foreigners who have overstayed the validity date of their visa; U.S.-citizen children with Yemeni or Yemeni-American parents who are not exiting Yemen with them; foreigners who have lost the passport containing their entry visa; foreign residents whose residence visas are based on their employment or study in Yemen, marriage to a Yemeni citizen, or relationship to a Yemeni parent; or foreign residents who have pending legal action (including court-based “holds” on family members’ travel). The loss of a passport can result in considerable delay to a traveler because Yemeni law requires that the traveler attempt to recover the passport by placing an advertisement in a newspaper and waiting a week for a response. All minor/underage U.S. citizens should be accompanied by their legal guardian(s) and/or provide a notarized letter in Arabic of parental consent when obtaining exit visas to depart Yemen. In all of these more complex cases, obtaining an exit visa requires the permission of the employing company, the sponsoring Yemeni family member, the sponsoring school or the court in which the legal action is pending. Without this permission, foreigners — including U.S. Citizens — may not be allowed to leave Yemen.

American women who also hold Yemeni nationality and/or are married to Yemeni or Yemeni-American men often must obtain permission from their husbands for exit visas. They also may not take their children out of Yemen without the permission of the father, regardless of who has custody (see Special Circumstances section below).

For more details, travelers can contact the Embassy of the Republic of Yemen, Suite 705, 2600 Virginia Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20037, telephone 202-965-4760; or the Yemeni (Mission to the U.N., 866 United Nations Plaza, Room 435, New York, NY 10017, telephone (212) 355-1730. Visit the Yemeni Embassy home page for more visa information at http://www.yemenembassy.org/.

 

 

TJ Tip:

When taking pictures for your passport, be sure to hold on to the negatives so that if you lose a passport and the picture is pretty recent, you can just get pictures made from the negatives, insha Allah. This is handy if you have a lot of kids and don’t want to cart them in to get pictures taken.

Mini Guide to Moving to Yemen: 5: Are you ESL Certified?

You’ll probably definitely want to think about getting certified (and start a program soon) to teach ESL as this is, to my knowledge, where most Muslim foreigners find employment.

Offline degrees are more esteemed than online ones, but certification is definitely better than being non certified. Not to say that you cannot get a job without one, because its possible, but among other things, the pay will probably be less.

Also, having an education degree (BA, MA, etc), in general, may help you to fare better as well insha Allah.

If this is what you are considering, you may want to look at my private schools page to see a listing of some of the private schools in Sana’a, that you might apply for a job at.  I have heard of salaries ranging from $400/month to up to $2,000.

 

If you reside in Yemen and have found employment outside of the ESL/teaching field, please drop me a line and let me know so that I can pass this information onto others (as to what other types of opportunities are available) here on the blog, insha Allah.

Mini Guide to Moving to Yemen: 4: Make a Pre-move visit

If you are a two parent household (or married couple), I highly recommend the husband coming to Yemen first to try to get things set up if that is possible. This is especially helpful if you have a family, but in any case, recommended, in my opinion.

Before we came to  Yemen and Egypt as well, my husband had gone to both places and secured housing for us before we came.  Finding housing here is not extremely difficult, but it can be at times and can cause family stress (and stress on friends, contact people) if you are staying with someone or in a hotel and having trouble finding a place.  You don’t want to wear out your welcome.

The spouse can set up the household and make it comfortable for when the family arrives.  Most places do not come with carpet (although some do); typically apartments will not come with an oven or refrigerator; in some cases you may need to buy a water heater, although most places come with at least one, though in one house, we had to purchase one. 

Basically, you can just get a feel for the environment and know what kinds of things you can expect.  As I mentioned in my last post, contact people are great, but you don’t want to put too much burden on them and have them doing everything for you.  Getting stuff done here in Yemen can take more time and hassle than you might be used to in your home country.

Mini Guide to Moving to Yemen: 3: Find a Contact Person

Of course if you are able to make contact with someone here who can help you, that is idea.

Having someone to help you can, insha Allah, make things easier to set up beforehand. 

Howver, don’t put all your eggs in one basket as things can go sour; don’t be totally dependent upon your contact. He/she may have different standards as far as things such as housing; he/she may not have time to get all the things done that you need, etc.

If you are looking for a contact person, consider joining the following group, Hijrah to Yemen, as I have seen people find contacts there.

Unfortunately, I am not able to help out with relocation matters other than answering questions.

Moving to Yemen: A Mini Guide: 2: Learn Conversational Arabic

If you don’t know Arabic, or know very little, begin learning CONVERSATIONAL Arabic right now as you will need this to take care of your daily business.  The fus-hah you learned in textbooks may not be used on the streets………

You can see my Tips for Learning Spoken Arabic post for my personal observations of what’s needed to learn/pick up conversational Arabic.

I found several conversational aids (books, tapes) at my local libraries when we were in the states.

 

You’ll also want to look for Yemeni Arabic resources as well as Arabic varies from country to country and between regions within the same country; what is said in Egypt, may be said a different way than in Yemen and what is said in Sana’a, may be different from what is said down south in Aden.

If you have the opportunity to talk with a native Arabic speaker, by all means, get your practice in before coming.

Moving to Yemen: A Mini Guide: 1: Starting Out

To make an oversimplification of things, making the move is akin to making a move out of your home state; you’ll need to find work (or have money saved up to live off of), you’ll have to find housing, you’ll have to get tickets, etc.  The major differences are that that you’ll need passports and visas,  and you’ll be dealing with people in a language other than your native tongue. 

Again, an oversimplification, but in a nutshell the two types of move are similar.  It’s a big task, as any move is, and probably the biggest move of your life, but many people before you have done it, so ask Allah for guidance, roll up your sleeves and get to planning…………………

 

Next: Part II: Learning Arabic……………

Mini Guide to Moving to Yemen

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I was once asked on the blog here “Where do you start?” when planning to move abroad/make hijrah. At first I was a little hesitant to answer as this is such as major affair in life and in religion and I am certainly no scholar or expert otherwise; my husband did the major planning and implementation for our move.

However, having gone through the process as well as learned about others’ experiences of making the move, I thought some of those observations could prove helpful, so I intend, insha Allah, to post them here.  This is not meant to be an end all be all making hijrah guide, just a bunch of tips and lists of items you’ll probably want to consider. 

When I started writing, I had thought to put everything in one post, but as I got to writing, it got rather large, so I will split this up into several posts, insha Allah and hopefully will also eventually make up a little planning form.

So here are the areas I intend to touch upon. Each post will be numbered so you can follow it in order as well as tagged so if you are just looking for a particular aspect, you can find it easily, insha Allah. Some of the posts will refer you to pages already found on the blog.

So these are the areas I plan to cover. I may add on more as well, insha Allah and they may not exactly be covered in this order….

Again, I just want to stress that I am not proclaiming to be an expert on making hijrah, or that this is the end all be all list of everything you need to make hijrah. This is just meant to be a helpful resources in the process of planning the move.

So here we go……

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