We had the pleasure of sitting down with Sahar Nadri, our Visa Services Manager, to learn more about the visa facilitation process here at the Council, and how Sahar joined us nearly 22 years ago.
How did you join the Council?
I was first a Certifications Officer. When I first joined, the Council used to authenticate all commercial shipment documents like certificate of origin, commercial invoice and packing lists. I was originally located in the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. and hadn’t realized when I applied that I was joining the Council. I joined in October 1997 and did not move to the Council’s main office for 17 years.
What did you do before?
Before my current role, I worked for the Saudi Cultural Mission for 8 years. I was encouraged to apply to the certification job by a former colleague.
How did you begin facilitating visas?
When Saudi Arabia joined the World Trade Organization the certification process was transferred to local chambers of commerce. While I worked in the embassy, I would assist my colleagues with visa facilitation and gained experience with what has historically been a complicated process. We began to realize there was a need for visa facilitation, and I knew I would be a good fit. It was around this time that I relocated to the Council’s main office in Vienna, Virginia.
What’s the favorite part of your job?
The best part of my job is our office, I love my co-workers. Since we are a small office, we operate like a family. Everyone is so willing to help each other out, it makes for a great atmosphere. I also like that my job allows me to do two things I love: communicate with people directly and solve challenges. While the process is not hard, it is very labor-intensive. There are a lot of pieces that must come together. I like being able to make a difference through the work I do.
Speaking of which, what’s the most difficult visa type?
The Council processes all other visas except the Haj and Umrah visas. We provide sponsorship letters to our members along with application processing and 2-day turnarounds. As mentioned, it’s not that the facilitation is difficult, there are some visas that require more pieces than others. The visa that requires the most paperwork is the Job Offer Visa. It requires paperwork from numerous places it can become complicated and time-intensive.
What’s your favorite success story?
The thing I’m most proud of is when I’m able to meet the needs of our members. I have many stories of my former embassy colleagues going above and beyond because of our reputation and the reputation of our members.
Members can find a full overview of the visa facilitation process from our Business Guide by accessing our online Member Portal. To log in to the portal, click here.