This blog is the guide for those expatriates who have to visit one of the centers in their Saudi city of residence where MVPI (Motor Vehicle Periodic Inspection) is done to obtain the Vehicle Inspection Certificate. If you have never been to the center and there is no help to guide you on how to obtain the certificate from this place, then this blog will assist you and may respond to many of your doubts and questions.
Let me first break this mountain of overthinking from you that it doesn’t matter who owns your car? You or your dealer from whom you bought the car but the transfer of ownership is yet to be done. Because MVPI or shall I say the Arabic word, Fahas (the most commonly used term for this work that means ‘Inspection’) is done to obtain the Vehicle Inspection Certificate (another name is Inspection Report which is called ‘Taqreer Fahas’ in Arabic) which is one of the major requirements to transfer the ownership of your vehicle to your name.
The most important document that you must have to show at the MVPI center is neither your Iqama nor your Driving License, it is your Vehicle Registration (VR) card which is called Rukhsa Seer in Arabic. Why? Because your iqama and driving license are individual whereas VR card is about the vehicle that needs to be inspected and passed.
Let me break another mountain of your catastrophic doubt because many of us overthink if we may get refuse to send our car to the inspection station for the inspection only because we do not have the original card of the Vehicle Registration. The straight answer is NO, you still can take your car with the copy of VR. Even if it is expired for YEARS, they will still accept your car for inspection.
If you bought a car on installments and that period of paying installments or shall I say that the contract between the two parties is over, and to further expand the scenario if years have passed in the expiry of that contract, guess what? You still can visit the center and show the VR copy. Workers in the fahas center don’t care about your vehicle story. All they want is to inspect your car and complete the proceedings by simply handing you a passing/failing certificate.
EXPATS WITH LANGUAGE PROBLEM
Is language the issue if you are weak in Arabic? The first thing is that there is simply no need for discussion unless you ask for it. Once the car enters the station and your turn comes for inspection, two different workers sit, drive and inspect your car and return you back. THAT’S IT!
They do not interrogate you about the body of your car if it is original or second-hand. No, they do not ask you anything but the VR and the ticket you get from the box. Confused? Let’s begin by driving my car to the main gate of the MVPI center.
SHOULD YOU GO TO REPAIR YOUR VEHICLE ISSUES BEFORE VISITING THE CENTER?
To transfer the vehicle ownership to my name, I simply decided to just visit the place instead of checking a mechanic, technician, or electrician first for any kind of vehicle issues. Because;
- There is every chance that some of the car issues probably have nothing to do with the inspection so just save the money.
- And maybe you fix the inspection-related problems with your car and STILL, the inspector discovers a problem to fail you.
PURSUIT OF FAHAS
My iqama and driving license is valid but I had a VR copy that was expired for at least 4 years. I own Hyundai Veloster 2014 and driving for the past eight years but just a month ago, I visited the MVPI center for the first time. MVPI centers open early at 7am and closes at night by 11pm. I think the best possible time to reach and expect the least number of cars is between 12pm and 3pm.
At the gate, the security guard asked about the Tawakkalna screen. Once I showed the app, the guard let me entered and I drove my car towards a route where the management has prepared different lines and queues to drive in and wait for your turn to reach the box.
The box is installed where you get the ticket to show the inspector inside the station. At the box, I was asked about my VR so I gave him the copy and he checked. Then he returned the copy and demanded to me to pay the charge of the inspection. So I paid 84 riyals as my car is categorized as a ‘Passenger Car’. If I fail, I will have to pay 28 riyals at the box to get the ticket.
You do not need to worry about how much will this fahas work cost you. Look at the chart above and know what category is your car. The chart on the top has four numerical columns. Most of us have passenger cars. So according to the first column after the category, you have to pay 73 riyals. The follow-up columns indicate VAT % and the amount adding to the original amount. So you have to pay 84 riyals. The chart on the bottom with the same detailing and a lesser amount is for those who are here for re-inspection.
So I got the ticket and stood in one of the queues heading toward a large hangar-style building where there are at least four stations for the inspection. They do not continue to work during prayer times and close the gates.
Once my turn came inside the station, one inspector demanded the ticket and my VR. I showed him and then he asked me to leave the car to him and stand in the waiting area that is situated at the corner of the building.
At the waiting area, I made pictures and videos of the inspection but I was stopped by the inspector with a warning. Maybe he was not comfortable with it but if you check this place on Google Maps, you will notice scores of pictures and videos.
The car was handed over to two different inspectors and they thoroughly inspected and analyzed it. The brakes and headlights were checked and were also analyzed on the sideslip tester.
After both the inspectors were done inspecting my car, the car was given back to me and asked to stop at the final box where I get either a passing or a failing certificate. If you are a first-timer, make your mind because this is totally normal, they will fail you. This happens most of the time.
When you reach your car to the last station and no one shows up to fix the sticker on the glass, it is understood that you have failed the test. So I just reached the final box and collected my failing certificate. No further charges were asked to pay. You only pay at the first box for the ticket.
The passing/failing certificate (or inspection report) is a computerized document with strict details and readings about your car inspection results. Why do they provide you a failing certificate? It is not a sign of discouragement but a favor to show the car to a mechanic, technician, or whoever deals in those errors to repair/fix.
Once I was handed over my failing certificate, that meant that I leave the center and visit any of my contacts to show the certificate and fix the issues. If you have no contacts, you simply leave from the exit gate and you will discover a few people in nearby places checking and coming towards you to check the errors written on the page. Here, it is up to you how you deal with this business of yours. It is always better to take advice from your friends who have knowledge in vehicle matters and have potential contacts to refer.
Remember! You must fix your car issues and return for re-inspection WITHIN TWO WEEKS. If you don’t, you have to repeat from the scratch with the same charge demanded at the box with a complete inspection. The best part of re-inspection asap is that the inspector at the station analyzes only the failing items of the certificate.
SECOND ATTEMPT (RE-INSPECTION)
When my car had all its issues fixed, I returned in 48 hours for re-inspection with my last ticket and the failing certificate. Same procedure. Reached the same box but this time, I showed my failed certificate with the previous ticket stapled with it. 28 riyals were demanded instead of 84.
With the new ticket, I stood in the queue and waited for my turn. Inside the station, the inspector approached me and I handed over to him my ticket and the failed certificate. It took comparatively lesser time in the inspection.
At the final station, I noticed a worker with a sticker reaching to my car and then he fixed it on the right top of the windshield. That was the relief point. I reached the final box and received my passing certificate and left the center.
Remember, if you have bought a brand new car, visiting the MVPI center becomes compulsory after three years of the contract signing. For example, if you buy a brand new car on the 25th of September 2021, you have to do fahas after the 25th of September 2024.
Fahas is valid for one year so maintain your car and do fahas immediately after the date expires because if the traffic police find your car with the expired sticker, you will be fined 150 riyals that are around double of what you pay for the first time at MVPI with a passenger car.
You can share your fahasperience in the comments section below or ask if you do not understand any of my detail. I wish the readers good luck with their vehicles.