Hi All, I haven't seen a post on the visa / CPR / medical process end to end so thought to post my own. Might help with some of the questions that people have.
Your company will ask you for a number of documents which include your passport copy, photographs, signed offer letter and pre-employment medical (I didnt do my medical from GAMCA as I was based in Dubai; got it done from a Dubai clinic).
The visa was applied on this basis and I got a tracking number to check status on the LMRA site. As most of you know, my visa was rejected 6-7 times by CID until it was finally approved.
Once I landed, at the airport, they stamped the residency in my passport (ink stamp, not printed sticker) and gave me a print out with a date for medical at Al Razi. Before the stamping is done, you have to queue at the LMRA counter where they take your photo, fingerprint and a digital signature. The medical appointment was a long way away i.e. end Sep 2014 while I entered in July/August. The reason was that there is a massive backlog at Al-Razi due to lots of people coming in within the labor categories. The tests include a blood test and a chest xray.
I came in on Saturday; handed my passport over to my company PRO on Sunday and got the passport with residency sticker and CPR on Wednesday (I did not give a municipality letter for the CPR as the building address was in the system. Also I didnt need to go personally for CPR). I also asked them to set a medical for me in a private medical hospital as I didnt want to wait for 3 months nor did I want to be squeezed in a crowded place while doing it. In Al-Razi, due to the large number of people, they make you queue up in the open with shirts off while waiting for chest x-ray and then just wipe the sweat off the panel after each person finishes with the x-ray (happened to a few of my team members who just joined and it was supposedly the most horrible & unhygienic experience of their lives). My medical was scheduled in Ibn-Nafees which I did and the report was taken by the PRO to MOH, attested and presented to Al-Razi for a fit certificate which was then updated in LMRA system. Getting the residency and CPR was not dependent on the medical; however, if you are unfit, your visa and employment is immediately terminated.
I handed over my attested marriage certificate (attested from Bahrain embassy in the UAE only as it was initially attested by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in my home country when I had left ages ago, then by UAE Embassy and MOFA of UAE) and they applied for my wife visa. Approval was given in one week (Applied Sunday, approved for printing on Wednesday). Then my son took another week (attested birth certificate) i.e. applied Monday of following week, approved Thursday. Saturday, I brought the family in, who went through the same process at the airport. Handed in their passports on Sunday and got the CPR / Sticker on Thursday (For CPR, I had to give a municipality letter as the building had disappeared from their system!!!). However, the family had to go to LMRA for finger printing and photographs which is strange since these were also done at the airport. It only took 15 minutes though as the agent had lined everything up. No medical for family members by the way.
Finally, I had the company apply for the house maid visa which took 2 weeks and a visit visa was given which is supposed to be converted to a residency. I handed in her passport to my PRO yesterday so let's see how long it takes. She has to do a full medical though.
Coming from Dubai, I have a few comparison points about the process that I went through. It has its good parts in terms of the LMRA website (allowing you to see progress as well as check your status online in your own portal) but for the most part, the process is very chaotic and somewhat random when compared to UAE. No one seems to know what the exact process is, it changes for each person depending who you talk to and what wasta you have and generally takes a longggg time. I was lucky that at my level, I didn't have to do anything myself except show up for the medical but I can see that it would be a lot of running around if people had to do it themselves.
From what I have heard from people, for my wife and son, application for initial entry visa to CPR in hand took barely a week and this is considered to be very fast. In Dubai, entry permit for family (if you have all documents) on urgent basis = same day (they print it out in front of you) and residence stamping (after medical) on urgent basis = same day (again print it out in front of you while you stand at the counter). ID Card takes a while but you can do everything except apply for a driving licence with your passport and visa copy so it doesn't matter.