Are you a Saudi expatriate? How long have you been staying in Saudi Arabia? Do you have any idea about Iqama? If not, Today in here we will be providing a hands-on explanation of what Iqama is, why you should apply for Iqama and What are the benefits of applying? Also, we are explaining how you can check Iqama status online.
Iqama is one among the many ways to identify the legality of your stay in the kingdom. It is considered illegal to stay in the kingdom even with an expired Iqama status. So, I guess there is no need to explain why Iqama is one of the most important things to keep in mind while migrating to Saudi Arabia.
Check Iqama Status
What is Iqama & Why you should Apply it?
Iqama is a residence or work permit which one should possess if he/she plans to stay and work in Saudi Arabia. Iqama status will have a validity of 12 months. So, you will have to renew the Iqama status after every 12 months. Every service provided by the Kingdom will come to a standstill if your Iqama gets expired, so it is advised to keep an eye on the expiration date.
Iqama is generally a residence permit issued by the government of Saudi Arabia on an employment visa. Saudi Arabia is one of the richest countries in the world which is also well known for providing huge opportunities for the people to get their job all around the world. The validity of the Iqama is only for 1 – 2 years after which you have to apply again for it so that to continue the job in this country. This residence visa is only applicable after the expiry of 90 days working visa.
This residence permit of Saudi Arabia is generally issued by the Minister of Interior and includes information like the Iqama number, Employee Name, Sponsor Name, Place of Issue, and Date of Expiry. Iqama is very important to reside in Saudi Arabia and if you would not be able to get your Iqama within the 90 days period of the arrival you will have to pay the penalty which your employer will have to suffer.
You should start processing your Iqama within 90 days from arrival with the help of your sponsor. Generally, Iqama is good for one year from the Hijri date, while Muqeem is valid for 5 years from the date of issuance. Saudi police is quite strict on checking Iqama, so if you are caught for the first time without Iqama card. You will be fined an amount of SR 1000. A second-time penalty would be around 2000 SR and for the third time, it would go beyond SR 3000+. There is also a possibility of getting deported to your home country. I guess by now, you will be aware of the greater importance of having an Iqama card in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Now let’s have a look at the major benefits of having Saudi Iqama card.
Benefits of Possessing a Valid Iqama/Muqeem Card
- You can have a Saudi temporary resident permit.
- If you are a professional ( Doctor/Engineer) you can even bring your family under your sponsorship.
- Muslims are allowed to go to Umrah.
- You are free to roam anywhere in Saudi Arabia with Iqama card.
Iqama Status – How to Register for Iqama?
It is the responsibility of your employer and the right of every employee to get your resident visa before the expiration of your 90 days working visa. You will have to go through the following procedure to register for Iqama:
- As we have stated earlier, it is the responsibility of your employer to apply for your Iqama, the employer will ask you to go for a medical test done in an approved and verified medical center along with a copy of your passport. Your entire medical check-up will be done along with your stool test so that to find out that if you have any serious diseases like cancer, heart problem, or AIDS or not.
- Once your entire medical checkup has been done, a copy of your medical report will be handed over to you within two days. Another copy of your medical checkup will be sent to the Ministry of Interior (MOI) for further proceedings.
- If your medical reports are all clear and you have no serious illness then you will be considered for further procedures or otherwise, you will not be permitted to apply for further procedures and send back to your country.
- For the further procedure, you will be asked to submit your passport along with two passport size photocopies by the people of HR department of Ministry of Interior.
- Once you have gone through all this procedure, the next thing you have to do is to apply for the Iqama. For this purpose you have to submit your important information along with your medical report, resident permit form and company related documents and Iqama fee for one year. You will have to pay for different charges if your company is fully Saudi based or it is 50% Saudi. The Iqama fee for one year is also different for people having a working visa and Azad visa.
- Once have successfully completed all this procedure, you will get your resident visa i.e. Iqama. Once you got it, please check all the details carefully if there is any error in the correction.
How to Change Iqama Profession Online?
If you have recently switched your profession or changed to a new company and haven’t updated the IQAMA profession status. Then, you will have to act swiftly as Iqama is one of the most important documents for your stay in the Kingdom. In here we will be explaining the step by step procedure for editing the profession in Iqama or Muqeem card. It is illegal to mention one profession on Iqama and work on other. Jawazat can raid you anytime and get deported to your home country for such a small mistake of yours. I hope you have understood the seriousness involved, without wasting much time let me help you with the complete procedure.
There are few requirements which you have to fulfill before getting your profession changed. Here are the things which you should have.
- Make sure you have an attested copies ( Attested by Saudi Embassy ) of your certificates with you before proceeding.
- Your degree certificates should match the Iqama profession.
- You should request a change in the profession through the HRD department of your company. It also requires a deposit amount of 1000 riyals for initiating the change.
- Your request for change of profession in Iqama will be summarily rejected if your profession is on the lower side for example driver, man labor etc.
Why my Iqama Application got Rejected?
Apart from information mismatch, there are few other reasons which may lead to the rejection of your Iqama application.
- Your payment for the Iqama application may not be completed for some technical reasons or you may have forgotten to renew the application. In case of technical glitches, you can contact the concerned authority via phone or email.
- Violations of your Iqama may be one other reason for the rejection.
- If you’re having a Home individual Visa as Housemaid or Driver, your application will be rejected.
- If you are in Huroob status, then your Iqama application will be rejected.
Saudi Resident permit card would be the first official status which you would receive during your stay in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabi. One should know the importance of Iqama as soon as he sets his foot on the kingdom. This legal document allows you to travel freely in the kingdom. Apart from the benefits mentioned above, there are several terms and conditions to be satisfied.
Terms and Conditions of Iqama
- It is the responsibility of the employer to obtain an Iqama status for the employee. This status enables the employee to move freely in the kingdom.
- The employers are strictly advised to keep the Iqama card when the employee travels outside the kingdom. The card would be returned when he/she returns back. It is also the responsibility of the employer to discard the Iqama card when an employee does a final exit.
- It is the duty of the Iqama status holder to report to the nearest police if he/she have lost the Iqama card. One should report to the nearest police station within a stipulated time limit.
- If anyone is found without an Iqama status card, then he/she will have to face heavy fines and in the worse case he/she will be deported.
- All Iqama cards come with an expiry date. Iqama holders should always keep an eye on the expiry date as it is the only valid document during your stay in the kingdom. Iqama status should be renewed within a period of 3 days before the expiry date. Fines will be levied if the process is delayed.
- A person can bring his/her family ( children under the age of 18 ) to the kingdom under his/her Iqama.
- It is the duty of the expatriate to surrender his/her Iqama to the police if they ask for it.
- Iqama status cards aren’t transferable.
- Dependants of Iqama status holders are not allowed to work in the kingdom until the concerned authorities permit to do so.
- Companies are not allowed to hire employees who don’t possess an Iqama status card or residence permit. The employees must obtain the permit for their employees. Also, they are also not allowed to employees sponsored by others.