What is Iqama in Saudi Arabia?

What is Iqama?

Iqama or Muqeem is the residence permit in Saudi Arabia, which serves as proof of an expatriate’s legal status in the country. Iqama is issued to expatriates who arrive in the kingdom on an employment visa as well as a dependent visa. Iqama is a valid form of identification for all purposes, and without which one cannot operate a bank account, or ATMs, remit money, obtain mobile SIM connection/recharge, or travel abroad. Iqama validity or expiry date can be checked via the Absher or wazarat amal (MOL-KSA) website.

The employer is Responsible for Issuing and Renewing Iqama

The employer must provide Iqama within 90 days of the worker’s arrival after he successfully undergoes medical tests and the employer arranges health insurance.

If an employer fails to provide Iqama within 90 days or renews it before it expires, a complaint should be filed with the Ministry of Labour (Toll-Free Helpline No. 19911).

When the Iqama is received, it must be confirmed that the name is exactly as it appears on the passport. If not, the necessary changes must be made with the help of your sponsor through Jawazat’s office.

It is the employer’s responsibility to issue and renew Iqama, as well as pay any fines for non-issuance/non-renewal.

Iqama must be carried and shown to the police or other authorities if demanded. (Now expatriates can use digital Iqama instead of plastic cards)


Mohammed Ameen is an expatriate blogger who loves sharing his experiences of living and working in the Gulf countries.