What is Iqama?
The Iqama is a Saudi Arabian Residence Permit that serves as proof of an expatriate’s legal status in the country. Iqama is issued to expatriates who arrive in Saudi Arabia 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, 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.
Employers are Responsible for Issuing and Renewing Iqama
If the employer fails to provide Iqama within 90 days or renews it before its expiry, the Ministry of Labour (Toll-Free Helpline No. 19911) should be contacted to register a complaint.
On receipt of Iqama, it must be confirmed that the name is printed exactly as in the passport. If not, the necessary corrections need to be made through a sponsor from Jawazat’s office.
It is the employer’s responsibility to issue and renew Iqama, as well as any fines relating to its non-issuance/non-renewal.
Iqama must be carried at all times and shown to the police or other authorities if demanded. (Now expatriates can use digital Iqama instead of plastic cards)