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Article Details

Important documents to be carried by expats in Saudi

by Expatguru - 12/03/2011

"This article emphasizes the need for carrying certain important documents by expatriates working in Saudi Arabia."

Whether you are a first-time visitor or an expatriate returning to the kingdom after vacation, there are certain documents which you must keep in your possession at all times.

The most important document is the resident permit, also known as 'Iqama'. The iqama is a small booklet which is in green color for Muslims and dark maroon for non-Muslims. In some parts of the kingdom, it is issued as a swipe card. It contains several of your personal information such as your date of birth, visa profession, photograph of your family members along with their dates of birth, etc.

Please note that after landing in the kingdom and clearing the medical test, your passport would be in the possession of your sponsor and instead you would be given this iqama. You are supposed to carry the iqama all the time. This is an all-important document, linked to your passport and if you lose it or misplace it, you would really have a very tough time. All other activities you do in the kingdom (eg., driving license, opening your bank account, transferring money home, etc) are all linked to your iqama. You will have to return the iqama to your sponsor in place of your passport, when you leave the country.

You must have a valid Saudi license to drive in the kingdom. Note that if you own a car, you would be given two documents. One is the car registration, also known as ‘Istemara’ and the other is your car ownership document. Both are small cards which you must always keep in your possession. Apart from this, you also need to carry the insurance card for your car. I would advise you to keep a photocopy of all these documents in the dashboard of your car and not the originals. In the unfortunate event of your car being involved in an accident or a fire, you would still be having the originals with you.

Another very important document you need to always carry is your company ID card. Note that when you travel from one city to another in the kingdom, you will find numerous check posts. You are supposed to open the window of your car and show your original iqama or your company ID to the policeman on duty. Also, if you happen to visit any of the western compounds (which are very heavily guarded), you need to deposit your company ID or iqama at the gate before entering. You would be given a temporary gate pass which you should return while exiting. Don’t forget to take back your original iqama / ID.

When you open a bank account, you will usually be given a debit card. It makes good sense to carry the debit card always with you. Note that not all shops in the kingdom accept debit cards and there are still small retail outlets which accept only cash. In case you have a credit card, you must also keep this in your wallet along with other documents.

Though one may find it difficult initially to carry so many documents at all times, over a period of time you would get used to it. Remember, this is for your own safety.


(1 Vote)

Views: 5859

17 comment(s)

Muammad Awais
Thursday 22 December 2011, 1:02 am
All this information is very important and I have been experiencing this procedure for the last ten years.

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Naheed Badshah
Tuesday 27 December 2011, 8:40 am
very informative article,thanks for sharing.

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Monday 26 March 2012, 10:32 am
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syed abdul baqi
Friday 27 July 2012, 3:34 pm
This information is very useful. But I have one question, is it really necessary to carry original iqama all the time (within the city limits), or we can just carry copy of it? Thanks.

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