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Residence Permit


by Expatguru - 02/08/2010


"Expatguru describes the importance of the 'Iqama' and its relevance to all other documents in the kingdom"


Once an expatriate lands in Saudi Arabia, his/her passport will have to be handed over to the sponsor. While this may sound a bit unusual, it is common practice in the kingdom. You would be given a photocopy of your passport with the sponsor's stamp on it. Please make sure to carry this with you all the time, as it is your only proof of identity.

The usual probation period for a newcomer is 3 months. Hence, it is quite normal that the residence permit or the 'Iqama' would be issued only after this period. The photocopy of your passport, which was issued to you earlier, would be taken back once the iqama is issued. The iqama is a small booklet, green in color for Muslims and dark brown for non-Muslims. It has vital information such asyour visa profession, issue date, expiry date, etc. Details of your family members would be added to the iqama after their arrival in the kingdom.

The iqama is THE most important document for an expatriate. Each and every other document and activity for the expatriate revolves around the iqama number. For example, opening a bank account, taking a driving license, buying a car, signing a housing contract, taking a bank loan, applying for a telephone connection, getting a car insurance, etc., all depend upon your iqama number.

The iqama carries your photograph. When your family arrives in the kingdom, a group photograph of your wife and kids (excluding you), would be pasted in the iqama. The iqama would also contain details of their year of births. You must surrender your iqama before you leave the kingdom and it would be returned once you come back from your vacation.

As mentioned earlier, expatriates are supposed to carry the iqama with them all the time. Due to its peculiar size, you would find wallets custom-made to carry the iqama. Expatriates must be aware that the details in your iqama are shared among the immigration authorities of all the GCC countries. GCC stands for Gulf Cooperation Council and its members are, apart from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, UAE, Qatar and Bahrain. So, whenever you visit any of these countries, you must always carry a photocopy of your iqama with your sponsor's stamp on it. This will be verified in the database of the countries mentioned above.

In case you happen to lose your iqama, the process to get a duplicate one is both time consuming and costly. You must immediately inform the police, your sponsor and your embassy. There are standard procedures to follow if you lose your iqama, so please take utmost care of this all-important document. If you are caught without a valid iqama, you face and imprisonment followed by deportation. In case your iqama expires while you are outside the kingdom, your visa would get cancelled automatically and you would not be able to return.

I invite you to visit my blog http://workinginsaudiarabia.blogspot.com where I have mentioned the various procedures an expatriate needs to be aware of. It goes without saying that www.teachsaudi.com is the best site where you can get all the information specific to education and for potential teachers planning to work in Saudi Arabia.


(3 Votes)

Views: 5804

15 comment(s)


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I have got family Visa from Istaqdam then my family entered in the kingdom but problem is that How can i get their iqama because my Iqma is from Riyadh so will i have to go Riyadh or can i get from jeddah because i work in Jeddah?

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