The Iqama of Saudi Arabia is a legal document for expats to work and live there. The Govt of KSA issues it to those who come on a work visa. But, because the visa validity is 90 days only. So another document is required to legalize the stay of the worker for a longer time. Therefore the Govt issues iqama to the workers.
Mostly its validity period is 1 year; after that, it can be renewed for one more year, and so on.
We are going to provide you with detailed information on the iqama expiry check, validity, and other details. How much does it cost and renewal fees? Also, we are covering its status and the method to check it online.
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Definition of Iqama
Iqama is an Arabic word that means” Residence.” It allows the holder to work and stay in Saudi Arabia as long as it is valid. It is also known as a “residency Permit.” Every year, millions of foreigners visit the kingdom. But those who come on a work visa, have the right to apply for iqama. A kafeel or the sponsor (Company) is responsible for its issuance and renewal.
The kafeel makes a contract with the worker for a specific period. Sometimes the contract is for an unlimited duration. However, it depends upon the employer solely.
The iqama card has 13 details, which helps the authority to recognize the holder. Like who he/she is, nationality, date of birth, employer name, etc.
Cost Of Iqama Of Saudi Arabia
The cost of the iqama in Saudi Arabia depends upon its type. There are two types of iqama.
- For house workers (A maid, Personal Driver, Gardener, housekeeper, etc.)
- For all other workers ( construction workers, industrial workers, shopkeepers, laborers, nurses, medical staff, All professions included, etc..)
The cost is low most of the time for the house workers. Mostly the employer pays all the dues and fees for it. However, its price is different for different countries. For example, 8850 riyals is the price of iqama for housemaids from the Philippines. But a housemaid coming from India may cost 5000 riyals only.
For all other workers, the cost is about 2000 riyals only. This is due to the demand for skilled workers in KSA. We have observed that few companies bear all expenses for employee iqama as well.
The fees for the iqama of Saudia Arabia are increasing and we have written a detailed article on the Fees. Have a look at it for the details.
Legal Duration Of Stay
As you know the resident permit expires after one year in most of the cases. Therefore, the Ministry of the Interior (MOI) Saudi Arabia has provided a service for validity checking on the dedicated portal, ‘Absher, ‘ which also offers multiple other online services.
You can stay in Saudi Arabia as long as you have a legal resident permit. There are multiple ways for iqama expiry check. And, we have described them thoroughly in a separate article mentioned below.
Sometimes the iqama does not renew in time. It is due to because of Nitaqat category. You can renew the iqama immediately as soon as the category changes from red to green.
Getting Resident Permit For The First Time
The Saudi govt has introduced a new system called Nitaqat. With the help of Nitaqat, you can check the status of the iqama of Saudi Arabia. It tells that in which category the iqama falls. If the iqama falls in the red category, the holder can transfer to any company without informing the kafeel.
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development is responsible for labor transfer status. In addition to that you can check iqama status on MOI website. The process takes only 3 minutes. But it is precious and full of opportunities.
One more thing to mention, the status is available only in Arabic. Unfortunately, it is not available in English. Perhaps in the future, there might be an option.
In Saudi Arabia, The renewal fees of iqama are almost the same except for dependants fees and work permit fees. The govt has increased the said fees according to the Vision 2030. However, companies pay if you are their employee.
Being a free worker is not possible now due to strict rules and regulations. Also, an immediate exit is the penalty if the police catch you. So better to work with a company for your safety and security.
Check the details of renewal fees in this article.
Switching The Job
If you have changed your employer and are ready to work with another Kafeel and company. Then the status of your iqama will also change. This change in status is due to the transfer of employer. You can also check it in the Ministry of Labour portal (MOL).
There are a few rules and regulations for the transfer status. It’s not possible if your company is in the green or platinum category of Nitaqat. It is also not possible unless the current employer agrees to transfer you.
Transferring iqama is not easy in Saudi Arabia and has many hurdles. The process takes almost 15 days. Once the process is complete, MOL will inform you about the acceptance or rejection of the application.
Also, a few professions can’t be changed. Either go on exit or work on the same job. Housemaid, gardener, and housekeeper professions haven’t changed at all.Also Read: