Iqama is everything for expatriate living in Saudi Arabia. Expatriates take care of Iqama more than they take care of their wallet or money. Iqama is actually residence permit to live in Saudi Arabia. It is the requirement of law upon each and every expatriate living in Saudi Arabia to keep Iqama with him to prove legality of stay in Saudi Arabia. Expatriate need Iqama everywhere, from taking an appointment from the private doctor to visiting government department for official work. Absence of renewed Iqama means that your stay in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not legal. In the below lines, we shall be detailing about the details available in Iqama for new comers. Following details are available in Iqama.
- Name in Arabic: The first line of information contained in Iqama is your name in Arabic. Make sure at the time of collection of your Iqama that your actual name is written on Iqama in Arabic. You can take help from an Arabic speaking guy in this regard.
- Name in English: Second line is your name in English. When you receive your Iqama for the first time, make sure that the name in English is coinciding with the name in Arabic. Secondly, the spelling of name on the passport is same as on the Iqama. If any of these details are inaccurate, you should return back your Iqama immediately for the rectification. If you are working in some company, do not receive your Iqama unless mistakes are rectified.
- Iqama Number: Third line is your Iqama number written in Arabic digits. You will memorize this number very soon as you will have to provide it every now and then.
- Serial Number: Serial Number shows the number of Iqamas already issued for the employee. Now Iqama card is issued for 5 years. So after 5 years when you will be given second card, the serial number written there will be 2. In case of change of sponsorship, Jawazat issues a new Iqama. The serial number on new iqama will be 2.
- Place of Issue: It shows the city name from where Iqama has been issued. Government official check this before honoring your requests. For example, if you want to attest some documents from MOFA you need to go to the MOFA office of the same place from your iqama is issued. Similarly, in order to apply for the permanent family visa, you need to go to the Istiqdam of the same city from where your Iqama is issued.
- Date of Expiry: Next line is the date of expiry of iqama card and it is written in Arabic according to the Hijri calendar. You can convert this date to the Gregorian calendar very easily. However, it is important to mention here that this is only the date of expiry of Iqama card which is issued for 5 years. It is not the date of expiry of your Iqama. If you want to check the real date of expiry of your Iqama, follow the instructions given in this link “How to Check Iqama Expiry Date Online?”
- Date of Birth: Next in line is the date of birth in Gregorian calendar. The date of birth should match with the Date of Birth written on your passport. However, I have noticed that most of the times the DOB written on your Iqama does not match with passport. Even DOB written on my Iqama does not match with my passport. I don’t have to face any problem in this regard so far. I am not sure about the future.
- Profession: Profession on your Iqama tells other people about the job at which you are working. The profession on Iqama should match with your actual profession. It is important to mention here that it is an offense to have different profession on iqama than your actual profession and penalties may reach up to deportation. Government regulates different matters with the profession on your Iqama. For example, if the profession on your Iqama is Labor and you are working as a manager and getting salary which does not match with the labor profession, your bank might detect this issue and block your account on the instructions of SAMA (Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority). You can change the profession at any point. Recommended: Procedure to Change Iqama Profession in Saudi Arabia
- Nationality: Your nationality determines the attitude of government officials towards you. The treatment of a western expatriate is different from a South Asian expatriate. Also Read: How Saudis treat American Citizens in Saudi Arabia
- Religion: The religion on your Iqama determines if you can enter the two holy cities of Saudi Arabia Makkah and Madina. It is important to mention here that Non-Muslims cannot enter these two holy cities. Recommended: Punishment for Non-Muslims for entering to Makkah and Madina
- Labor Card Number: The labor card is issued to every employee by Ministry of Labor. Employer has to pay the famous SR 2,400/- fee every year to renew this labor card.
- Name of Employer: Name of your employer is written in Arabic here. It is illegal to work for someone who is not your employer. In case of raid by Jawazat, they also check Iqamas of different people on random basis to establish if that person is working in the company is under its sponsorship. In case of transfer of sponsorship, the name of employer is changed on the Iqama.
- Iqama Number in English: If you cannot read the Iqama number written in Arabic, don’t worry. We have it in English as well. It is normally written on the left bottom corner of the Iqama.
Iqama for Newcomers