Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Holding Passport for First Iqama Processing

Do I need to keep Passport in Saudi Arabia for the processing of my first Iqama? I want to send it to the Canada for the stamping of permanent residency visa.

Question by Visitor
Hi Steve, thanks for all the useful info. I am facing a unique issue. I am expecting my work visa in next couple of days. Just to let you know, I will be going for work for the first time. As part of my long term plan to permanently move to Canada, yesterday I have got a confirmation that my permanent residency application is approved and they have asked to send passport within 30 days from yesterday to get PR stamped. Given my potential departure for Saudi Arabia soon, I am not sure whether I will be able to send my passport to Canadian High Commission before the due date as I understand I have to apply for the Iqama. I am also not sure whether as part of Iqama process, authority will hold my passport or not. Hence, I am unsure about the best way to deal with it. Your guidance will be extremely appreciated. Thanks so much! One more thing Canadian high commission may take a month before returning my passport back.

Answer by Steve
So what do you want to do? You want to go to Canada or Saudi Arabia?
In order to process the Iqama, you will have to submit it to Jawazat. Once Iqama is issued it will be in your custody.
As a general practice, employers hold the Iqamas of their employees in Saudi Arabia. Although it is illegal but they persist on holding Iqama which has been detailed in this link “Legality of Holding Passport by Kafeel

Question by Visitor
Thanks Steve! Well basically I want to move to KSA at least for a year while searching the right opportunity in Canada. What would you suggest?
  1. Option 1: as soon as I get my passport after getting KSA work visa, I can send passport immediately to Canadian high commission to get the PR stamped (that means I will join KSA firm roughly after one month; time normally taken by Canadian Commission)
  2. Option 2: as soon as I get my passport after getting KSA visa, I will fly to KSA and then send passport from there to Canada but here is the tricky question: whether iqama process requires my passport to be held with me or with the authority while the time they take to process iqama? If it’s with me, can you forsee any issue if I send the passport and be in KSA for a month or so without my ID (passport)? Your guidance will be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

Answer by Steve
Option 1 seems more feasible than option 2. In KSA procedures can be very complicated. You cannot expect everything to be on time here. So it is better to do it before flying to KSA

Iqama for Newcomers
  1. Procedure to Apply for the First Iqama
  2. List of Approved Medical Centers for Iqama Issuance / Renewal
  3. Tips for Newcomers in Saudi Arabia
  4. Tips by MOI for expatriates holding Iqama
  5. Overstaying after Visa (Iqama) Expiry in Saudi Arabia
  6. Penalties on Iqama Holders by Saudi Government
  7. Fines for not Carrying Iqama
  8. Knowing Details on Iqama
  9. Procedure to Register to Saudi Council of Engineering


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