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The Importance of Iqama

Updated on July 15, 2012

My Iqama Card

Kingdom Residence Permit

Iqama is the most important document that an expat or a worker in Saudi Arabia should bring with him every now and then 24/7.

In Saudi Arabia if an expat or a worker is caught by police officers or Muttawa without Iqama or Residence Permit he will face different charges against him such as: illegal entry, evader, alien, spy and a terrorist. He will be sent off to jail for further investigation and if his company will ignore and will not work for his release, he will be sent off back to his home of record.

How to apply for Iqama

Iqama is an Identification card that caters all the information about the person. To apply for this Residence Permit one should submit all the requirements needed to process his Iqama such as:

  • his passport
  • his company contract with the attached of his working visa or working permit
  • other endorsement papers signed up with his employer with the stamp of the Company approved by the Saudi Arabia Chamber of Commerce
  • his photos
  • Sometimes the applicant is asked for finger prints.

After he submitted all the necessary requirements, the personnel at Iqama Department or the Ministry of Interior will now start in en-coding all the data in the computer found from those documents he submitted after that his Iqama will be processed and it will take him at least two to three days to get his Iqama.

Other purpose of Iqama

The purpose of Iqama is not only as a Residence Permit it is also use for the following purposes:

  • To apply for driver license
  • To apply for marriage license
  • To remit money in banks
  • Needed for translations of English documents to Arabic
  • And other imaginable transactions that the bearer will transact inside the host country

Iqama fees

Iqama fees vary. If the applicant will apply for it for one year – he will pay only 250 Saudi Riyals. For two years is 500 Saudi Riyals.

According to the Kingdom's Labor Law, Iqama expense should be shouldered by the employer not by the employee. However, there are wise and clever employers who charged their employees for Iqama applications and renewals.

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    • paul pruel profile image

      Paul Odien Pruel 3 years ago from Philippines and Saudi Arabia

      Hi Jhon - there is no problem if people knew your iqama numbers for as long you are the one keeping it - nobody can use it for any transaction with any government offices, banks and other agencies in Saudi Arabia. Iqama numbers are nothing without the physical card. Always keep with you your Iqama card. If in case your iqama is lost immediately report it to your company or to the police or to the Iqama department that issued it. Thanks for dropping by. I appreciate it.

    • profile image

      jhon 3 years ago

      hi paul.. some people know my iqama numbers. i don't have problem about this?

    • profile image

      shaful islamab samad haldhar 4 years ago


    • profile image

      moman ali 5 years ago

      moman ali

    • paul pruel profile image

      Paul Odien Pruel 5 years ago from Philippines and Saudi Arabia

      Ms. Betty thank you for always your dedication to inspire other hubbers. Your visit and comment are much appreciated. See you again.

    • paul pruel profile image

      Paul Odien Pruel 5 years ago from Philippines and Saudi Arabia

      Welcome Afsar and thank you too for your time and commenting. As an OFW, I am happy to share what I know to others - and may be helpful to other OFWs and other migrant workers who are planning to work in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

    • profile image

      afsar 5 years ago

      thanks for clearing the purpose of Iqama

    • bettybarnesb profile image

      bettybarnesb 6 years ago from Bartlett, TN

      Hi Paul! First I would like to thank you for the beautiful comments made on my page. Your article is very interesting and useful. Wishing you and your family a very peaceful and enjoyable Holiday season.