The iqama (work permit) is a small card that allows expats to live and work in Saudi Arabia. iqamas are issued by the Ministry of Interior and they usually stay valid for two years at a time. However, timers start as soon as iqamas expire, after which expats will need to leave the country and return through “the border” (i.e., airport or sea port). iqama holders who fail to do this more than once risk indefinite deportation from the country. iqama expiration dates are written in Arabic on iqamas because Saudi bureaucracy doesn’t have much use for Roman numerals, but there is an online service that converts them into Latin characters here
Expiring iqamas have the name of the iqama holder, iqama number, iqama expiration date and iqama issue date. This is what expats will see if their iqamas are about to expire:
There’s a two-month grace period given after iqamas expire. During this time, expats may still leave Saudi Arabia by getting an Exit/Re-entry Permit from General Directorate of Passports (list of General Directorate of Passports offices) before they leave or through “the border” upon arrival on departure. Such permits usually cost SR 50 per person plus the actual price for travel documents (for example, airfare). Alternatively,
it is possible to extend iqamas up to three months past their expiration by submitting iqama extension forms at iqama offices of the Ministry of Interior before their expiration, however this is only possible for iqamas that expire within three months.
Iqama validity ends one day after expats’ iqamas expire. Expats whose iqamas have expired will need to leave Saudi Arabia and return through “the border” immediately after iqama status turns invalid.
Those who fail to do so will be considered as illegals and it is illegal for them to stay in KSA longer than 150 days without obtaining iqama extensions. Such expats may risk fines, arrest, detention and even deportation if they are caught by authorities.
Expats with iqamas set to expire within the next three months should renew iqamas in person with their iqama sponsor (employer). iqama holders who don’t know what to do when iqamas expire may follow the iqama renewal guide after reading the General Directorate of Passports website.
The iqama is a Saudi Arabian residence permit and, like passports and other residence permits, they need to be renewed at least once every two years for expats living and working outside KSA and every six months if expats are inside the country.
iqamas last either 24, 48 or 72 months depending on what type of iqama an expat has signed up for.
Residence Permit expiration dates are written in Arabic on Residence Permits because Saudi bureaucracy doesn’t have much use for Roman numerals, but there is an iqama expiration converter online which converts iqama expiry dates here . iqamas usually expire two months after their renewal date so it is best to renew iqamas at least a month before they expire.
There are five types of iqamas given by the Saudi Arabian authorities:
1- iqama with a visa stamp for a specific number of months – valid for 24 months from iqama issue date
2- iqama without a visa stamp that may be renewed every six or 12 months – valid for 48 or 72 months from iqama issue date
3- limited contract iqama – valid for as long as the iqama sponsor is contracted with iqama holder
4- iqama for individuals who do not have an iqama sponsor – valid for two years from iqama issue date
5- student iqamas – typically valid for one year from iqama issue date. Student iqamas can be renewed up to a maximum of three years before they expire. Student iqamas must be renewed every year if students wish to continue their studies in KSA during their fourth and fifth years, but this is optional.
During the first week of the month after iqamas’ expiry dates, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Interior will start sending out texts and emails expats to leave within 30 days. iqama holders who have iqamas expiring in the next three months should apply iqama extensions at iqama offices of the Ministry of Interior immediately before iqamas’ expiry dates.
BENEFITS OF HAVING IQAMA NUMBER IN SAUDIA
- It gives you legal resident permit and identity
- Helps you to avail other job opportunities
- Will helps you during traveling
- It’s essential to have the Iqama because everyday chores like opening a bank account, having a driving license, to rent a house, or to get the hospital/ medical services. All are possible only if you have the legal permit
Check Iqama Expiry Status Online
Iqama is necessary to live in Saudi Arabia, and one should always stay updated with its validity status. Any expact or visitor residing in Saudi Arabia with expired Iqama has to face the consequences like Penalty fees. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia considers living with expired Iqama is illegal. So, you should always keep track of your Iqama expiry.
There are a few simple methods to check Iqama expiry status within minutes.
- Check Iqama Expiry through MOI Application Wazarat amal
- Check Iqama Expiry at MOL
- Check Iqama Expiry via SMS
- Check Iqama Funds with Moi.
- Iqama Check kafeel name.
Iqama Expiry through MOI Absher Application Wazarat Amal
To check Iqama expiry status through this method, you need to download an MOI Application on your smartphone. From this platform, you will be able to check the validity date in English.
First of all, you have to log in to the application. Put your username and password, then put the image code shows at your screen and click LOGIN.
- The new page will appear with your name and info at the centre.
- You will see three basic options at the top of the screen. Click on the “Dashboard.”
- After clicking on the dashboard, you will see different options will appear as a menu. You have to select “Timeline.”
- New page will open. Select “Me & Family.”
- The new page shows you your Iqama expiry date in the georgian calendar.
Check Iqama Expiry Online at MOL
Another easy way to check Iqama expiry status from the official website of the Ministry of Interior. You only need the Iqama number.
Here are the easy steps to check the Iqama expiry at MOL.
- Go to the official website of MOL.
- Select the E-Services portal.
- Enter your Iqama Number, your Date of Birth (exact as your documents). You’d have Hijri or Georgian calendar choice.
- Put the image code at the “Verification code” box. Then click enter.
- The new page will appear, which shows different information and Iqama Expiry at the left bottom.
Check Iqama Expiry via SMS
This is the oldest way to check Iqama expiry and keep track of your residence necessity at KSA.
You will need two essential things to check Iqama Expiry.
- Kafeel/Sponsor ID
- Iqama Number
The SMS format would be:
12*Sponsor/Kafeel ID*Iqama Number
When you are done typing the message in the respective format, then send it to the number with subject to your usage.
Send the SMS at:
- Mobily users send SMS to 624444
- SAWA/STC users send SMS to 888994
- Zain users send SMS to 709444
The service charges per SMS would be 1.5 SAR.
Check Iqama Expiry with Absher
For the legal license to get reviewed all the time for no future trouble, it’s crucial to have an eye over the validity or the expiry of the Iqama. Before 2020, it was easy for the Iqama holders to check iqama expiry and the validity from any online sites, but the Saudi government has changed the rules.
Now you have to get yourself registered in the ‘Absher portal’ to check all the information of the Iqama. For registration in the Absher portal, you have to be in the kingdom as it reaches to you with the local check iqama in ksa contact number. Some other details to consider include:
- Open the Absher portal site, select the individual integrated e-service option
- Select the language
- If you are already a user or Absher portal then merely log in your account however if you are new to be login, create your account first
- Fill up all the initials that came after the option of new account registration.
- Once the account gets prepare after the phone registration, log in to the account and then check your desired Iqama detail; the validity and the expiry date with the click
The expiry date of the Iqama companies and office provides Iqais also printed on the card in the Hijri dates. But for more confidentiality and to have a hand over other check iqama fees and tax details. It’s preferred to have an Absher portal account or at least an access to it wither from a friend or the sponsoring entity
Usually, to which the employee belongs, and they pay the Iqama fee for you. But in the case of Iqama expiry, the Saudi governments have the right to charge fine against you after the specified period of Iqama Expiry.
Link to the Portal:
IQAMA EXPIRY AND PENALTY
After the definite period of Iqama validity time, you have to renew it within three working days, but if you fail to do so the Saudi police may catch you any time and will find you with a substantial penalty (Grama in local language)
- You have to pay 500SAR as grama when you fail to renew your Iqama first time
- The second time, the government will fine you with double grama
- If you continue to get failed in Iqama restore; the government will deport you with a penalty of 1000SAR or even more depending upon your Kafeel
IQAMA EXPIRY CHECK RED GREEN
Green: When it shows Green It means your company or Kafeel has sent all desired documents to Saudi Govt and you are cleared by government.
Yellow: when status is yellow it means your company has not sent all desired documents to Saudi Govt so they are checking the list then you need to fulfill all requirement of govt otherwise they will turn it to red..
Red: If the status is red it is endanger signal for foreigner. because the kafeel is not full fulling the required documents and you are about to depot in no time.
The basic structure of the Iqama consist of
- Name of the holder written both in Arabic and English
- Date of birth, country origin, religion is some other initials included in the card
- After the title, the next important thing is the ID card number written in Arabic. The number enables the holder to show his or her identity to others
For the strict concern of the KSA government, Iqama is very much crucial for the foreigners who came to the state to get themselves employed. For non-Saudi personnel, it’s necessary to have a local sponsor who will send him the legal permit or the residency card, the Iqama that will allow the staff to live there with all the legal rights. The current status of the iqama validity is limited for the private sector people as they have to renew the Iqama every year. For the government sector, the restore option may vary.
WHAT IS IQAMA PROCESS?
For the application of Iqama, it’s necessary to have a local sponsor from the kingdom who will request a claim on behalf of you to the ministry of the kingdom and will legally get you with the resident permit. For the foreigner to get the Iqama, some necessary steps are required to take which includes:
- Block visa: Block visa is the documented application or the quota provided by the ministry of labor and social development of the MOLSD that let the sponsors bring single or multiple foreign entities for work authorization in the kingdom. The sponsor will apply for the approval of the block visa to the MOLSD. The ministry then will either allow or reject the applicant’s request by considering his or her country origin, identity, qualification, or job demand.
- After paying iqama fees and the visa authorization, the visa work is generated for the foreign employee
- If the MOLSD approves the request of the block visa, then the KSA’s ministry of foreign affairs will generate a visa authorization number against the applicant’s request.
Note: For visa authorization, the employee needs to submit his or her medical certificate first
- When all the documents are created, the employee may start his or her work under the sponsorship of the local bodies and will then apply for the Iqama to the MOLSD, and within 90 days of the working time in the kingdom, the employee will get his or her Iqama
Note: You can also get your Iqama on a student visa, but this is a non-pocket friendly way because of education there for the personnel in countries like Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Mauritius, etc. are way too much expensive.
- For how long Iqama is valid?
Your iqama is valid for one year only and must be annually renewed. The policy does not specify whether you or your employer will pay the renewal fees so that you are willing to pay your own.
- What is Muqeem card?
To control expatriates ‘ flows, the Saudi Government operates through Al-ELM a service named Muqeem, which consists of a database that tracks and dynamically updates any time someone enters or leaves the country or receives a visa or a new Iqama.
- Can I have a final exit visa with expired Iqama?
Yes, You have to go through a short process and then can apply for the final exit visa with expired Iqama. Besides, you also have to pay fine fees for Iqama expiry.
- Can I come back after the final exit?
Yes, you can come back immediately if you were not involved in any illegal activity, you must not blacklist by the Government of Saudi Arabia, and if you do not have any unpaid loan against you.
- What is the Iqama Renewal Fees?
The resident license Iqama Renewal fees is (SAR 500 for 1 year, SAR 1000 for 2 years) and SAR 600 per year for domestic servants.
- How Can I Check My Iqama is renewed?
Go to MOI website and check the expiry date, if the date is changed from the current Iqama you had and update with the new (increased) date, then your iqama is renewed.
Important Points to Remember
- If you are deciding to leave Saudi Arabia with Expired iqama, then you should stop and Renew it first because once you exit KSA with expired iqama, then you may have to face some severe problems when you come back.
- When you exit Saudia Arabia and plan to come back, make sure your Iqama is valid when you apply for the Re-Entry.
- Valuable advice you to not listen to any ordinary people of Saudi Arabia about your Iqama process and other Government services. It is better to download the Absher Application and get all the necessary details by yourself.
- In case your Iqama expiry date is near to any holidays or vacations of Saudi Arabia, then you must contact and inform your kafeel so you may not have to face any difficulty.
- Make sure to have a valid passport before you apply for the Iqama Renewal.
- There is no such legal way to exit Saudi Arabia with expired iqama, so make sure your Iqama Renewal before exit.
There is a special department in Saudi Arabia The Jawazat which deals with all the new and old Iqama related issues, so in case of any misunderstanding, you can always visit the office and get the proper guidance