How to apply and obtain Iqama (Saudi Arabian Residence Permit)

What is Iqama (Saudi Arabian Residence Permit)?

  • Iqama is a recognized form of identification issued by the Saudi government. It serves as a residency card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and is connected to an employment (KSA)
  • Foreign workers can only obtain work permits that last one year due to the lengthy and difficult iqama application process (renewable).

How to apply?

  • To apply for this visa, the employer must first get a Block Visa from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD). The sponsor corporation receives a Visa Authorization number and a Power of Attorney from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia upon approval, subject to the conditions and Iqama quotas.
  • This enables the employer to submit an application for a work visa at the relevant Saudi diplomatic mission in the employee’s home country on the employee’s behalf.
  • To complete the work visa process, the employee will be required to present a medical certificate.
  • The employee can enter the Kingdom and begin working for the company once the work visa arrives. However, the employer must provide the MLSD with the application for a work permit and Iqama within 90 days of the employee’s arrival in the Kingdom. The employee will once more be required to visit the authorized local KSA government or private clinic for a medical examination, and the reports must be submitted with the application.
  • The employee can sponsor their family to immigrate to the country after receiving the Iqama, which normally takes 2 weeks. The spouse and children will receive an iqama that is not linked to the employer but rather to the employee. For dependents, these are called Iqamas.

What is the Eligibility?

  • Foreign nationals can only be hired in Saudi Arabia by employers that have a valid Block Visa from the Ministry of Labour and Social Development (MLSD).
  • This visa must be renewed after a maximum of one year.
  • The applicant must be older than 21 years old, in good health, free of infectious diseases, in possession of a valid passport, and without a history of criminal activity.
  • Applicants with professional and scientific skills are valued by the Saudi government.

Where to apply?

  • The Ministry of Labor and Social Development must first approve the sponsoring employer’s request for a Block Visa.

Documents required

  • Saudi entry visa page
  • Valid passport
  • 4 passport-sized photo
  • Passport-sized photos of the employer
  • Medical report
  • filled Iqama application form
  • Immigration officers took fingerprints (biometrics) at the airport.
  • Bank receipt for new resident Iqama fees
  • Insurance document

What are the fees?

  • The program grants annual renewable residency for SAR 100,000 or permanent residency for SAR 800,000.

What is the processing time?

  • Iqama issuance typically takes 1-3 weeks.

What is the validity?

  • It is valid for up to one year.

When to renew?

  • It must be renewed three days before the expiration date.

How to renew?

  • Iqama renewal is possible in a single day. The Jawazat has not experienced any delay. Your registered cellphone number with Absher will be notified once the Iqama has been refreshed.

How to check the Validity/status of Iqama?

  • Visit the website.
  • Choose the passport section
  • Then select Query Iqama Expiry Service.
  • After that Choose Integrated e-services “Individual” on the Absher portal.
  • Enter user ID
  • Enter a 4-digit verification code.
  • Then click on Query Iqama Expiry Service
  • After that enter the Iqama number and check the status/validity of Iqama.
  • If the status shows green then it is valid.


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