An Iqama is an important document that every Saudi expatriate must have on hand when living and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The Iqama is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s equivalent of a residence permit in other countries. This means that an Iqama serves as a proof that a Saudia Expatriate is legally residing and working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The validity of an Iqama usually falls anywhere between 1 and 2 years, and has to be renewed immediately when it expires.
For first time Saudi expatriates, it is important for one to check the information written in his or her Iqama. An individual must do the following as soon as he or she receives his or her Iqama:
- Double check them for typographical errors especially in the name of the Iqama holder.
- Make sure that the name on the Iqama matches the name written on the passport.
- Arabic name should also be pronounced the same as the English name.
It is important for Saudi expatriates to know that when there is an inconsistency in the Iqama, no matter how minor it may be, will result to the following consequences:
- The Iqama will not be accepted by Saudi authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
- Banks and remittance centers will not also accept one’s Iqama. According to the Saudi Arabia Monetary Authority (SAMA), Iqama’s with names incorrectly printed will not be accepted.
- An individual cannot get clearance from the police authorities, which is important especially when one plans to migrate to other European countries.
In case an Iqama has a misspelled name, the holder of the Iqama must immediately have it corrected. He or she should:
- Visit the Human Resource officer or the government relations officer of the company or institution affiliated and request for a change in the Iqama name because of the error.
- If the English name is misspelled in one’s Iqama, the Human Resource officer or the government relations officer can make the changes online by accessing the website and get a new printed Iqama the very next day.
- When the Arabic name is misspelled in one’s Iqama, the Human Resource officer or the government relations officer will have to go to the Jawazat Office and request them to make the changes. The Iqama will be ready one day after the Human Resource officer or the government relations officer visits the Jawazat Office.