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What is Iqama / Muqeem Card in Saudi Arabia

Iqama is an actually residence permit for expatriates who came into KSA for work or business purposes. The newer version for Iqama is known as Muqeem Card which was started from 1437 Hijri (14th Oct 2015).

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Anyone having relative or any other contact in Saudi Arabia will surely have an idea about of Iqama or may just hear the word of Iqama. How to apply for new Saudi Iqama? or what is Iqama and why it is so important. You might have a vague clue about iqama.

Iqama Or Visa Or both?

In other countries, foreign require visa only. In Saudi Arabia, Foreigner needs Iqama to stay in Saudi Arabia. They can be expats, immigrants, refugees etc. Anyone who want to live in the kingdom has Work Visa or permanent family visa and after 90 days they would require Iqama as well. So with Visa iqama is equally important if anyone want to stay there for more than 90 days.

What is Iqama?

Iqama is more like an identity card for foreign in Saudi Arabia. It is a personal identification card that is issued by the Saudi government. As identity card is important to live in any country so Iqama is also core and basic need to live in the kingdom. Iqama is a prime identity card to acquire all basic needs like SIM, Bank account, license etc.
[Read: How to check iqama transfer or change of sponsorship status?]

Iqama Expenses:

It will be the burden of the Employer or Sponsor to take care of Iqama expenses. If they are unable to do so, expats will be free to transfer their sponsorship without Sponsor approval.
[Read: How to change iqama profession or Visa profession in Saudi Arabia?]   

Don’t you have Iqama?

After 90 days stay in Saudi Arabia If a person don’t have Iqama yet, he should get it from his sponsor or he will be unable to step outside his place without a valid Iqama which acts as a legal residence permit for every Expatriate living in this Country. It’s compulsory to have iqama all the time to save yourself from troubles. [Read: What to do if iqama lost?]

If a person caught without Iqama he may jailed or fined or in severe case can be deported too. It depends upon that situation. So it’s better to have Iqama if you have plan to live there. If you are living since a long time and have iqama so you can check your iqama status or expiry date online.

Muqeem Card

The newer version for Iqama is known as Muqeem Card which was started from 1437 Hijri (14th Oct 2015) in which the government provided updated version of ID cards for foreigners who are residing in Saudi Arabia (KSA). This is an advance technology having all the data online. Saudi government transfers all the manual data to online so that all the processes can manage online. [Read: How to apply iqama for newborn baby?]

Iqama OR Muqeem Card Details:

Muqeem card contains a lot of personal details that can be used to verify a person. These details include person’s date of birth, name, passport number and other essential details that can be used to track him or her.

Expiry of Muqeem Card:

It will be Expires in minimum 5 years and maximum Lifetime and can be renew by the employer through abshir service or muqeem online service. If muqeem card is about to expire, it’s good to withdraw all money from bank account. The laws related to Iqama keep changing and a lot depends on the industry you are working in and your employer.

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