What is Iqama and its Benefits in Saudi Arabia
What is Iqama?
In Saudi Arabia, the Iqama is an Arabic word also called Ikamet. The word iqama is referring to the second call of the Islamic prayer. Before the prayer begins the Muezzin (the person who calls people to pray in the mosque) says Ikamet or iqama to begin the prayer. It is a temporary ID card or resident permit for expatriates, it is legal proof of living in KSA.
What is the purpose of Iqama?
I am going to explain the purpose of Iqama, but do you know that it is also called Muqeem? Okay, now an Iqama is proof of legal identity of living in Saudi Arabia. It is completely illegal to live in Saudi Arabia without having a Muqeem card or Iqama.
It is a resident permit for all expatriates living/working in Saudi Arabia. When a person enters Saudi, a 90-day working visa permit will be provided to that person. However, in the 90 days grace period, the person should get to manage the proper Iqama ID. Expatriates can ask their sponsors also known as Kafeel, or company to provide them a legal and working ID card “iqama”.
What is the Iqama ID in Saudi Arabia?
As I mentioned earlier, It is the legal proof of residence and working license for Expats in working Saudi. It contains a 10-digit number, which police “Shurta” and Jawazat can verify whenever they see it and ask you to provide it. It also contains your full name, company, and Kafeel’s name as well as the date of birth. It also contains the expiry date so that you know when it is going to expire and renew it within the allowed period.
How to Get Iqama and How Many Days It Can Take?
Let me get straight to the point. In short, you are not the one who is responsible for it. In fact, your Kafeel, employer/company is responsible to make an Iqama Id for you. However, you should ask your Kafeel or the company’s HR department to provide the resident permit for you. You don’t need to worry about anything.
You will need to provide the below-required documents to your HR department or Kafeel in order to proceed with making your Muqeem/Iqama.
- Two passport-size pictures (ask them for the picture background either blue or white).
- Original passport, don’t forget to make a photocopy of your passport and keep it with you.
- It is optional but they might also ask for a photocopy of your passport.
If you are curious to know how many days it can take to get the Iqama card? The answer totally depends on the HR department in a company and Kafeel if you are working in Saudi via an Azad visa. Moreover, it can take up to 90 days, as it is needed to be submitted to MLSD. Your Iqama will be valid for 1 or 5 years.
Can I get Iqama for My Family?
Yes, definitely you can get it for your family. All you need is to go nearest the Jawazat office in your city (Jeddah, Riyadh, Damman, etc). Take two pictures of your family, a passport copy, and a family Iqama form filled. Ask them to issue a new Iqama counter and submit the documents. They will then guide you and tell you the date you can pick up your family Iqama ID card.
Benefits of Having Iqama ID
Now let’s talk about some of the major benefits of having a Muqeem card. The benefits are:
- You can travel within KSA via Trains, Buses, and Airplanes.
- One the best things is you can invite family members such as wife, children, mother, and father.
- Easily sponsor your family.
- You will be able to do Umrah and Hajj.
- And much more.
You can not live in Saudi Arabia if you don’t have an Iqama ID card. But having it in your pocket is good and has lots of benefits. Feel free to ask any questions about Iqama in the comments below.