Saudi Arabia is a land of opportunities and bounty.Expatriates all over the world come to work here.There is a large scope for professions such as engineers,doctors,technicians,admins,teachers,professors,lecturers etc.When you come to Saudi Arabia on work visa or a peramanent family visa,the first thing you need to do is get ur Iqama processed.Iqama is a residence permit given to those expatriates who come to KSA on work visa.It is valid for a specific period of time mostly for a year.It is a legal right of the employee.It is the responsibility of the employer to provide his employee with the iqama within a period of 90 days.If he fails to do so he will be penalised.You can even transfer your sponsorship to another employer if you are not given your Iqama in 90 days.The procedure for applying for Iqama is given below:
•The first step in this regard is the medical test.A medical test is done to check your physical capability and vital stats such as your blood group.It is done in an approved medical centre around your vicinity or area.An employer cannot in any circumstance waive any medical test.After the test is done you can collect the reports within 2 to 3 working days.Though it is adviced to collect the report personally as it is a proof of documentation, the online copy is sent by the medical centre directly to the Ministry Of Interior for futher processing.The medical test includes test for nHIV or AIDS,Xray,hearing and sight test,blood test,cholera test which is done basically by testing stool and vaccination.A medical test is already done in our home country before the visa endorsement but this test is done when we reach KSA before the Iqama issuance.It is a necessary step and cannot be ignored by the employer or the employee.Children do not need to undergo a medical test.They will be evaluated by paedriaticians for vitals like height and weight.
•The second step in the process of Iqama processing is the attestation of your engineering degree by The Saudi Council of Engineering or your accounts degree by the Saudi Organisation for Certified Public Accounts.This costs roughly around 1000 SAR but is taken care of by the company you work in or your employer.This cost is not to be beared by the employee.The Saudi Council Of Engineering checks for the auntheticity and originality of your certificate or degree.
•After the medical is done and the reports recieved,and the attestation done if you are an engineer or hold an accounts degree,then you hand over your passport and two passport size photographs to your employer for further processing of the Iqama.Then he hands over all necessary documents to the Ministry of Interior.He also applies for your Health Insurance according to the border number that is written by immigration officers when you first enter KSA.Health Insurance is mandatory along with Iqama.There are many insurance companies who provide insurance.According to the budget of the employer or company they provide insurance in categories lik VIP, A,B or C.The total cost for issuance of Iqama is 450 SAR.The employer or company has to pay an additional fee of 2500 SAR.
•After the Iqama is processed and reaches your hand,make sure that the name in English and Arabic coincide perfectly and there is no mistake in spelling or order of surname and your first name.This is to avoid confusion later.The name on your passport should also be the same as the name on your Iqama.This is really important.The Iqama should be returned to the employer for correction if there is such a mistake.The employer should not accept the incorrect Iqama from the company that he works for until the error is ameliorated.
Another doubt many expatriates have is that will they be paid salaries if their Iqama expires.The renewal of Iqamas is the responsibility of your company.Hence you will be paid salaries regardless of the validity or expiry of your Iqama.
If the employee wants to call his dependants to KSA,he can apply for the family visa 3 or 4 weeks after the issuance of his Iqama.He can take all the necessary documents,passport size photographs to The Ministry Of Interior and submit it there.He can also apply online for family visa on

  • Haneef Muhammad Farooq

    Dear Sir,

    Very informative article, Can you also please tell about the procedure to apply for iqama for medical professionals both in private and those working in MOH.

    I am working in MOH, Assir Region as a Spl. Doctor. The hospital adminstration has refused to give me iqama. They are asking me to pass Saudi council examination and than only will they give iqama.
    I have completed my medical, given my passport, my document verification is completed and registered with Saudi Health Council and waiting to give exam. following the exam i need to register as spl with the council which requires payment and malpractice insurance, but this process also requires iqama.
    Even for issuance of salary they are asking for iqama.

    However by the time i will give exam for saudi council, the first time, i will have overstayed the duration of 90 days in my visa. On pointing this to the adminstration, they say its ok to overstay, there is no problem.

    I am confused and concerned and feel trapped.

    Please advise.

  • Mohammed Saleem

    Dear, I came to saudi a month ago, after done with the procedures of airport, I am settled in Riyadh. My profession is “Fanni Kharabai” . My agent has not made my iqamah yet. The company is in yellow. Please advice me weather I can take transfer or go back to India?

  • ZSAF

    My mother has joined me here in Saudi Arabia on permanent visa. For Iqama purposes, how to get insurance for her. She is on my sponsorship. My company advising me to get insurance from external source as this expense will be borne by myself.

    • Java

      How to apply permanent visa for mother?what documents are required?

  • Hariharasudhan

    Dear sir,
    Am an engineer registered in saudi council of engineers. I came with two years work contract with my company in saudi Arabia. My iqama got renewed three months back and now I am applying exit visa from my company after 17 months due to personal reasons.Hr dept is asking me to pay 3400 SAR as expenditure for my iqama deposit and renewal charges. Please advise me to know about the details