How To Renew lqama in 2021

These days the process of Iqama renewal is an online one. As we know that Iqama (residential permits) in Saudi Arabia are mandated to be renewed from time to time.

You can visit Jawazat if you want to, nevertheless the MOI Absher portal offers the mentioned service without making any visit to the office. Since you will be using the online method you won’t have to worry about filling the application and submitting it physically. 

This step has eased the work of your kafeel/sponsors’s as well, now they can be done with the renewal process in just a few minutes. 

Furthermore, your sponsor is liable to pay the renewal fees for Iqama except in the case of the dependents levy. Given how the Iqama renewal process is the responsibility of either your kafeel or the company where you are employed [as per Article 40 (1) of the Saudi Labor Law].

What is the dependent levy?

It is the fees that apply to each dependent family member which includes parents, spouse, children, and domestic workers under the sponsorship/guardianship of the foreign national. 

Speaking about changes now you can issue or renew iqama and Maktab Amal for 3 months as a minimum period. So instead of doing it annually, kafeel or the company can renew Iqama quarterly.

Note: Expats from some countries are required to pass a medical test as well. These countries are Somalia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nigeria, Djibouti, Sudan, Nepal, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Online procedure for iqama renewal for the year 2021

As mentioned earlier the Iqama renewal process is the responsibility of your kafeel (sponsor). However, if the need arises you should be able to complete this process as well.

Below are the steps involved in the renewal process which applies to expatriates who are technicians, nurses, general accountants, electricians, computer technicians, and various other professions. 

Having said that, the renewal procedure for the dependents, spouse, children, etc is connected with the renewal of your Iqama. So with the renewal of your ID, their Iqama will subsequently get renewed as well.

What are the requirements for the Iqama renewal?

There are 4 major requirements, and they are

  1. Payment of the fees.
  2. Undertaking the medical test.
  3. Getting registered in the Saudi council of engineering.
  4. Dependent fees (if applicable).

Let’s understand these requirements in brief.

Payment of Iqama renewal fees

Although it is the duty of your sponsor/Kafeel to pay the renewal fees on time, due to some unmitigated circumstances this duty might fall on you. In such circumstances, you would have no other option but to get the job done by yourself.

So having prior knowledge regarding the amount of the fees would come in handy. 

  • Iqama renewal fees- 650 SAR.
  • Maktab-e-Amal (Work Permit) – 8400 SAR.
  • Medical insurance – 500 SAR (on avg).
  • Dependent levy- 400SAR/month.

Note: The dependent levy is paid at the time of Iqama renewal.  

Undertaking the medical test

As previously stated only nationals of select few nations are required to pass the medical tests. So the majority of folks have nothing to worry about.

You need to get in touch with an authorized medical center in KSA which conducts these tests.

Once you are done with the test you won’t have to collect the result manually, instead, the system will send the report online to the concerned authorities.

Get a valid membership from the Saudi Council of Engineering

The process of Iqama renewal doesn’t start unless you have a valid membership of the Saudi council of engineering. So it is a must that you have an active membership of this council.

The online renewal process of Iqama will get rejected straight away if your membership is not active. So keep an eye on the validity of your membership. 

Dependent levy

If you are living with your family in Saudi Arabia then you are obligated to pay the dependent levy.

So this fee is collected at the time of renewal, unlike the rest, this process is not the responsibility of your kafeel/sponsor. Once you pay the fees get in touch with your Kafeel/HR to know the next step.

Consult your Kafeel/HR for further the process of Iqama renewal

Once you have met all the above-mentioned requirements, then consult your Kafeel or the HR office and tell them that you completed all the required procedures.

Now they will cross verify the details and renew your Iqama in a couple of minutes. Followed by your Iqama renewal your dependents Iqama will be renewed soon after.

One of the benefits of getting registered on Absher is that you will receive a confirmation SMS of your Iqama renewal. Else you can check it by using the Iqama expiry service. 

Note: The latest system doesn’t require you to submit old Iqama to Jawazat (General Directorate of Passports) considering the Iqama Id card is valid for 5 years. Instead, the concerned authorities verify your Iqama validity through an online system. 


When to pay the late Iqama renewal fine/penalty?

Irrespective of any reason if your Iqama couldn’t get renewed in time then you are liable to pay the late fine, which is 1000 SAR.

The most common cause is the failure to renew the membership of the Saudi engineering council. This usually occurs with many people, primarily with technicians, construction workers, and foremen.

One other reason is your Kafeel being unable to renew your Iqama in time, in that case, he is liable to pay the fine and not you. 

How to renew Iqama for dependents above 18 years of age?

The rule of KSA is if any of your male dependents reach the age of 18 then his sponsorship will get transferred to either a Kafeel or a Saudi company.

In case that male dependent is a student then he can continue to stay under his parents’ accounts until he reaches the age of 25. After that either the dependent will leave the country or he will be under the sponsorship of a Saudi citizen. On the other hand, the daughters can stay under their parents’ sponsorship until they get married.

Iqama renewal fees for Saiq Khas (house drivers), maids, and other domestic workers? 

For domestic workers, there are only two levies or charges. One is the Iqama renewal fees (600 SAR) and the second being the medical health insurance (400-500 SAR).

There are no Maktab-e-Amal (work permit fee) for these line of work.

So with only 1000-1100 SAR, domestic workers have the cheapest Iqama renewal fees. Moreover, the Nitaqat system doesn’t cover these professions so there’s no delay in the renewal process due to the red or yellow category problem.  

Why is my Iqama not renewing? 

Most of the time it is due to the non-payment of Iqama renewal fees.

Having said that there are plenty of other reasons why your Iqama isn’t getting renewed so get in touch with your HR/Kafeel to find out the exact issue. 

Last date for Iqama renewal? 

Iqama must be renewed 3 days before its expiry. Failure to do so would force your sponsor to pay 500 SAR as a fine, this is for the first instance.

For the second and third instances, the fines respectively are 1000 and 1500 SAR. While you are at it make sure you learn about other fines on Iqama as well. 

How can I renew my Iqama after 2 months (60 days) of expiry? 

The overall process is similar to the one mentioned earlier, however, you would have to pay the fine of 1000 SAR as a delay fee. 

Contact the HR department for the payment of the fee. 

What is the maximum age limit in Saudi Arabia for Iqama renewal? 

Courtesy of Saudization the sponsors/kafeel isn’t renewing iqamas of the employees who are at the age of 60 years. Nevertheless, the age limit for renewal is 65 years. 

The majority of the companies provide end of service benefits to employees who are 60 or above. 

Can we renew dependent’s Iqama if they aren’t living in the KSA?

When it comes to dependents you know how they are connected with your Iqama, and as long your Iqama is under renewal you can’t leave the Kingdom.

For the reason that the system hinders the renewal process if you or any dependent is outside Saudi Arabia, so they must remain in Saudi during the renewal process.

How long does it take to get the Iqama renewed?

Once you complete all the mandatory steps required for the renewal then it will take around 3 minutes to get it renewed. With the help of the Absher Business Portal, your kafeel/sponsor can have it renewed within minutes as well. 

How many days/weeks/months before can we renew Iqama?

You can renew your iqama for 6 months (180 days) before its expiry. That being said most of the companies/sponsors renew their employees’ iqama 1-3 months (30-90 days) before its expiry. 

The reason being the uncertainty of the employees, oftentimes they don’t want to extend their contract. Hence the legal time frame to inform the sponsor/Kafeel about their future decision is 3 months (90 days) before the contract expires.

Is there a grace period for Iqama renewal?

There isn’t. Besides you can find clear instructions from Jawazat that the resident ID must be renewed within 3 days of its expiry.

Note: You are deemed illegal the day your iqama expires. 

Renewal procedure for those companies who are in the low green or yellow category?

Based on the Nitaqat system, if a company falls in the yellow or red category the iqama will not renew unless its category changes to green or platinum. The same goes for the companies that are in the low green, medium, or high green category. 

However, if your company falls under the yellow category then you would have to wait a tad bit longer. Once the sponsor gets back to green the iqama will be renewed instantly. 

Note: Maktab-e-Amal fees for workers working in Platinum Nitaqat Category Company is 8400SAR, while those whose sponsors/kafeel belong to the green or yellow category have to pay 9600SAR.

Is it possible to renew Iqama if the passport is expired?

The Jawazat system doesn’t allow the Iqama renewal process to begin if the passport has expired. Luckily on the Absher portal, you will get a notification as to when your passport will expire. 

So make sure you renew your passport in time to avoid paying the late Iqama fine.

Do we need to take the Iqama renewal form from Jawazat?

Currently, there’s no such obligation to fill a renewal form and submit it to Jawazat. Since Absher portal renews Iqama online in few minutes.  There’s only one condition though your kafeel/sponsor should register themselves on the Absher Business portal (dedicated portal for kafeel/sponsors).

How to check Iqama renewal fees status?

It’s quite easy to check whether your Iqama renewal fees have been paid or not.

Just download the Absher app on your mobile from the play store, and then check the status by following these steps.

Step 1: Open the Absher app/portal.

Step 2: Enter your username and password, then log in to the site.

Step 3: Once you are in click on the ‘Public Query Available Funds’.

Step 4:  Now enter your Iqama number, captcha code then click on view. Now you can see the details of your Iqama renewal fees.

On the screen you can see ‘Labour Deposit’ funds under this is used by Jawazat. If it says zero then that means your Kafeel/Sponsor hasn’t paid the iqama renewal fees.

Once the fees have been paid you can check the Iqama expiry date in the Absher as well.

Some new changes were introduced by KSA in the Iqama fee structure

A few weeks ago KSA announced some new amendments in the Iqama fee structure, while also saying that they will scrap the Kafeel system.

Plans to change the stricter rules are in action and the ministry is reconsidering its protocols to extend relaxation to foreign employees, according to the ministry of Human Resource and Social Development.

The labor policy secretary told KSA media “We are considering changing yearly fee structure into quarterly which is likely to address several issues faced by the private sector in the country”.

The employer pays iqama renewal fees, the secretary noted, he further added that after the improvements in the labor policies, the Kafala system would be terminated and replaced with an arrangement between the employer and the employee.

The ministry rolled out labor reforms on November 4th, 2020, and according to the secretary these reforms will remain in force until March 14th, 2021.

These reforms mainly deal with the movement of the workers, therefore under this resolution, the migrant workers will be able to:

  • Resign from their post whenever they want to without taking permission from their Kafeel/employer once the employment contracts expire.
  • Leave their job at any time they like to, provided the worker has been in Saudi Arabia for at least a year and has given a notice 90 days to the employer. 
  • Change jobs within the first year of employment, under certain conditions.