Saudi Arabia offers a great business environment with fantastic opportunities. For foreign nationals to live and work in Saudi Arabia, you need to obtain an IQAMA, which is the equivalent of a Saudi visa. In this blog, we’re letting you know all about the IQAMA in Saudi Arabia.
What is the IQAMA Saudi Arabia visa?
The IQAMA is a long-term residency visa used by foreign nationals who want to live and work in Saudi Arabia. These visa types are organised and distributed by the Saudi government. You can view an IQAMA status online, as each resident is given a Saudi Arabia IQAMA number.
To apply for the IQAMA, you will be required to submit a range of documents. These will be outlined for you at the beginning of the process. The IQAMA is an official identification document valid for a specific timeframe. Having an expired IQAMA status can cause many issues. You must be aware of the expiry date of your residence visa.
Find out more about the Saudi Arabia Visiting Investor Visa.
How to get an IQAMA status in Saudi Arabia
To be able to access a valid IQAMA in Saudi Arabia, you will need to have sponsorship from an employer. This sponsorship must be from a Saudi Arabian company or a company that is licensed to do business in the country.
Initially, you’ll need to apply for the block visa. When you receive block visa approval, you can access a visa authorization number and a power of attorney. Then, you’ll need to apply for a work visa to enter Saudi Arabia while ensuring that you provide a valid passport.
Upon having entered Saudi Arabia, you will be required to prove your medical status by having tests completed by an authorised medical centre. The medical examination for a residence permit will include the following.
- Blood test to check for HIV, hepatitis C, and hepatitis B
- Urine test
- Stool test
- Past illness review
- Eye examination
- Chest X-ray
- Physical medical exam
Foreign residents will be given a medical certificate upon completion of these tests.
Providing the success of your work permit application and medical tests, you can apply for the Saudi Arabia IQAMA. This must be applied for within 90 days of the foreign employee’s arrival in Saudi Arabia. The sponsor will need to assist you with the application process for your identity card.
How much does an IQAMA cost?
On average, an IQAMA costs 650 SAR. The employer is responsible for paying the work permit fees on the employee’s behalf. The IQAMA permit lasts for one year after the date of approval. Each year, this residency permit will need to be renewed. IQAMA renewal is an efficient process.
The process of approval for the IQAMA typically takes around a month. Due to obtaining a work visa first, the employee is able to work in Saudi Arabia.
What’s the difference between an IQAMA and a visa?
Visas are used across the world for people to enter various countries. Depending on the reason for entering and the duration of the visit, you may or may not require a visa. You must check visa requirements before travelling.
In contrast, an IQAMA is used in Saudi Arabia, specifically for foreign nationals. The IQAMA visa needs to be sponsored by an employer. This is an important law in the country that shows you are a trusted individual. Additionally, employers should cover the cost of the work permit and may be required to pay a fee if foreign employees leave the company. Read our blog on Key Saudi Arabian Authorities and Platforms.
We can support you with all Saudi Arabia visa applications. Our expert team is on hand to answer all your questions and ensure that the IQAMA application is completed efficiently for foreign workers. Contact our team for any support you require with work visas in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We can also support you with company formation in Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia PRO services.