Saudi Arabia is beginning to issue and renew residence permits on a quarterly basis

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The Ministry of the Interior, represented by the Central Passport Office (Jawazat) and the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development, has launched a new service for the issuance and renewal of residence permits (Iqama) for expatriates on a quarterly basis.


Iqama is important as proof of living and working in the Kingdom; mandatory for opening bank accounts with foreigners, renting real estate, registering for services, etc. Obtaining an Iqama permit from the Saudi Ministry of Labor and Social Development usually takes one to three weeks.


The procedure for issuing and renewing a residence permit is being carried out in cooperation with the Saudi Arabian Data and Intelligence Agency (SDAIA) represented by the National Information Center. The move follows a recent decision by the Council of Ministers to start issuing and renewing Iqama-related work permits for a minimum of three months. However, there is an exception for domestic workers and similar types of employment.


The new mechanism will allow the employer to extend the residence permit associated with the work permit after payment of an expatriation fee (financial compensation) for different periods of three, six and nine months, with the exception of a period of 12 months.


On November 3, a number of online services were launched, which allow, among other things, Iqama to be updated quarterly. The new service is available on the Absher Individual, Absher Business, Muqeem and Qiwa online platforms.


Under the recently updated government payment system, Iqama fees can be paid quarterly, every six months or nine months in addition to the current season.


Employers must pay a fee for renewing a foreign work permit, which is 800 Saudi riyals per month or 9,600 Saudi riyals per year. Foreigners can pay quarterly fees for their dependents and accompanying persons if they renew their residence permits on a quarterly basis. The monthly fee is 400 Saudi riyals per person.


The new mechanism will enable the private sector of the economy to manage its finances more efficiently by being able to extend its work permits to its foreign employees according to their real needs.


In addition, this decision will support the growth of private sector enterprises, contribute to the development of the labor market, increase its attractiveness and improve the working environment, make existing contractual relations more flexible and make them keep pace with world labor market trends.


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