Family Iqama for Saudi Arabia

As a general rule, all expats who reside in Saudi Arabia need to have an Iqama, which is a form of identification and residence permit. The Iqama is initially issued to foreign workers in Saudi Arabia;

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If an employee plans to bring dependent family members to Saudi Arabia, a separate Iqama will also be required for each of them. Below we describe the process of obtaining Iqama for family.

Iqama policy for expatriates and family dependents

The Family Iqama is issued to family members of expatriates or foreign workers in Saudi Arabia. The expat must first be in Saudi Arabia on a permanent visa and start an Iqama application process on behalf of their family.

As a rule, dependent family members are issued an Iqama without the right to work. In order to get a job, you must apply for a Work Permit through a potential employer.

Steps of obtaining Iqama for family members

In general, here are the steps to obtain Iqama for your family members (dependants):

Get a Saudi permanent resident visa

Also known as simply the Resident visa, this gives foreigners the legal right to live and work in Saudi Arabia. Your family will also be on permanent visas.

As is usual with foreign workers, such visas are taken care of by, at least partly, the sponsors or employers. You will then need to prepare these documents from your family:

These documents need to be officially translated into Arabic.

Arrive in Saudi Arabia and undergo a medical testing

Though your family members have taken medical testing in the home country, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia still requires another one upon arrival in Saudi Arabia. This is done to prevent the spread of disease. Undergo the medical testing in the authorized centers. The results will then need to be reported to the Ministry of Interior.

Pay the dependent fee

The issuance of the Iqama itself is free of charge, but the residence fee for dependants per month is SAR 400 (about $105). The first 90 days in the country are free. You must pay for the entire period of the sponsor’s Iqama, except for the aforementioned 90 days. You can pay the family Iqama fee online in SNB, Al Ahli, Al Rajhi bank, or at the Absher portal.

Submit a Family Iqama application

Then, you will need to apply for the Iqama itself. To do that, prepare the following documents:

To apply for Iqama online, collect all the scans and photocopies in one PDF file. Fill out the application form on the Ministry of Interior website (Absher) or through a Jawazat office.

You will be notified when Iqama is ready and where to collect it.

Iqama photo requirements

The photo you submit with the Family Iqama application must match the following specifications.

Here is an example:

Saudi Arabia Iqama photo

Get an Iqama photo online!

The process of getting Family Iqama can get drawn out and complicated, so you may choose to save time and resources where you can. One of the ways you can do that is by getting your photo done professionally online on the online photo tool Visafoto.

Take an image with a smartphone or camera against any background, upload it here and instantly get a professional photo for your visa, passport or ID.
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Source photo example that you need to take in order to make a passport or visa photo at


Result example: a correct visa or passport photo that you will receive

Simply take a picture of yourself in good lighting, with any background, and the required dress code and posing guidelines. Upload it to our tool below, and we’ll take care of the technicalities. The resulting photo will be applicable both for the online Iqama applications and for printing.

First, take a photo of yours like this one:

Passport photo original source

You will have two types of photos: a digital one for electronic applications and another one suitable for printing.

Here they are:

Example of a Saudi Arabia Iqama photo
Saudi Arabia Iqama photos for printing

How much does it cost to get an Iqama for family members?

The issuance of the Iqama itself has no fee, but the residence fee for dependants per year is SAR500.

Iqama validity and renewal rules

Iqama, as a rule, is valid for five years. You can also check its validity on the Absher portal.

The renewal is also done through the Absher portal. To do so, make sure that all the residence fees are paid, and there are no standing obligations that could block you from renewing.

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