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;
Table of contents
- Iqama policy for expatriates and family dependents
- Steps of obtaining Iqama for family members
- Iqama photo requirements
- Get an Iqama photo online!
- How much does it cost to get an Iqama for family members?
- Iqama validity and renewal rules
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:
- Valid travel documents and identification (passport);
- Proof of kinship (marriage certificate, birth certificate, as applicable);
- Passed medical testing;
- Proof of qualifications (if applicable).
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:
- The application form;
- Two photographs of each family member;
- Passport copies of each family member;
- Photocopies of Saudi visas of each family member;
- Iqama and passport copy of the family’s head;
- Medical insurance (it must be issued by the employer of the family’s head).
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.
- The required Iqama photo size is 4×6 cm;
- The photo must be in color;
- The background should be plain white;
- Your eyes must be open and looking straight at the camera;
- Eyeglasses are only allowed for medical purposes. In this case, you must provide a letter from a registered medical practitioner stating the reason. The frame must not obscure your face;
- The picture must have good contrast and lighting, with no dramatic shadows nor blurs or pixelated parts;
- You must not retouch the picture; it may not have red eyes or glares.
Here is an example:
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.
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:
You will have two types of photos: a digital one for electronic applications and another one suitable for printing.
Here they are:
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.