New Rules for Iqama Renewal: Procedures for Expatriates in Saudi Arabia 2023

In Saudi Arabia, the Iqama is an essential document for expatriates residing in the country. It is a residence permit allowing individuals to live and work in the Kingdom legally.

Recently, there have been some significant updates to the rules and procedures for Iqama renewal. If you are an immigrant living in Saudi Arabia, staying informed about these changes is crucial to ensure a smooth renewal process.

We will outline the new rules for Iqama renewal and provide you with the necessary information to navigate the process.

Overview of the New Rules

The Saudi government has implemented several changes to simplify the IQAMA renewal process, they released new rules for iqama renewal.

These changes aim to reduce bureaucracy, enhance transparency, and expedite the renewal procedure. Expatriate workers and their employers can benefit from the new rules, which ensure a smoother and more efficient renewal experience.

New Rules for Iqama Renewal

One of the key improvements introduced by the new rules is the streamlined application process. Previously, IQAMA renewal involved a cumbersome paperwork procedure, requiring multiple visits to government offices. However, the new system emphasizes online submission, eliminating the need for physical paperwork and reducing waiting times. Expatriate workers can now easily apply for IQAMA renewal through a user-friendly online portal. This digital transformation has significantly expedited the process, allowing individuals to submit their applications from the comfort of their homes or workplaces.     

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Following are the new rules of Iqama Renewal

1. Biometric Verification:

Under the new regulations, all individuals applying for Iqama renewal must undergo biometric verification. This process involves capturing an individual’s fingerprints and facial images, which will be stored in the government’s database. It is essential to schedule an appointment at an authorized center for this verification before submitting the Iqama renewal application.

Biometric Verification

2. Validity Period:

Previously, Iqamas were issued for one year. However, the new rules for iqama renewal now allow for Iqamas to be justifiable for up to two years, depending on the individual’s employment contract. This change aims to reduce the executive burden associated with annual renewals and provide expatriates greater convenience.

Validity Period

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3. Payment of Dependent Fees:

Expatriates with dependents, such as spouses and children, must pay dependent fees during the Iqama renewal process. These fees vary on the number of dependents and are payable annually. It is crucial to settle any outstanding dependent fees before applying for Iqama renewal to ensure timely and smooth sailing.

Payment of Dependent Fees

4. Insurance Coverage:

The Saudi Arabian government has made it mandatory for all expatriates to have health insurance coverage. Individuals must provide proof of valid health insurance as part of the Iqama renewal process. Employers are responsible for arranging health insurance coverage for their employees, while individuals who are self-employed or unemployed must obtain private health insurance.

Insurance Coverage

5. Job Title and Occupation:

The new rules require expatriates to ensure that their job titles and occupations listed on their Iqamas accurately reflect their current roles and responsibilities. It is crucial to update this information if there have been any employment status or job position changes. Please do so to avoid complications during the renewal process.

Job Title and Occupation

6. Financial Obligations:

To facilitate the Iqama renewal process, individuals must ensure they have cleared any outstanding financial obligations. This includes settling fines, outstanding bills, or any other financial liabilities. Reviewing your financial status and addressing any outstanding debts before applying for Iqama renewal is advisable.

Financial Obligations

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7. Documentation Requirements:

When applying for Iqama renewal, individuals must provide the necessary documentation, including a valid passport, employment contract, health insurance certificate, and proof of biometric verification. It is to ensure that all documents are up-to-date and comply with the government’s requirements to avoid delays or rejection of the renewal application.

Documentation Requirements

8. Early Renewal:

Under the new rules, expatriates can renew their Iqamas up to 90 days before expiration. This change allows individuals to plan and avoid any last-minute rush or potential issues arising during renewal. This early renewal option is advisable to ensure a smooth transition and uninterrupted legal status in Saudi Arabia.

Early Renewal

9. Online Application:

The Saudi government has introduced an online application system for Iqama renewal to enhance efficiency and convenience. Expatriates can now submit renewal applications through the official Absher platform or other authorized online portals. This digital process eliminates the need for physical paperwork and reduces processing time. However, ensuring that all information provided is accurate and up-to-date is essential.

Online Application

10. Fee Structure:

The fee construction for the Iqama renewal has also been revised. The new regulations have introduced a tiered fee system based on the company’s number of expatriate employees. The fees may vary for small, medium, and large businesses. Employers and individuals must know the specific fee structure applicable to their situation to ensure the renewal process is completed on time.

Fee Structure

11. Penalties for Late Renewal:

Failure to renew the Iqama within the specified timeframe can result in penalties and legal consequences. Under the new rules, individuals who fail to renew their Iqamas on time may face fines, restrictions on travel, or even deportation. It is crucial to adhere to the renewal deadlines and promptly take all necessary steps to maintain a valid Iqama status.

Penalties for Late Renewal:

12. Follow-Up and Tracking:

After submitting the Iqama renewal application, it is essential to regularly check the status and progress of the application. The Absher platform and other authorized online portals provide options to track the application and receive updates. If there are any setbacks or issues with the renewal process, it is advisable to follow up with the relevant authorities or consult an immigration professional for guidance.

Follow-Up and Tracking

It is worth considering that the new regulations and procedures for Iqama renewal aim to streamline the process, ensure compliance, and maintain accurate records of expatriates in Saudi Arabia.

By staying informed, adhering to the requirements, and taking proactive steps, expatriates can navigate the renewal process smoothly and enjoy a seamless transition to a renewed Iqama status.

As these rules and regulations may be subject to change, it is always recommended to stay updated through official government channels, consult with relevant authorities, or seek professional advice to ensure the most accurate and current information regarding Iqama renewal in Saudi Arabia.

The new rules implemented for Iqama renewal have brought about significant changes and improvements. These rules have been designed to streamline the renewal process, enhance efficiency, and ensure the smooth functioning of the Saudi Arabian labour market.

The introduction of online renewal systems has simplified the procedure, allowing expatriates to renew their Iqama from the relief of their homes or offices.

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This shift towards digital platforms has eliminated the need for long queues and tedious paperwork, saving time and effort for both individuals and government authorities.

Additionally, the new rules have introduced stricter regulations regarding Iqama renewals.

This has been done to verify compliance with labour laws, promote transparency, and safeguard the rights of both expatriate workers and their employers.

By enforcing these regulations, the government aims to protect the rights and well-being of foreign workers while maintaining a balanced and fair labour market. Furthermore, the implementation of the new rules has contributed to better data management and monitoring.

The centralized database allows authorities to track and update information promptly, reducing the chances of errors and discrepancies.

This improves the accuracy of records and facilitates effective management of labour resources and planning for the future.

If you miss the deadline for IQAMA renewal, you may face penalties, fines, or legal consequences. It is essential to renew your IQAMA on time to maintain legal status.

No, you cannot renew your IQAMA without a sponsor. A sponsor is required for IQAMA renewal in Saudi Arabia.

Yes, the new rules generally apply to all professions. However, there may be specific regulations or requirements based on your work.

 Yes, there may be exceptions for senior citizens or dependents. Specific rules and privileges for these individuals may vary, so it is preferable to check with the relevant authorities for detailed information.

If your company fails to provide the necessary documents for IQAMA renewal, it can cause delays and complications. It is essential to communicate with your company and work towards resolving the issue to ensure timely renewal.


Overall, the new rules for Iqama renewal mark a positive step towards modernizing and optimizing the immigration system in Saudi Arabia. By leveraging technology, promoting compliance, and enhancing administrative processes, these rules strive to create a more efficient and secure environment for expatriate workers. With continued efforts to improve and adapt, these rules can further strengthen the Saudi labour market and ensure a smooth experience for individuals and authorities involved in the Iqama renewal process.

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