Iqama is the existing residence identification card for expatriates or foreign workers in Saudi Arabia. Should an OFW needs to go out, he/she must not forget to carry the iqama to avoid fines and sactions.
Muqeem Card to Replace Iqama
To defeat fraud, the government of Saudi Arabia launched last year a new machine-readable identification card called muqeem. However, expats who are currently using iqama need not acquire this new card until it expires. Foreign workers will be issued by muqeem upon expiration of his/her iqama.
The new residence card has five-year validity. It provides the worker’s identity such as the name, number, birth date, profession, eligibility to work, nationality, work permit number (if applicable), religion and employer.
According to Col. Khalid Al-Saykhan, director of Saudi information technology, the residency periods for expatriates stay the same. The period of stay must be recorded through the Abshir system, to register an identity card automatically.
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