Digital Iqama: All You Need To Know 

The Digital Iqama
Carrying around many different documents all the time can be a bit of a hassle. Here's how you can keep a Digital Iqama. 

The Digital Iqama is a better and easier way of carrying the Iqama with you everywhere. With services getting more and more digitized, it would only make sense for legal documents to find a new home, too. However, that raises the following questions, especially for people looking to become ex-pats:

1. What is the Iqama?
2. What happens if I don’t have my Iqama?
3. How do I procure a digital Iqama? 

Let’s get to answering those. 

What Is The Iqama? 

The Iqama is a Saudi Resident Permit that ex-pats must keep on them at all times. The Iqama is the legal document one must have their sponsor acquire that allows them to stay and work in the Saudi Arabian Kingdom. It has a fixed period of validity, after which you must either renew it, or you must exit the country. 

Sounds simple enough, right? The problem occurs when people are not able to keep the Iqama with them at all times. Be it due to being in a rush or simple forgetfulness, and it does happen to even the best of us. So, what happens if I don’t have my Iqama? 

Penalties On Not Carrying An Iqama 

Not having an Iqama can have varying penalties, and this depends on the frequency you have been caught without it. The law gives up two chances; on the third, it is deportation. 

‣Getting Caught Without An Iqama For The First Time 

If you’re caught not carrying an Iqama for the first time, especially if it is still valid, you will be detained for anywhere from a few hours to a day. After you serve this period in jail, you will be required to produce your original Iqama through someone in prison. After the Iqama is verified, you will be charged SR 1000 for not creating the Iqama on demand. Once you have paid this penalty, you are free to go. 

However, it is important to note that in recent times, the detention in penalty has been removed. An employee will not be detained for any period of time on not having proof of legal Iqama. They may only pay the necessary fine. 

‣Getting Caught Without An Iqama For The Second Time 

If you are caught without the Iqama for a second time, it will lead to a harsher penalty since the repeated offense is an indication of a habit of breaking the law. The same procedure of detention and the procurement requirement will follow. The fine is of SR 2000, this time due to the repeated offense. A strict warning of severe consequences will also accompany being without an Iqama for the third time. This penalty is very likely to be instant deportation. 

‣Getting Caught Without An Iqama For The Third Time 

Serious consequences are in store for someone without an Iqama for the third time. This time, along with the same legal procedure as earlier, the fine will be triple that of the first time and will amount to a total of SR 3000. Moreover, you must summon your sponsor along with the original Iqama. Since there is a three-time limit to this offense, the Saudi Arabian government will also begin making arrangements for deportation. 

Something of concern for ex-pats is the plan to ban all deported individuals from all GCC countries. This has been made law. Under this, if you are deported, you will not be allowed to enter or work in any other GCC country. 

Considering these penalties, it’s probably a good idea to stay on the safe side and have backups for when you cannot have a physical copy of your Iqama on you. To make this possible, the interior ministry has launched the start of the Digital Iqama. 

The Digital Iqama 

A digital copy of the Iqama is now possible through government-mandated applications like Absher and Tawakkalna. It makes things easier for ex-pats and lets them get away without the fine for not having an Iqama copy if they can produce a digital copy instead. With this development, ex-pats can breathe a sigh of relief and be able to integrate all essential documents in one app to make sure there is never any trouble. Here’s how to get a Digital Iqama. 

Getting A Digital Iqama Through Absher 

Absher Account-Tawakkalna-The Digital Iqama

In order to get a digital Iqama through Absher, you must be having an Absher account in the first place. If you have not done so: 

  1. Download the Absher Application through Google Play or Apple App Store
  2. Create an Absher Account. You can use this guide to do so. 
  3. Log in to the application by using your Absher ID and password. 
  4. Click on ‘My Services.’
  5. In the drop-down of options, select ‘Digital Cards.’
  6. A screen that says ‘Manage Your Digital Cards’ will now be visible. Click the green bar that says ‘Activate Digital ID.’
  7. It will give you the option to choose between ‘Resident ID’ and ‘Driving Licence.’ Click ‘Resident ID.’ 
  8. The next page will show you your Iqama information. If that is all correct, click ‘Activate Digital ID.’ 

Congratulations! You have now successfully activated your Digital ID through Absher. If needed, you can also keep it as a screenshot on your phone. 

Getting A Digital Iqama Through Tawakkalna 

Tawakkalna App The Digital Iqama

To activate your Digital Iqama through Tawakkalna, you must be having a Tawakkalna Account. You can consult the guide on how to do so here. If you have not done so: 

  1. Download the Tawakkalna Application through Google Play or Apple App Store on your device. 
  2. Create a Tawakkalna Account. You can use this guide to do so. 
  3. Log in to the application by using your Absher ID and password. 
  4. You will see an option labeled ‘Digital Document.’ click on it to access it. 
  5. The menu will display a list of all your digital documents. Scroll down and click on ‘Iqama ID.’ 
  6. You will now be able to see a full High-Definition photo of your Digital Iqama. 

Read more: Tawakkalna App: What Is It And How Do I Register? 

You now have access to your Digital Iqama through Tawakkalna. Please note that this ID is not reproducible as a screenshot, and for evidence, you must open the ID in the application. 

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