So what is a Muqeem resident card? On Oct 14, 2015, the first day for the 1437 Islamic New Year, the government in Saudi Arabia decided to use the Muqeem, a new kind of identity card to replace the Iqama, the old resident identity card of expats who live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
From the new Islamic year 1437, all expats who possess an expired Iqama will be issued with a Muqeem card. From this point onwards, no Iqama cards will be issued.
The Ministry of Interior (MOI) and Deputy Premier, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, launched the Muqeem Resident Card in Riyadh.
The name “Iqama” will not be used by the department anymore. An announcement was made by the Passport Department that the Muqeem Resident Identity Card will now be delivered by Saudi Post to employers and individuals. With this, everything will be done online and there will be no need to visit any offices. ( thank God!:) )
This Muqeem card will contain the following:
- Work Eligibility
- Work Permit Number
- Name of Employer
The Muqeem card is valid or has a lifespan of 5 years or longer. This does not have a date of expiration, however. The employer can renew the Muqeem card every year through its Absher or the Muqeem online service. The rules governing the Iqama identity card didn’t change. The only difference from the old Iqama to the new Muqeem card is the name of the residence identity card.
After an expat fails to be back on a re-entry visa after going out of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, he will be banned for 3 years. Once three years passed, he has the chance to go back to Saudi if he wants to.
These Muqeem cards are readable at banks, checkpoints and many other establishments since there are machines installed in these areas which are meant for recording information, just like the basic functionality of the old Iqama.