Transferring an Iqama, also known as a residence permit, is essential for expatriates living in Saudi Arabia. It allows them to change their sponsorship from one employer to another. In this article, we will discuss the concept of Iqama transfer and provide a comprehensive guide on checking the Iqama transfer status.
What is an Iqama Transfer?
An Iqama transfer refers to transferring an expatriate’s sponsorship from their current employer to a new employer in Saudi Arabia. It is a necessary procedure that allows individuals to switch jobs and continue residence in the country legally. The transfer process involves various steps and documentation, ensuring compliance with the labor laws of Saudi Arabia.
Reasons for Iqama Transfer:
There are several reasons why individuals consider an Iqama transfer. Some common causes include:
Better job opportunities:
Expatriates may transfer their Iqama to pursue better job prospects, higher salaries, or improved working conditions.
Transferring an Iqama can be a strategic move for career advancement and professional development.
An unfavorable work environment, contractual disputes, or dissatisfaction with the current employer can prompt individuals to seek an Iqama transfer.
Iqama Transfer Process:
The Iqama transfer process involves several steps that need to be followed meticulously. Here is a general outline of the process:
Find a new employer:
1. The first step is to secure a job offer from a new employer in Saudi Arabia. This includes negotiating terms and conditions, such as salary, benefits, and job responsibilities.
2. Obtain a transfer request letter:
3. Once the new employer is finalized, they will provide a letter to initiate the transfer process. This letter contains important information, such as the current employer’s consent and the reason for the transfer.
4. Medical examination and fingerprinting:
The expatriate must undergo a medical examination and fingerprinting at authorized medical centers and fingerprint offices. These procedures ensure the individual is healthy and meets the necessary security requirements.
Submit transfer application:
The expatriate and the new employer must submit the transfer application to the Ministry of Labor and Social Development. The application should include relevant documents, such as a copy of the employment contract, passport, and current Iqama.
Once the application is submitted, the Ministry of Labor and Social Development reviews it. If approved, the expatriate receives an approval notification, allowing them to proceed with the transfer process.
Documents Required for Iqama Transfer:
Certain documents are necessary to ensure a smooth transition during the Iqama transfer process. The required documents may vary based on individual circumstances, but some common ones include:
· Valid passport
· Current Iqama
· Transfer request letter from the new employer
· Fingerprinting report
· Employment contract
· Company’s commercial registration (CR) copy
· Proof of educational qualifications
Checking Iqama Transfer Status:
After initiating the Iqama transfer process, individuals are often curious to know the status of their application. There are both online and offline methods
Online Methods for Checking Iqama Transfer Status:
The Absher portal, available in English and Arabic, is a convenient online platform for checking the Iqama transfer status. Users must log in to their Absher account and navigate to the “My Services” section. From there, they can find the option to check the Iqama transfer status and receive real-time updates.
Absher mobile application:
The Absher mobile app offers the same functionality as the website, allowing users to check the Iqama transfer status on their smartphones. The app provides a user-friendly interface and sends notifications for any status changes.
Ministry of Labor and Social Development website:
The Ministry of Labor and Social Development also provides an online service to check the Iqama transfer status. Users can visit their official website, navigate to the appropriate section, and enter the required details to retrieve the status information.
Offline Methods for Checking Iqama Transfer Status:
Passport Department (Jawazat) office:
Individuals can visit the local Passport Department office, also known as Jawazat, and inquire about the status of their Iqama transfer. The staff will assist in providing the necessary information and updates.
Contacting the new employer:
Another offline method is directly contacting the new employer and requesting updates on the Iqama transfer status. They can liaise with the relevant authorities and provide the latest information regarding the progress of the transfer.
Common Issues and Solutions:
Individuals may encounter specific issues during the Iqama transfer process or face delays. Here are some common problems and their potential solutions:
1. Delay in approval:
Due to various factors, the transfer approval process may take longer than expected. In such cases, staying in touch with the new employer and following up with the Ministry of Labor and Social Development for updates is advisable.
2. Mistakes in documentation:
Any errors or discrepancies in the submitted documents can lead to delays or rejections. It is crucial to double-check all the required documents and ensure their accuracy before submitting them for the transfer process.
3. Communication barriers:
Language barriers or lack of clarity in communication can cause misunderstandings during the transfer process. It is essential to seek assistance from bilingual individuals or professional translation services to ensure effective communication with the relevant authorities.
The conclusion of the Iqama transfer status depends on the specific circumstances and progress of the transfer process. However, there are a few possible outcomes:
Approved: If the Iqama transfer application has been successfully processed and approved by the relevant authorities, the transfer status will be considered “approved.” This means the individual can proceed with the transfer and continue their employment or residency in the new location.
Rejected: In some cases, the Iqama transfer application may be rejected. This could be due to some reasons, such as incomplete documentation, non-compliance with transfer regulations, or other issues. If the transfer is denied, the individual may need to address the reasons for rejection and reapply or explore alternative options.
· Yes, transferring your Iqama multiple times is possible, provided you fulfill the requirements and follow the proper procedures each time.
· The duration of the Iqama transfer process varies. It can take anywhere from a some weeks to some months, depending on various factors, such as the workload of the authorities and the complexity of the individual’s case.
· It is generally advisable to wait for the transfer approval before commencing work with the new employer. Working without the proper documentation can lead to legal consequences.
· In case of rejection, it is essential to understand the reason behind the denial. Consulting with legal professionals or seeking guidance from the Ministry of Labor and Social Development can help explore alternative options or resolve any issues.
· No, canceling the previous Iqama is typically handled as part of the transfer process. The new employer and the relevant authorities will take care of the necessary procedures to ensure a smooth transition
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I am Saif. I am the founder and chief writer for his own website called KSA Expat Guide and a freelance writer and web developer for many other websites. I live in Saudi Arabia as an ex-pat. Love to research all about KSA. I use my spare time to learn new things, travel, and write about them, especially when it comes to technology and things from the past.