Saudi Green Card:
On 14 May 2019, cabinet of Saudi Arabian Government approved new Iqama Residency Scheme for foreigners. New Iqama is known as “Privileged Iqama”. It will allow foreigners to live and work in Kingdom of Saudi Arabia without any Saudi Kafeel or Sponsor for the first time. It is being discussed as Saudi Green Card but it is not a green card in fact. It will not grant right to apply for Saudi Citizenship. It was first proposed by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman in 2016 but it is approved on Tuesday 14 May 2019. Crown Prince confirmed in an interview that it is green card style residency but it is not actually a green card. [Read Also: check iqama name]
Types of New Iqama:
Iqama is residence permit of Saudi Arabia. There are two types of New Saudi Green Card Iqama. First is “temporary residency” Iqama. It will be granted for one year but it is renewable. Iqama holder can renew temporary residency Iqama every year before Iqama Expiry by paying fee. You can check your iqama expiry here.
Second Type of Privileged Iqama is Permanent Residency. This Iqama will be issued for indefinite period. It means there will be no need to renew permanent iqama and foreigners can live in Saudi Arabia forever. [Recommended:Click to Check Iqama Fund Online.]
Benefits and Rights of New Saudi Green Card:
New green card Iqama is designed to get rid of Kafeel system. It will bring many benefits to eligible expats. Some major benefits are listed below:
- First time foreigners can live and work without any kafeel.
- Foreigners can live in Saudi Arabia permanently.
- Foreigners can own property under their name except Makkah, Madinah and border areas.
- They can utilize property in Makkah and Madinah up to 99 years.
- Iqama holder can buy vehicles and other movable property under their name.
- They can hire certain domestic workers.
- They can exit and re-enter Saudi Arabia without any Exit/Re-entry Visa.
- They will have family status in KSA.
- They can get visit visa for their relatives.
- Iqama holder can bring their family to KSA.
- Facility to make investment in KSA without kafeel.
- They can do job in any sector and transfer between companies except banned professions which are only for nationals.
- They can used special queues at airport which are designated only for nationals. [Recomm
Requirements for Privileged Iqama:
- Applicant must be 21 years or more old age.
- Valid Passport.
- Good Health Report.
- Good Character Certificate.
- Enough financial resources
- If applicant is applying within KSA, he must be legal resident in KSA before applying for new privileged Iqama.
Who Can Apply for New Iqama:
According to Arab News, the following applicants will be eligible to apply for new green card Iqama.
- Foreigners with high professional or scientific skills which are not commonly available in KSA.
- Foreign investors/business owners who can invest in KSA.
New Privileged Iqama Fee:
As reported by Saudi Gazette, SAR 800,000 will be charged for Permanent Residency Iqama as one-time Iqama fee.
As reported by Arab News, new iqama card or Saudi green card fees are very high and really not affordable for foreigners with average and low income. It means this scheme will be useless for them because only extra ordinary rich people and highly skilled with high income will be able to pay the high fees for new residency scheme. On the other hand, Saudi Official say, new scheme will attract company owners to invest which will create jobs for average and low skilled workers.
Cancellation of Privileged Iqama:
New residency Iqama whether permanent or temporary may be subject to cancellation if Iqama holder provides false information in the application, commit a punishable crime which has penalty more than 60 days jail or Fine SAR 100,000, or under deportation orders by court.
Cancellation in Iqama of main applicant may result in cancellation or termination of family members’ iqama too. However, family members may be allowed to apply separate iqama if they meet the requirements.
A designated center is being formed in order to manage every thing related to new residency program. The government center will reveal full details and regulation within 90 days. This center will have administrative independence and it will design who to submit Privileged iqama applications. [You may be Interested in Check Iqama Red Green]