Living in Saudi Arabia as a foreigner requires you to have a residence permit known as Iqama. Failure to apply for one or renew it comes with consequences. However, if you happen to have a lost iqama, then you need to reapply for another one.

A brief explanation of Iqama

As stated earlier, an Iqama is simply a legal document that allows you to stay and live in Saudi Arabia. It is issued by the government to foreigners who are eligible to work in Saudi. Saudi Arabia’s Iqama comes with its own rules and regulations, including fines and punishments.

How to know those who are eligible to work in Saudi

To be eligible to work in Saudi, you must apply for and must have got a Saudi Arabia employment visa. Only then can you arrive and work in Saudi without any problems with the law. After arriving in Saudi, you can then apply for your Iqama.

Why do foreigners need the Iqama

Foreigners cannot live, work, or stay in Saudi without the Iqama. This is because the country’s government is very strict and has a no-nonsense attitude toward immigration and employment laws. Before a foreign worker can apply for Iqama, he needs the help of his employer in Saudi. He should be a Saudi citizen ready to sponsor his employee. He would be the one that will apply for the work and residence permit on the employee’s behalf. It will give and increase the foreigner’s trustworthiness and proves he works in Saudi. Also, this shows the employer is willing to let the worker work for him again.

What to do if you lose your iqama

Losing Iqama or residence permits isn’t something many want to go through. For one, there is a fine for losing Iqama and the process you need to take to apply for a new one is much. To start with, the owner of the lost Iqama needs to go to the police to inform them about the lost document. Then you would be charged an Iqama lost fine as stipulated by the government. Thereafter, you will be given a new Iqama to print.

Steps to apply for lost Iqama

Tell your employer: It is essential to notify your employer of your lost document. Let them know that you searched thoroughly for the Iqama, but unfortunately, you couldn’t find your resident permit. The company’s GRO and Kafeel are in charge of sponsoring the worker’s sponsor resident permit. While the family head is also in charge of sponsoring the dependent’s Iqama.

Report to the police: Go to the police station to report the loss of your resident permit. It is necessary to go with the employer, and you should describe how the resident permit got lost. Note that there is no charge for reporting to the police if you lost your Iqama to theft. But if it is for other reasons, you have to pay a 1000 SR lost fine. This fine was made into law in 2023.

Arranging the necessary documents: Your employer or sponsor will be the one to go to Jawazat along with some documents. Jawazat is a place that offers residence permit services to foreigners living in Saudi Arabia. This is the second process you need to get another residence permit. However, the process is different if your dependent lost his or her Iqama. For that, you would need to convert the needed documents into PDF files.

Fix an appointment at Jawazat: For this process, the first step is going to the official website and downloading the lost Iqama form.

  • Then the second step is filling out the form in Arabic.
  • If necessary, upload a police report of your lost Iqama.
  • Pay the new Iqama fees.
  • Upload a copy of your dependent’s passport and Iqama.
  • Upload the head of your family’s Iqama copy.

Punishment for not having an Iqama

Any foreign nationals without an Iqama will be penalised and this penalty is enforced by the authorities. The authorities will arrest such a person and fine him or her. So an Iqama is important for moving freely without getting in trouble with the law. Furthermore, employers should apply for Iqamas for their foreign workers. If the worker is travelling out of Saudi, he must give his sponsor the Iqama to keep for him. It would be returned once the worker is back in Saudi.

For damaged Iqama

Not only for a lost Iqama, but you can also apply to replace a damaged Iqama. The new Iqama will have a “replacement” stamp on it, including the same expiry date as the damaged one.


In summary, a lost Iqama doesn’t mean you are automatically in trouble with the law. However, you can only be in trouble if you don’t reapply for a new one. This is because being without your Iqama (residence permit) in Saudi Arabia means you are living illegally there. And there is a strict penalty for people living illegally or without residence permits in Saudi Arabia. Lastly, ensure you apply for an Iqama on time to avoid being punished by the law.