Saudi Arabia’s passports department is starting to issue new resident permits with a five-year lifespan for expatriates.
According to reports in Arab News, the new resident permits were first issued on 15 October, the first day of the Islamic New Year.
Companies and expatriates have to renew the permits yearly online, with no need to visit the offices of the department. Delivery of renewed cards is done by courier, according to a report. The old cards would be replaced if they are renewed or if a transfer of sponsorship takes place.
The new cards can be renewed electronically through the Abshir or Muqeem services. They have magnetic strips to prevent forgery, have no expiry date on them, and have ‘resident identity’ replacing the word ‘iqama.’ The same fees apply annually.
The Muqeem e-portal links a company electronically to the passports department for exit and reentry visas, final exit visas, and renewal of residential permits. Companies can also update information on their workers on the site.