I think I have been asked not less than 100 times by different visitors to this question. Can Iqama be renewed if an expatriate is out of Saudi Arabia? Although I have answered it a hundred times in the comments now I am writing it here so that in future I don’t have to write. I can just refer my dear visitors to this link.
It should be kept in mind that Iqama renewal is an activity which is performed by the Kafeel. Apparently, you don’t have to do anything to get your Iqama renewed. Payment of fee and everything else is done by the Kafeel. But for some nationalities (especially African) Jawazat asks for the latest medical report every time to renew Iqama. So, the presence of these people is necessary for the renewal of Iqama.
Online Iqama Renewal: Now, with the improved and updated Ministry of Interior System, employers can renew Iqamas of their employees online. When Iqama of an employee is renewed in the system, Iqamas of all the dependents of the employee are also renewed. So, even if your wife or children are outside Saudi Arabia, their Iqamas will be renewed.
However, it does not mean that they can stay out of KSA for a long time and the Iqama will be renewed automatically. All the dependent should visit Saudi Arabia at least once in 12 months because the maximum validity of Exit Re-Entry Visa is 360 days for dependents.
This is a new rule. A couple of years ago, the presence of expatriate in Saudi Arabia was the requirement to renew the Iqama. In absence of the online system, authorities used to take an affidavit from the Kafeel of the Iqama holder that his dependents are inside Saudi Arabia.
Sometimes they used to check for the boarding passes and reconcile the boarding passes with the entry dates of the passport. Iqama renewal was a hectic job that time. Thanks to God that we were not here in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at that time.
I hope now I have clarified and explained the rule in detail. If you still have some confusion, you can drop a comment below.