How to change Iqama Profession in Saudi Arabia?

If your current profession on Iqama is different from your actual profession, you need to change it to comply with Article 38 of Saudi Labor Law.

Requirements to change the Iqama profession

  1. The expat needs to be inside Saudi Arabia.
  2. Attested degree matching with the Iqama profession.
  3. Payment of SR 1,000 fee to change Iqama profession.
  4. Passing the Saudi Professional Verification Exam.
  5. Registration with the relevant professional body;
  6. The status of the worker must not be “Pending service transfer“.
  7. The worker must be inside Saudi Arabia.
  8. In order to change the profession from one professional body (SCE) to another (SOCPA), registration with both professional bodies is required.

Any expat who entered Saudi Arabia with an engineering professional visa, but the Saudi Council of Engineers rejected his application, should apply for a profession change first. Temporary approval of 10 days will be granted by the SCE for the change of profession. Source: SCE

Requirements to change the Iqama professionRequest the GRO of the company

Once you have all the above-mentioned documents with you, contact the Government Relations Officer of your company. He will create a request to change the Iqama profession in the Qiwa platform.

Iqama profession change without Certificate

Some professions can be changed without a certificate while others require an attested degree. Here are some scenarios;

  1. No degree or certificate is required to change non-technical professions e.g. Labor to Cleaner.
  2. A resident with the computer technician Iqama profession can register himself with SCE without any certificate and change the profession to a Labor within 12 months of registration.
  3. A resident with the accountant Iqama profession can register himself with any degree with the SOCPA and then transfer the profession to labor.

However, if your family is already in Saudi Arabia on a family visit visa or a permanent family visa, you would not be able to opt for a lower degree profession such as labor.

Has the change in Iqama profession stopped in KSA?

Many expats want to know if the change in the Iqama profession has been stopped or banned in Saudi Arabia as they are not able to do it.

According to the latest news in 2021, the change of Iqama profession is openHowever, there could be several reasons for the rejection of the request such as; 

  1. The change in the Iqama profession is banned by MOL for some time.
  2. The membership with the SOCPA, SCE, or Mumaris plus has expired.
  3. The expat who is required to be registered with two professional bodies has registered with only one. For example, a computer technician who wants to change his Iqama profession to an accountant needs to register with both SOCPA and SCE.
  4. The Iqama profession is reserved for Saudis.
  5. The company is in Red Nitaqat Category.
  6. The Iqama has expired.

A trick to change the Iqama profession

Saad Ali: After years of anxiety and misery I have positive news for my brothers. My HR executive thought about giving it a try as he heard someone having a similar experience.

He started putting in requests for the change of the Iqama profession every other week even though they were rejecting it every time.

However, on the 4th attempt, we saw an update that asked to deposit SR 1,000, the fee to change Iqama profession. We immediately did it and my profession changed from General Accountant to Marketing Specialist.

It means anyone with a valid SOCPA membership can change the profession, don’t waste time brothers, and push your GRMs to put an effort.

Note: I was still a temporary member(renewed for three years at once out of fear), not an associate one.

Iqama profession for domestic workers

If you have been awarded a domestic visa like House driver, Housemaid, etc. it cannot be changed to a business profession. It can only be transferred to some other domestic professions.

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Steve has been living in Saudi Arabia since 2013 and writing about Saudi rules, regulations, guides, and procedures since then.