The troubles an expatriate has to go through due to Iqama Errors in Saudi Arabia

All incorrect entries on the Iqama of expats, which might include any error in the name or any other incorrect details, have landed several expatriate workers in the Kingdom in hot water. The Expats working in the Kingdom complain that their if their name, which has been printed on the Iqama, does not comply or match their name written in their passports then they face problems when they want to make any official transactions, especially from banks. Some of the sponsors have even gone as far as to file for forgery charges against their employees when they discovered that the name printed on the Iqama does not match the name which has been printed on the passports.[irp]

There are however reports that in some cases, the information is incorrect, such as the nationalities, do not match between the Iqama and the Passport. The Immigration Authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has also recently announced a new E-service known as the Abshir and several other online based services which have made the entire process of passport services, extremely easy, convenient, and free of hassle. These new services benefit both the Saudi nationals or citizens and the expatriate workforce which works in the Kingdom. People can now complete their passport work from the comfort of their home or office in comparison to the crowded passport offices.

Even though such developments have been made by the Immigration authorities, the expatriates still complain that the Passport office which is better known as Jawazat, often make mistakes during the writing of the names, religion or nationality which eventually cause a delay in the overall process, which also causes a delay in receiving salaries and other official work. Affected expatriates have recommended that if the Jawazat offices want to get rid of these errors, then they can hire proofreaders whose job will be to ensure that all data matches in both the Iqama and the Passport. This will reduce any delays in the process and will ensure the least amount of hassle.

A local Saudi Journalist stated that because the official language of the Kingdom is Arabic, very little attention is paid to the correct spelling of names which are printed on official documents. However, this, later, becomes a great problem as the government offices or banks only accept Iqamas and any irregularities usually end up in a massive confusion and hassle.[irp]

An Australian expatriate working in the Kingdom, Sigrid Goldsmith, stated that the relevant documents especially those associated with the identity of a person need to be rechecked before they are finalized. A Filipino expatriate and a prominent leader of the Filipino community stated that even though the Passport office or Jawazat have all the advanced technology installed and employed in their offices, most the employees are Arabs who speak only Arabic and are not familiar with spellings and languages of other countries. Hence these employees usually put down incorrect spellings or other blunders.

Source: Arab News

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