By Innovation-sa on May 15, 2019 in News

The Saudi Shoura council approved the launch of a new Green Card style “Special Privilege Iqama” (residence permit) scheme to attract affluent foreign entrepreneurs and investors to the Kingdom, marking an end to the age-old Khafeel (sponsorship) system.


The new scheme will not require foreigners to have a Saudi sponsor or employer and its added benefits will include family privileges, the ability to obtain visas for relatives, recruit workers, own property and transport, employment in the private sector, commerce and industry, enter and exit the Kingdom without a sponsor, and use of designated queues at airports.


Crown Prince Muhammed bin Salman said that the proposed Green Card system would be implemented within the next five years and enable Arabs and Muslims to live for longer periods of time in the Kingdom. He added that it will be one of the sources of investment in the Kingdom.


Under the new system, which requires a guarantee of specific fees, there will be two types of residence permits, a permanent Iqama which can be used for an unlimited period of time and a temporary Iqama valid only on a yearly basis and subject to renewal.


The six conditions for obtaining Special Privilege Iqama include – holding a valid passport, applicant should be financially solvent, applicant should be at least 21 years of age, if he is staying in the Kingdom, he should be holding a valid Iqama, he should possess a certificate of no criminal record, devoid of any previous offences, and he should present a sound medical report.


The system is expected to have a positive impact on the Saudi economy – attracting financiers, highly skilled expatriates, people with high financial capability, experienced and leading figures to invest in the Kingdom as well as coming up with ideas leading to contributing to diversifying the Saudi economy and solving cases in which investors resort to tasattur.


Expatriates will have to make payment of a special fee determined by the Executive Regulations which has not yet been revealed and a center called the Center of Distinguished Iqama has been established for the purpose.



Saudi Gazette – May 10 2019