Saudi authorities will not collect the expat levy or the dependent fee that is being imposed on other foreign residents working in the private sector from the bearers of the newly announced Special Privileged Iqama (residency visa).
Under the new system, the bearers of the special iqama can keep with them as dependents family members consisting of wives and daughters as well as sons who are less than 21 years of age.
The system will allow the bearers not only to reside in the Kingdom with their families but also to obtain visit visas for relatives, recruit house helps according to their requirements, and own real estate units for residential, commercial and industrial purposes in all Saudi cities and towns except the holy cities of Makkah, Madinah and in the border areas.
The bearers cannot own but can invest to benefit from real estate units in Makkah and Madinah for periods of up to 99 years.
The use of such real estate units will be under mechanisms to be formulated by the ministries of justice and commerce and investment. The beneficiaries can obtain the deeds for the use of real estate units from the notaries public.
The privileged iqama will not automatically entitle its holders to Saudi nationality.
The bearer can own means of transportation, work in any private establishment and freely switch jobs. These will also apply to their family members.
The bearers can take up any job in the private sector except those reserved for Saudi citizens. They can work in any legal commercial activity.
They can go out of the Kingdom and come back on their own any time they want, and can use special passport desks designated for Saudi citizens at airports.
There will be two kinds of privileged iqamas — iqamas of unlimited validity and iqamas renewable every year.
The preconditions for obtaining the special residency permit include a valid passport, sufficient financial liquidity, a clean criminal record and a health certificate proving that the applicant is free of any contagious diseases. The applicant should be at least 21 years old.
Those who apply for the privileged iqama from inside the Kingdom should have a regular residence permit.
The privileged iqama can be canceled if the bearer is convicted of a crime for which he or she is sentenced to 60 days or fined SR100,000, or if he or she has to be deported from the country under a court order.
It can also be canceled in case the data provided in the application is found to be incorrect later.
The bearers may voluntarily relinquish the privileged residency status if they wished so and they will lose it in the case of death.
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