Effective immediately, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will require that all dependents (aged 15 and above) of work permit holders submit their fingerprints and biometric data in order to be issued their Residence Permit (Iqama). Fingerprints and biometrics will be taken at the time of entry into Saudi Arabia and/or upon renewal of the dependent’s Iqama. This new requirement comes as the second phase of Saudi Arabia’s plan to gather biometric data from all foreign residents. Foreign employees on assignment in Saudi Arabia have been required to submit this data for some time now in order to finalize their immigration process.
Dependents currently living in Saudi Arabia with a valid residence permit were required to register their fingerprints and biometric data by January 21, 2015. While there is not a direct penalty for not registering the biometrics, dependents must complete this formality before they will be eligible to renew their Iqamas in 2015. Pro-Link GLOBAL recommends completing the registration process immediately and avoiding last minute registration as the Saudi Arabia immigration rules prohibit the issuance of re-entry visas to those dependents who have not been fingerprinted or submitted the necessary biometric data. Hence, issues could arise should the dependent make travel arrangements and need to re-enter Saudi Arabia.
Several important things to note regarding the requirement:
• Registration of the biometric data from dependents is required immediately;
• Re-entry into Saudi Arabia is unauthorized until biometrics are submitted; and
• No exceptions have been given by the Saudi Arabia authorities (including exceptions for any nationalities).
If you or any of your employees’ dependents missed the registration deadline, please contact your Pro-Link GLOBAL immigration specialist for further assistance.