Thursday, January 15, 2015

The Iqama

The Iqama is probably the most important document for ex-pats in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It's a residency permit but also the key to other services like banks, mobile phone service, drivers license, etc. Also, good luck getting your air freight and household goods shipments out of customs without it.
No one looks this good on their ID card
But here's the catch. That's the normal iqama (from the Ministry of Interior) that most ex-pats get, so that's the one everyone is used to seeing. Getting issued the same thing as everyone else would be too easy.

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Of course, the ones we were issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs had to be different...they are green (not white). The IDs below are not of us...never post your ID on the internet, folks!
Source: mursapap.blogspot.com
So, at some point during our assignment, I fully expect to have some authority figure ask for my iqama and then not believe it's a real one just because it's green. So now, the challenge is for me to learn to read enough Arabic to translate my ID, just so that I can know where to point to where it says something like "Diplomat", which according to Google Translate is "دبلوماسي" (but that exact phrase isn't on the card).

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