An important information which the potential job seeker to Saudi Arabia should know is that your passport will no longer be with you as soon as you land in the country. Your sponsor will be having your pasport. Obviously, you will not be able to go out of the kingdom even on an emergency without your sponsor's knowledge and most important, his approval. Even if you happen to get the passport in your hands, without an exit/re-entry visa stamped on your passport, it is impossible to go out of the country, even though you have a valid plane ticket with you! And the only way to get it stamped is with your sponsor's approval.
You will be initially given a photocopy of your passport with your sponsor's signature and seal and within 3 months, you will be given a small booklet called "Iqama" which you must carry with you all the time. The iqama is nothing but a residence permit, which contains information such as your sponsor's name, your profession, your date of birth and dates of birth of your family members. Recently, this iqama has been replaced with an electronic so-called smart card, but the booklet is still widely in use. The iqama is green in color for Muslims and in red color for non-Muslims. Make sure you do not lose it and also ensure that you carry it with you whenever you go out, because this is the most important document which is going to prove that you are a legal resident in the kingdom.
It is the responsibility of your sponsor to bear the cost of the iqama as well as its renewal. More on this and much more in future posts. Do let me know your comments, which is my inspiration to write in this blog.