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Cairo: Saudi authorities have said that a foreign holder of the iqama or residency permit in the kingdom can have the photo in the document changed.

To do this, the holder is required to reserve an appointment with the Saudi General Directorate of Passports.

However, the applicant’s passport should be valid and include a recent photo with the head uncovered, the directorate pointed out.

As part of digital services in the kingdom, expatriates can have their iqamas, those of dependents and registered domestic labour renewed via the government Absher platform.

An iqama renewal requires payment of the due fees for the requested period, settling traffic offences in advance, and having a valid passport for the beneficiary in question, who should not be registered as an absentee from work.

Moreover, fingerprints of the family head and dependents aged over six years should be available in the system with each having his/her own passport.

Expatriates in the kingdom can get three-month residency permits with a renewal option for the same period, and they can save a digital copy of the iqama on their smartphones under a system launched in 2021.

The quarterly renewal of iqama allows the expatriate to pay for the dependent’s fee on a quarterly basis too. According to a government payment system, the iqama fee can be paid on a quarterly or biannual basis.

Saudi Arabia, a country of around 32.2 million people, is home to a large community of foreign workers. Foreigners make up around 13.4 million or 41.5 per cent of the kingdom’s overall population, according to a recent census.

Saudi authorities have recently introduced a set of facilities for expatriates. Foreign residents leaving on exit/re-entry visas can now return to Saudi Arabia until the last day of their valid visas.