بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Alhamdullah (thank God) I got my residence permit card earlier this week. That means that I am now a legal resident!
In order to enter Saudi Arabia I had to have a visa. It is a small paper with my picture and details (in Arabic) that was pasted onto one of the Visa pages of my passport. It also has a sticker and ink stamp.
In order to get my residence permit (called an Iqama) I had to give my passport to my employer and have a medical report done here in Riyadh. I actually don’t know too much about this process because my employer did everything and all I had to do was go to the HR office at the university and pick it up once it was finished.
The residence permit card also has my picture and details, but this card allows me to exit and re-enter Saudi Arabia (the visa only allows you to enter for 90 days and you can’t exit and re-enter).
When I first got my visa I was upset because it said “non-muslim” under religion. That meant I would not be allowed to enter Makkah to visit the holy mosque. Fortunately, the company worked to request that the religion be changed on my residence permit. I was nervous when they called me to come pick it up because there had been no guarantee that it would be changed. However, I am happy to say that the card does say “muslim” and I will now have permission to go to Makkah, in sha Allah (God willing).
Alhamdullah all of this process is done and now I can do important things like buy a sim card, open a bank account and travel.