As a foreign resident, what is my status in your country?
What kinds of visas are available?
There are several types of visas available in Qatar:
- Tourist visa – Valid for one month and extendable for one additional month; available upon arrival at the airport through a hotel; issued by the Immigration Department (Airport Visas Section).
- Business visa – Application submitted by a sponsoring company or recognized establishment; valid for up to three months; non-extendable.
- GCC Resident Visit visa – All GCC residents (with a valid residence visa in any GCC country) can obtain this at Doha Airport; valid for one month and extendable for one additional month
- Visa for the companions of GCC nationals - Granted upon arrival.
- Work visa – Valid for one to three years; issued by the Ministry of Interior (MOI); arranged by the local sponsor.
- Family Visit visa – Issued by the MOI; arranged by the local sponsor.
- Multiple-entry business visa – Issued by the MOI; arranged by the local sponsor.
- Residence visa for 1-3 years – Issued by MOI; arranged by the local sponsor.
- Residence visa for families – Issued by MOI; arranged by the local sponsor.
What is required to obtain these visas?
Visas handled by the local sponsor require attested passport copies and diplomas legalized by the Ministry of the Interior from the country of origin; upon arrived in Qatar, they are to be certified by the relevant embassy. Work contracts will be issued by the employing company along with an English/Arabic version issued by the Ministry of Labor in Qatar.
An authentic marriage certificate is required for the spouse’s visa and birth certificates are required for the children’s visas.
The forms are filed by the local sponsor or PRO of the company.
A police clearance certificate is asked for as well; this can usually only be obtained from country of origin.
All applicants for resident status must go through a medical check and have their fingerprints taken. They will be guided by their employer.
Are spouses permitted and/or likely to find work?
Spouses holding a residence visa are permitted to work. There are plenty of job opportunities; not all of them are equally well-paid if they are local hire.
What are the main forms of identification and how does a newcomer obtain them?
Residents have a Qatari ID card, which can be obtained after you've received your Qatar residence visa. All you need to do is submit your original passport and two passport-sized photos to the immigration department; processing should take two weeks to one month. Your company's Public Relations Officer (PRO) can assist you.
If you choose to drive, you will require a local driver's license. The local sponsor will assist in the application procedures. Driver’s licenses are obtained after performing a driving test and an eye test.
For local health care, you need to obtain a health card (which gives access to the almost-free-of-charge health care at the government clinics and hospitals). To get the card, submit a copy of your Qatar ID card and two passport-sized photos, along with a completed application form. This process will take between 10 and 14 days. Contact Crown Doha for more information.
Are there any other important permits I must obtain, or places where I must register right away?
For the residence permit, it is advisable to process applications through the local sponsor as soon as you arrive. It is possible to start driving on the basis of your foreign driver’s license, but only for seven days. The first few weeks, you will need to spend some time going through the various tests and applications. Once you have obtained your Qatari Residency permit and Qatari ID, it is advisable to register at your represented embassy. Home search and school search will also take priority. If your company does not provide accommodation, the best place to start looking is the newspaper (Peninsula, Gulf Times) for real estate agents.
What items should I avoid bringing into the country?
Avoid alcohol, pork products and materials that might be deemed pornographic by the local authorities.
Is there anything else I should know about entering and remaining in the country legally?
Residence permits and visas must be extended well before expiration to avoid penalties. Traveling out of the country is not allowed without an exit permit, available through the local sponsor.
Crown Relocations has made every effort to present accurate information. However, regulations, rates and other variables are subject to change and Crown Relocations cannot accept responsibility for the errors that might result. Should you have any questions or need additional information, please contact your local Crown representative.