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Home » Expat Life, Immigration, Middle East, country profiles

Immigration: Qatar

Comprehensive immigration profile on Qatar for those considering a relocation.

By Immigration Specialist
June 2, 2011
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Qatar ID Card for foreigners sample illustration

Qatar ID Card for foreigners - sample illustration

As relocation experts, at Move One we understand how important it is to make the transition to your new home as seamless as possible. To that end, Move One profiles a country every month, providing an in-depth look at relocation, immigration, moving and pet transportation issues.

This month’s spotlight focuses on immigration to Qatar.

The state of Qatar is developing at a rapid speed. Its wealth in natural resources makes Qatar attractive for foreign investors. The peninsular country’s natural gas represents one third of the world’s reserve. This resource combined with the Qatar’s successful economic strategy, have turned the small country into a major international hub for finance and investment. Accordingly, the expatriate population of Qatar saw a considerable boost in the past decades, with only about 200,000 of the current 1.69 million residents being actual natives of Qatar.

How to begin

In order to determine a foreigner’s particular immigration needs, the following information should be shared with a Move One immigration professional:

  1. Foreigner’s nationality
  2. Job location (company’s address)
  3. Name of sending company
  4. Name of receiving company
  5. Foreigner’s exact job title and job description
  6. Duration of the assignment, arrival date and start date
  7. Validity of passport
  8. If there are family members: nationality, age, planned arrival date, foreigner’s salary amount
  9. Contact details for parties involved (foreigner, sending company, receiving company and its public relation officer in Qatar)


BUSINESS TRAVEL TO QATAR


Business visitors must generally limit their activities to non-productive work, such as attending business meetings, negotiations and seminars. They may take part in trainings, conferences, discussions and exhibitions. In general, executives, specialized professionals, heads of departments and middle management are eligible for business visas.

All visitors require a visa to enter Qatar, but not all nationals need to apply for a visa before entry. Visa on arrival is granted to residents and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states and nationals of 33 countries. The visa obtained at entry for GCC residents is valid for 30 days, and may be extended for another 90 days at airport immigration.

Nationals of 33 countries can get an entry visa to Qatar without special conditions at point of entry. These countries are: USA, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, The Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong and South Korea.

The visa obtained at entry for nationals of 33 countries is valid for 30 days, and may be extended for another 30 days at airport immigration.

An exit visa is only needed if the individual on the business visa has stayed longer than four weeks.

An entry visa for businessmen coming from places other than the countries mentioned above needs to be arranged before arrival. Business visa application procedure will require a set of documents from the home and host company clarifying the purpose of the trip. Business travelers need to be sponsored by a host company in Qatar, which must file an application at the immigration department to request a visa. The applying company should be accredited by the airport passports and security department. Multiple-entry business visas need to be approved by the ministry of interior.

Business visas are valid for 30 days and may be extended twice for additional 30 days.

WORK IN QATAR


As in most Gulf countries, working in Qatar requires local sponsorship. A foreign employee may only work for their sponsor. It is possible to change jobs and transfer sponsorship to a new employer only after the foreigner has worked at the sponsoring company for at least two years and has been granted a no objection certificate.

In order to procure required permits for working in Qatar, the sponsoring company must hire a public relation officer (PRO) eligible to submit application and collect issued permits from the immigration authorities. The PRO must have supporting documents to prove his relation with the company in the immigration department.

The standard immigration procedure for obtaining legal work and stay in Qatar can be divided into the following stages:

  1. Entry Permit: The employment visa (entry permit) is valid for six months and allows entry into Qatar to take up employment. A foreigner may start working after arrival, but within three months of entry their employer must complete the formalities in order for the foreigner to receive a residence permit.
  2. Medical Check: In order to apply for residence permit, health check is needed, including blood test and chest x-ray. Medical test appointment is arranged by the company PRO after arrival. If the sponsored employee is medically unfit, the immigration office may request their immediate repatriation.
  3. Fingerprinting: Fingerprints are taken as a requirement for residence permit application. Once medical results are published online, the PRO will arrange the necessary appointment.
  4. Residence Permit and ID card: Applications for residence permits and ID cards are made simultaneously by the PRO through the Immigration Department. Issued residence permit is valid for one to three years from the date of stamping. ID cards are issued with both visible data and biometric data. Residents should carry their ID cards with them at all times.

IMPORTANT:

  • An employment visa will only be issued to employees who are between the ages of 18-60. Above the age of 60, a special approval from the department of immigration is required. The employment visa for this particular age group will be revised and renewed yearly.
  • A resident permit becomes invalid if the bearer stays outside Qatar fr over six months.
  • A police clearance (certificate of good conduct) may be required prior to entry.
  • Educational certificates need to be legalized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the home country, then attested by the Qatar Embassy, also in the home country. After arrival, attestation should be done by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Doha.
  • Residents, except for sponsored family members, require an exit visa. Exit visas are granted based on sponsor permission and guarantee letter.
  • Foreigners must first obtain their own permits before sponsoring family to join them by applying for their residence visas based on family unification. Attested marriage and birth certificates are required in case of applications for family members.
  • There are no restrictions on the employment of women. Opportunities for such employment are determined by market demand and lie mainly in the teaching, medical professions and in administrative work.

Our articles are for informational purposes only. If you are considering a move to Qatar for either business or longer-term work, specialists at Move One can help set you and your company on the right track. Please feel free to contact our offices with questions at any stage of the immigration process.

immigration@moveoneinc.com


Rest of the series:

Relocation: Qatar
Pet Transportation: Qatar
Moving: Qatar

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45 Comments »

  • [...] involved (foreigner, sending company, receiving company and its public relation officer in Qatar) [Read More] Share on Facebook Post Published: 03 June 2011 Author: admin Found in section: Qatar [...]

  • musthafaakram says:

    now im working in qater. if i go to cancel after six month can i return to qater?

  • abdul rasheed says:

    iam woking 18 years in qatar but now iam living qatar 20 months ago so iwant to come qatar how can i comewhat is the formalteis can you advice me please………

  • Hi Cheriline,

    You may check the status of your Qatari visa application on the following site: http://www.moi.gov.qa/site/english/eServices/index.html

    Thanks
    Camilla

  • dave says:

    Good day,

    may i ask as to how long it will take for renewal of visa?

    repectfully yours
    dave

    • camilla.zalka says:

      Hi Dave,

      Processing times are different for various visa types. It may be possible to extend certain visit visas on the spot at the General Directorate of Border Passports and Expatriates Affairs.
      The extension process for residency visas (residence permits) is more complex and may take months to arrange depending on the specifics of the case. For further information please write to immigration@moveoneinc.com with details of your visa type and purpose of stay in Qatar.

      Kind Regards,
      Camilla

  • brenda r cortez says:

    hi my husband and i are working here in qatar for over 2 years now in different compamy,i want to resign in my present company and return to philippines but i want to come back here in qatar by a family visa how long or how many months it will take to come back here in qatar…tnx..

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hi Brenda,

      You do not necessarily have to leave Qatar. Changing sponsorship from being sponsored by a company (work status) to being sponsored by a husband (family status) can be arranged within Qatar by visa transfer procedure. Visa can be transferred only if your ex-sponsor (your company) provides a “no objection certificate”, as well as other required documents. For further details please write to immigration@moveoneinc.com.

      Kind Regards
      Camilla

  • TEK RAJ PANDEY says:

    i was resign on 23 oct 2010 and exit date is 24 oct 2010. my sponsor is not provide noc.but i want to come doha to work again how i come again any sugest please ?

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hello Tek,

      You are banned for 2 years from the date of your departure from Qatar. You may return to Qatar after the ban expires or contact your ex-sponsor for a “no objection certificate” which lifts the ban.
      Kind Regards,
      Camilla

  • TEK RAJ PANDEY says:

    thanks for good information. i may i come new sponsor with visit visa or business visa. if can how long be stay in Qatar?

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hi Tek,

      During the duration of the ban it is not possible to get a new sponsor, unless your previous sponsor grants you a NOC.

      Kind Regards
      Camilla

  • edmund says:

    Hi do u have any email address i can send you for some questions, because immigration@moveoneinc.com. is not working, my mail canot be sent with that email address. i want to ask something about the ban duration in doha

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hello Edmund,

      The email address should work, however one of our immigration consultants will be emailing you at the yahoo email address you have provided.

      Kind Regards
      Camilla

  • vinoop says:

    hi,am vinoop viswanathan santha is here in qatar in a business visit.i extended the concerned visa from one month to three months,can i extend further more?its expiring on 14 jan 2012.pls help me

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hello Vinoop,

      Generally business visit visas are valid for 30 days and may be extended twice for additional 30 days each. It’s best to discuss your options with your visa sponsor in Qatar.

      Regards
      Camilla

  • alex says:

    Hi i want to travel and my resident permit has 15 days to expire,will i be allow to exit?
    thanks

    Alex.

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hi Alex,
      There is no problem exiting while your permit is still valid. However re-entering will not be allowed.
      Thanks
      Camilla

  • karen tarayao says:

    good day,.. just want to ask how long will it take for my work visa to be approved?? ive been waiting for 2 months in my agency.. i want to see my status about my visa but then i dont have the access and application no. bec my agency are the one who apllied it for me.. thank you and more power!!!

    • Camilla Zalka says:

      Hello Karen,
      It takes approximately 30-45 days for a company to receive labor office approval and employment entry visa application then takes approximately 7 days. The time-frames are estimates and authorities can shorten or extend it according to their requirements.
      Regards
      Camilla

  • Alvi Liangco says:

    Hi!!!I’m working here in Doha Qatar, I sponsor my wife under my visa, shes working now in one company, I just want to ask if its allowed or not that my wife will resign in her current employer then she will shift to work in a new employer. Looking forward that you can clarify us regarding this matter.Thank you.

    Regards,

    Alvin

    • Tímea Mészáros says:

      A letter of no objection (NOC) will be required from your wife’s sponsor. In case you are sponsoring her (she is under husband sponsorship), you will have to present this letter yourself. A NOC is not required from her current employer, as they are not her sponsor in Qatar. The notice period will be stated in the contract and will be anything up to three months.‎ She may leave her company at the end of the notice period.

      Best Regards,

      Camilla

  • Nishesh says:

    Hi!
    I was working for a company but I recently resigned. I want to come
    back to Qatar once again, so what is the time duration I have to wait?

    • Alexis Dyson says:

      Your company must give you a no-objection certificate (NOC). Without a NOC, you will be banned from Qatar for two years.

  • Sandra says:

    Hi!

    Thank you for this site as it is clarifying a lot of regulations in Qatar.

    Lately I was denied a possibility to work in Qatar. The situation was that I have 4 years studies with my analytical certificate in Architecture, certified by all authorities from my country and for UAE. I have 17 years experience and gained a good reputation working in the UAE as a professional Architect for international companies. HR told me that I will not be able to sponsor my children if I do not have a Bachelor’s certificate.
    Could you please clarify what the regulations in Qatar are in this regard? In the UAE, sponsorship of the family is based on salary.

    Thank you and best regards,
    Sandra

    • Alexis Dyson says:

      The sponsoring family member must receive a salary of no less than 10,000 riyals (approximately 2,700 US dollars) in order to sponsor dependents in Qatar. In addition to the salary requirement the sponsoring family member must hold a job position from a specified list. The list can be downloaded here.

      Dependents’ immigration process can only be started once the main applicant’s permits are fully ready.

  • Sophie says:

    Hello! I’m learning English in NZ now. I’m of Uyghur nationality from China, a Muslim as well. I can speak Chinese, Turkish, Arabic and English. I really want to immigrate to Qatar if it’s possible. I’ve got a Bachelors Degree in Law from China and i’ll study for my Masters in NZ hopefully – that’s my goal for the next two years. All I want to know is can I practice law in your country and what requirements do you ask for foreigners to immigrate to your country? Thanks a lot!

  • Christopher says:

    I would like to know how long it will take to obtain a work permit and visa. I’ve heard Qatar is a very nice place to live and work. I really need someone to help me out on this. I need an urgent reply.

  • Shakeel says:

    Dear brother, I need your assistance.
    Recently I successfully cleared a well known Qatar gas company interview and got an offer letter as well. My friends got their visas but I am still waiting. I contacted the HR of this company to know the status of my visa. HR said to me that your visa was rejected by the Qatar Immigration Authority, but they haven’t told me the reason why they rejected it.
    Kindly advise me as to how I can find out the reason for the visa rejection. Could you please help me regarding this matter?
    Thanking you.
    With best regards,
    M. Shakeel Khan

  • AJ says:

    Hello,

    I would like to know if I can bring my wife, together with me, in QATAR for business visa (VISA ON ARRIVAL)? Currently I have a resident’s visa in UAE and my wife is under my sponsorship.

    Regards,
    AJ

    • Alexis Dyson says:

      Your spouse might be able to join you by getting a tourist visa on arrival, however border authorities have the right to deny entry. Please contact your airline company prior to your visit to confirm.

  • Mohammad says:

    Hi,

    My work visa has been rejected without stating the reasons. My profession in the passport is “Student,” does that affect issuing a work visa to Qatar?

    • Mohammad says:

      Adding to my question; should the profession in the passport match the one on the application form? If it’s a student in the passport and engineer on the application, will the visa will be rejected?

      • Alexis Dyson says:

        There can be various case-specific reasons for visa rejection. If the reason is not stated when you log in here you can contact the immigration department (Phone: 44890333) to inquire using your visa application number, passport number and nationality. Unfortunately, the authority can choose not to disclose the reason.

  • Manuel says:

    Hi! I have a problem regarding my Qatar ID application, my fingerprint is not clear. I tried a couple of times already and it still is not going. Now I want to ask, what are the possible circumstances that will happen to me? Will it cause repatriation? Please do comment.

  • Merilet says:

    Hi!
    I would just like to ask how long the real time frame is for processing a working visa? My friend got her visa after 3 weeks and she’s now already in Qatar. It has been 6 weeks now since the agency submitted my documents. Does the position affect the visa processing? My position is that of a secretary. The agency assumed it might be denied but also informed me that the company, if the visa was denied, would re-apply because according to them, this is common in Qatar. The company’s latest update is that my visa is still under process with immigration. What are their reasons or factors to reject a certain application? Hope you can give me some advice to ease my worries while waiting for my visa.
    Thanks!

    • Alexis Dyson says:

      There can be numerous reasons for refusing an application, and often it is at the discretion of authorities.

      Please ask your agency to check your visa status online. If the application has been rejected, the reasons can be viewed after logging in.

      For the approximate processing times please visit the Typical Procedures & Timelines section of our immigration country profile for Qatar (click here).

      The time-frames are an estimate and authorities can shorten or extend it according to their requirements.

  • Gracie says:

    Good Day!

    I would like to ask regarding a visa… I’ve been waiting for almost 2 months now for my Qatar work visa. The last update I received from a friend who just arrived there and is working for the same company is that, according to HR, there is no available visas for females. Can I ask what is the meaning of this?

    Thanks!

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