Comprehensive immigration profile on Qatar for those considering a relocation.
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:
- Foreigner’s nationality
- Job location (company’s address)
- Name of sending company
- Name of receiving company
- Foreigner’s exact job title and job description
- Duration of the assignment, arrival date and start date
- Validity of passport
- If there are family members: nationality, age, planned arrival date, foreigner’s salary amount
- 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Fingerprinting: Fingerprints are taken as a requirement for residence permit application. Once medical results are published online, the PRO will arrange the necessary appointment.
- 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.
- 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.
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