Visa requirements for Qatar - Tourist and Business

Visa requirements for Qatar - Tourist and Business

The Visa procedure for Qatar is quite straightforward, especially with the government's ePortal Hukoomi, which allows you to keep track of your application simply by entering your Country of Citizenship, your application number and passport details.

Please note during the month of Ramadan is a bad time to apply for work entry visas or permits, as most government offices operate during shorter working hours.


Tourist Visas for Qatar

Residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and citizens of the 33 countries listed by the Qatari government can receive their tourist/visit visa on arrival without prior application or additional documentation.

This list of countries includes : The United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, the Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Lichtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and South Korea.

South Africa and countries on the Indian subcontinent, including India and Pakistan, are excluded from this list.

Nationals from countries that are not on the list can apply for a tourist visa through their nearest Qatari foreign office or through a list of authorised hotels, which can be found on the Hukoomi website.

When you travel to Qatar, you are advised to have a passport that is valid for at least six months after the date of your arrival in Qatar. You are also required to show your hotel confirmation and a credit or savings balance of at least around 5,100 QAR. Depending on passport control, it may also be necessary to show your return ticket.

Tourist visas are valid for a maximum of one month and expats who want to stay longer will have to apply for a Residence Permit. After your arrival, the residence permit application process begins immediately.


Business Visas for Qatar

Business Visas allow non-Qataris to conduct business and work in Qatar on a temporary basis.

72-hour Business Visa - This visa is issued on arrival, and is extendible for a further 72 hours. This visa is mostly used for short-term business trips. The local business receiving the overseas visitor often takes responsibility for the process and will need to provide a letter of invitation as part of it.

Business Visa - This visa is available for new expatriate workers and persons conducting short-term contractual work in Qatar. The visa is valid for a maximum of three months, and must be arranged in advance by an approved company or institution operating in Qatar.

Investor Visa

Expatriates who invest in selected business ventures in Qatar, are eligible to residency without sponsorship. Applicants must have property ownership documents, a certificate of good behaviour and have a medical check-up to qualify.

Authorized government personnel may complete the Investor Visa procedure online. More details can be found at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce and the Ministry of Interior.


Residence Permits for Qatar

Tourist visas are valid for a maximum of one month and expats who want to stay longer will have to apply for a Residence Permit. After your arrival, the residence permit application process begins immediately. This part of the bureaucracy is also managed by the employing sponsor. Expats only have to bring the requested paperwork overseas with them, and must go for a medical check-up and fingerprinting upon arrival. You can also be sponsored by a family member in the country, however they must earn more than the minimum threshold.

To successfully receive the Residence Permit, expats cannot leave the country during the time in which their work entry visa is being processed. The processing period can take up to 6 weeks.


Qatar Employer sponsorship

Step 1 - Secure a job

Expats first have to secure a job before applying for their working visa. Once this is done, the employer is largely responsible for the application process.

Step 2 - Work entry visa application

When the employment contract has been signed by both parties, the employer will apply for a business entry visa at the Ministry of Interior. Due to the large number of foreign workers in Qatar, many companies are familiar with the application process and might even have a department within HR that deals with visa applications solely.

The company should know which documents are needed to start the application process. Expats should have multiple, notarized copies of all the required documents for their personal records.

When the application has been finalized after four to eight weeks, you can print a copy of the approval from the website of the Qatari Ministry of Interior. With this copy, Expats can travel to Qatar and collect the actual visa at Qatar airport.

Step 3 - Apply for a Residence Permit in Qatar

To apply for a Residence Permit in Qatar, you will need to bring certain documents from your home country. Your employer should know the specifics but in general you will need police clearance, passport photos, copies Qualifications and your employment contract.

After your arrival in Qatar, the employer will arrange a medical check-up for you. Once this is completed, together with the documents from step 2 and 3 the Residence Permit application can be processed.


Qatar Visa Finger prints

After the medical test, you will need to have your finger prints taken at the General Directorate of Civil Defense or the Civil Investigation Department. The application forms are available on site, but it's better to ask your employer/sponsor to organize this in advance since these forms have to be translated in Arabic. Alternatively the translation can also take place on site.


Qatar Visa Family sponsorship

Expats who have a residence work permit for Qatar and are earning more than 7,000 QAR per month, are in the position to legally sponsor family to obtain a Residence Visa.

In order to receive this visa, you will need to submit application forms to the Ministry of Labour in Qatar for each family member, a letter from your employer, copies of your passport, proof of residence and if applicable, birth and marriage certificates.

Expats in Qatar on a family-sponsored Residence Permit are not allowed to work but can apply to the Labour Department for the right to do so after they have obtained their Residence Visa.


Qatar Transit Visa

If you plan to stop over in Qatar temporarily (up to 24 hours) on your way to a destination, you should apply for a transit visa before you travel. The visa is valid for 24 hours and allows you to leave the airport transfers area to stay in Qatar.

If you are planning to have a stopover (maximum of 24 hours) in Qatar on your way to your destination, you can apply for a transit visa before you travel. This visa is valid for 24 hours and will allow you to leave the airport transfer area to stay in Qatar.

The Transit Visa is also convenient for workers whose job requires a short stay in Qatar, for example sea men and truck drivers passing through Qatar. Please note a Transit Visa is not acceptable for general business visits.

Transit Visas can be arranged through your local Qatari embassy prior to travel. Embassy workers and other authorized persons can apply online for transit visas on behalf of travelers.

*Visa and work permit regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest procedures.

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