The movement of foreigners is tightly regulated in Qatar and the issuing of Visas and permits is subject to a strict series of bureaucratic procedures. People that are denied a VISA have little chance to appeal. Fortunately for the average expatriate they shouldn’t need to deal with much of that bureaucracy as most companies and institutions, large or small, have a ‘fixer’, whose job is to wade through the red tape generated by the various ministerial departments in order to obtain work and residence visas for foreign workers and their families. The fixer will also act as your guide whenever your presence is required.
To gain entry into Qatar you will need the following documentation:
- A passport valid for at least six months.
- At least six passport-size photographs.
- A marriage certificate (if applicable).
- The birth certificates of all family members.
- A medical certificate if going for work.
All foreign workers to the county must also provide evidence that they are good health and are free from HIV/AIDS as well as other STD’s. Also be aware that any connection with Israel, such as holding an Israeli passport or evidence that you have visited Israel will disqualify you from entry into Qatar.
30-day VISA upon arrival
If you hold a British passport proving that you are a British national then you can enter Qatar by getting ‘a visa on arrival’ at the airport. The visa is for single entry and lasts for 30 days. It costs QR100 per person and payment is taken only by card and not by cash. With the exchange rate as it is a 100 Qatari Riyal’s only comes to less than £20.
Work and residency VISAs
The process of obtaining a work and residency visa in Qatar is often a long and complex ordeal but is handled by your sponsor. Before receiving a Visa you must undergo a full medical examination and have to submit a list of your academic and professional qualifications, other measures may be necessary. Residence Visas are valid for one to three years as due to Qatar’s rules that foreigners cannot settle permanently unless under special circumstances residence Visas are always temporary.
Becoming a Qatari citizen
A foreigner can only become a citizen of Qatar in exceptional circumstances. Qatar’s ruler could grant citizenship to a foreigner who has provided exceptional service to the state over a number of years. Generous employers too can grant a worker citizenship but this is very rare and the employee would have to of made an exceptional contribution to a company, however once the recipient came to retirement age the employer would have to have considerable weight and political pull to allow them to live in Qatar for their retirement. Children of foreigners born in Qatar don’t have rights of local citizenship and automatically assume the nationality of the parents. If one of the parents is a national of Qatar, the child will usually be granted local nationality and may later become a national of Qatar and obtain a local passport.