International Immigration Summary – Qatar
Written By Maryke Wylde
Mon, Oct 24, 2016
Immigration Law in Qatar can be quite vague with discretion applied at all steps of the process. The Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior and the Labour Department of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs are the main agencies that deal with immigration into Qatar.
Working in Qatar
There are a couple of options if you would like to work in Qatar:
1. Business Visitor Visa – this visa permits work activities for an initial stay of 30 days (with two further 30 day extensions available at the discretion of the Qatari authorities).
2. Work Visa and Residence Permit – You must have an offer of employment and an employer sponsor to work in Qatar. To apply for a Work Visa you must also have your educational and personal documents verified, pass a medical test and have your fingerprints taken. In most cases, your sponsoring employer will guide you through this process. You can enter Qatar on an Entry Visa and remain in the country until the Work Residence Permit has been issued which can take six to eight weeks. If you leave Qatar during that time you will have to apply again.
Please note that nationals of these 34 countries (Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, The Netherlands, USA, UK, and Vatican City) can obtain a tourist visa, business visa and a joint visa with the sultanate of Oman upon arrival. It is granted for 30 days and can be extended for a further 30 days if required. A passport with a minimum of 6 (six) months validity from the date of entry into Qatar is required. This is a single entry visa.
For other nationals, a visa should be obtained in advance through a sponsor in Qatar (for example; this could be your hotel in Qatar) who can arrange the required visa through the Qatari Ministry of Interior.
Studying in Qatar
You must have a residence permit in order to study in Qatar – you are not allowed to study in Qatar on a single entry visa or a tourist visa. There is also an option to apply for a student visa when your place at University is confirmed. You should apply well in advance of entering Qatar and will need the following:
• A confirmed place on a course at a recognised education institution
• You have paid all relevant visa fees
• A medical certificate detailing your health from a licensed practitioner
• A covering letter from your sponsor explaining the course
Note that nationals of the following countries may be considered restricted, and their work authorization applications will be reviewed on a discretionary basis: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Egypt, India, Iran, Libya, Morocco, Nepal, Russia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, and Yemen. Additionally, if operating in one of Qatar’s free trade zones or free zone-like areas, the Department of Labour is not involved in the work permit process, and requirements become more lenient.
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