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Qatar is by no means unfamiliar with visas and immigration. Most of Qatar’s residents are individuals from other countries who must apply for residence and work permits, and tourists are also welcome to visit and experience all that there is to offer.
Getting a visa for Qatar is straightforward. The Ministry of Interior (MoI) oversees all immigration matters and Hukoomi, the government’s ePortal, makes visa applications for Qatar easier. Expats can simply track their applications by entering their country of citizenship, their application number and passport details.
It should be noted that waiting periods may be an inconvenience, especially during Ramadan. Many suggest that it’s best for visa applications to be submitted well before or just after this time. In any event, we strongly recommend checking the MoI website regularly and contacting the nearest embassy and consulate for support.
Tourist visas for Qatar
Citizens from many countries must apply for a visa in advance, and this can be done by contacting the nearest embassy directly and following the application process online.
Note that not all citizens need to apply beforehand. Citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) and 80 other countries do not need to apply for a visa to visit Qatar. These countries include the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Britain and Germany, and a few other European states. Foreign nationals must check if their country of citizenship is included on the full list available on the MoI website.
These visas are obtained at the port of entry upon arrival, but visitors can also receive theirs online before travelling.
Visitors granted tourist visas require their passport validity to be at least six months after the date of arrival, and they must show an itinerary of travel plans including accommodation details and a return ticket.
These visas are normally valid for one to three months.
Sponsored tourist visas
There are several types of tourist visas available and organised through authorised hotels, embassies and employers as well as Qatar Airways. For more on this process, it is important to contact these bodies and organisations directly.
Note that such visas cannot be extended and are only valid for one month.
Joint tourist visas
Joint tourist visas allow free travel between Qatar and Oman. Expats may apply for these before travelling, though can also obtain them upon arriving. These Qatar-Oman visas are valid for one month and can be renewed for another 30 days.
Transit visas are applicable for visits no longer than 24 hours, and travellers stopping over in Qatar can obtain these visas, such as, if they wish to leave the airport and explore a bit before continuing their journey.
Business visas for Qatar
Expats coming to the country for temporary work purposes need to get a business visa for Qatar. The approved local company receiving the overseas visitor often takes responsibility for the process and will need to provide a letter of invitation as part of it.
Expats planning to carry out contractual work can receive this business visa, valid for only three months. Those looking to work in Qatar for extended periods will require a work and residence permit.
72-hour business visas
Applicants needing only three days in Qatar will receive this 72-hour business visa, normally issued on arrival. These individuals must show proof of their business and carry the necessary documents.
Many applicants are invested in business ventures and they can apply for an investor visa. Expats require documents on business, property ownership, a certificate showing good behaviour and an authorised medical certificate. We encourage investors to follow up on the MoI and Ministry of Economy and Commerce websites for more.
Visit visas for Qatar
GCC residents and family members can apply for short-term visas to visit Qatar.
GCC resident visit visas
Residents of GCC countries are allowed entry to Qatar for stays of one month, renewable for a further three months.
Family visit visas
Expats moving to Qatar for work can bring their family over on family-visit visas. These visas are valid for one month and can be extended for six months for immediate relatives (spouse and children) and three months for other family members. When applying for extensions, applicants require a medical check-up.
Residence visas for Qatar
To stay in Qatar, expats can enter on the relevant visa and apply for a working residence permit for Qatar after they arrive. Many processes must be done beforehand, though, and certain conditions must be met. Permits are only granted to applicants who are sponsored by a company, a family member in the country who earns more than the minimum threshold or those investing in property. Expats must stay in Qatar while their entry visa is converted to a residence permit.
Family residence visas
Expats working in Qatar who wish for their family to stay with them during their employment contractual period can sponsor their residence visa. The current expat resident generally requires:
- a monthly income of over QAR 10,000
- to have worked with their company for at least six months
- a valid Qatar ID
- residence visa from their employer
Expats with a newborn baby younger than three months old must apply for a Newborn Visa. Parents need a valid residence permit, their child’s birth certificate and for the baby to be included in their parents' passport or have their own.
Education residence visas
Study visas can be obtained free of charge. Students require proof of acceptance to an approved educational institution, and visas are valid for the duration of the course in question.
Real estate visas
Expats interested in buying property and owning real estate in Qatar must apply for this visa through the MoI. Expats usually need a:
- valid passport
- letter from a relevant real estate agent regarding property investment and purchase
- certificate of good conduct
- medical check-up
Expats in Qatar must note that, just as they require an entry visa for their initial visit, they likely need a return visa when they leave and come back to the country. This includes citizens with valid residency who have been out of Qatar for more than six months and are returning. We recommend expats check the MoI website for information on fees, required documents and processes.
It's essential to determine whether expats need an exit permit to leave Qatar. For example, male visitors residing in Qatar over one month need an exit permit, and expats cannot depart without paying any fines. Expats staying in Qatar should visit the Hukoomi website to find out if they require this permit to leave.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.
Are you an expat living in Qatar?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Qatar. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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