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VISA TO QATAR / QATAR IMMIGRATION GUIDE

Post your questions and advices related to immigration issues in Qatar. Information is given about work permits, etc. in this forum.


VISA TO QATAR / QATAR IMMIGRATION GUIDE

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Postby Qatar information » Tue Jan 03, 2006 4:50 pm

VISA TO QATAR / QATAR IMMIGRATION GUIDE

Fast Facts

Straight forward tourist or business visa

Since December 2001, Qatar has been able to offer a straight forward tourist or business visa simply on arrival at Doha International Airport for persons from the following 33 countries:

USA, UK, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece, Finland, Spain, Monaco, Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Liechtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea.

Cost of the visa for single entry is USD 15/QR 55 per person per passport – visa cost is non-refundable. Payment can be made at any of the immigration desks with the following cards; Visa, Visa-Electron, Mastercard, Maestro & E-Cash (a pre-paid credit card that can be bought in the arrival lounge with cash)

If you are not from one of the countries listed above, then you can apply for visas in the following ways:

Tourist Visa

Applications for tourist visas are submitted to the Immigration Department (Airport Visas Section) by one of the registered hotels. Visas are usually given within 24 hours and are valid for 14 days. They can be extended for another 14 days. Discuss with the hotel where you have a reservation.

Business Visa

A company or a recognized establishment can submit an application to the Immigration Department (Airport Visa Section). Visas are usually given within 24 hours and are valid for 14 days. They may be extended for another 3 months. Discuss this with the company who would sponsor you.


Visas

Applications for visas are normally issued through the Qatari Embassy or Consulate in the Home country. They must be based on a formal offer of employment or upon an invitation.

Visas are also issued for business purposes, tourism and residency. A 14 day business visa extendable for up to 3 months is issued to visitors who visit Qatar for business purposes. For this, the visitor must have a valid passport and a return ticket. In addition, a letter signed by a sponsor in Qatar stating that the visit is for business purposes only, must be submitted to the immigration authorities at the airport 48 hours prior to the visitor’s arrival. Tourist visa valid for 14 days, extendable for another 14 days, is available on arrival for nationals of 33 different counties, mostly from OECD countries. A 14 day visa costs QR 55 ($15).

Foreigners with valid residence permits from GCC states do not require a visitor’s visa. On arrival in Qatar they will be granted an entry visa that will be valid for 14 days; however, the residence permit stamped on their passport must be valid for at least 1 month, and they must be of certain professions.

Holders of British passport with the right of abode in Britain may obtain a visitor’s visa for Qatar for up to 6 months on application to the Qatari Embassy in London, as well as other Qatari embassies oversees. A 7 day business visa may also be obtain from the embassy in London. The application for the business visa should be accompanied by a letter from a sponsor in Qatar stating that the visit will be for business purposes only. British citizens will, on application be granted a multiple entry visa for a maximum five year period, depending upon the validity of the passport.

U.S. Citizens are entitled to a multiple entry visa valid for 10 years. However, the maximum length of stay in the country is 6 months after which the holder of the visa must leave the country. The application for the multiple entry visas must be made to a Qatari Diplomatic mission outside Qatar. The visa is valid for business and tourism purposes.

A residence visa valid for up to 3 years is granted to persons holding employment contracts to work in Qatar. Upon arrival in Qatar, expatriates are required to go through an intensive immigration process in order to obtain residence permits. Employers arrange the necessary appointments, which include a medical examination, finger- printing, and blood testing. Up to twenty passport-size photos will be required throughout the entire immigration process. Photos of improper size, background color or proper eye-wear will be rejected. These photos are inexpensive and easy to obtain once you have arrived in Doha. The medical examination includes a blood test for Aids and Hepatitis, as well as an X-ray for tuberculoses. It is recommended that women wear a white t- shirt for the X-ray exam, this way they will not need to disrobe for the X-ray. Men and women are tested in separate areas of the hospital (sometimes even in different hospitals), and results of these tests are normally received within 48 hours.

Occasionally, re-testing is required. During the finger-printing process, an impression is taken of each fingertip as well as of both palms. It is very a messy business! Wear work clothes and take along some wet-wipes with which to cleanse your hands afterwards.

Blood testing is done to determine your blood type: this is one of the most important stages of the immigration process. These are the required steps for securing residency permits, health cards and drivers licenses.

In February 2000, new expatriate-friendly measures were taken. Holders of “Work Visit Visasâ€
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