Tourist Visa Qatar/Work Visa Qatar
Organising a visa is an integral part of your planning when travelling abroad. Depending on the nature of your visit, you may require either a tourist visa or work visa. Qatar has its own set of rules which must be abided by in order to enter the country legally. If you apply for a tourist visa, Qatar regulations stipulate that you will be allowed to stay in the country for a maximum of one month before needing to reapply. When it comes to a work visa, Qatar laws require you to enter the country on a temporary arrangement, and then apply for an extension or work visa once your original period of stay has elapsed.
If you’re thinking of starting a business in Qatar, it may be that you need to travel there for a preliminary visit in order to secure offices or find a sponsor – if this is the case, then you’ll need to apply for a tourist visa; Qatar tourist visas aren’t required for UK residents if they’re planning to stay for less than 30 days, but as with any country, visa requirements can be subject to change, so always check before you travel. In fact, there are a total of 30 countries that are exempt from a tourist visa requirement, including residents of countries that fall under the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), but again, you MUST check whether you fall into this exemption category.
The same principal applies when it comes to a work visa – Qatar laws may change at short notice, so always make sure that you do your homework first! It’s also important to bear in mind that visa requirements differ depending on your nationality. Here we’ll look at the current regulations for tourist and work visas in Qatar; while we’ll always endeavour to ensure that the information is current and correct, please conduct your own investigations before travelling.
Tourist Visa – Qatar requirements
If you want to visit Qatar for a holiday or to get a feel for the country in light of starting a business there, you’ll need a tourist visa. Qatar visa requirements differ depending where you’re travelling from – for example, UK nationals don’t require a tourist visa for Qatar, providing they don’t intend to stay for more than a month, but if you’re an American visitor, you’ll need a valid tourist visa for Qatar.
How to obtain a Qatar tourist visa:
You can apply for your Qatar tourist visa either via your local Qatar Embassy, or upon entry to the country. Tourist visas for Qatar are only valid for a maximum stay of 30 days and in order to obtain your tourist visa you will need to do the following:
- To secure your Qatar tourist visa, you will need to have at least 90 days validity left on your passport from your intended date of departure from Qatar – this also applies to UK residents who don’t need a tourist visa for short stays. You will also need 2 copies of the main passport pages which have your details and photograph on them.
- You will need at least 2 blank pages left in your passport for your tourist visa and any other official stamps.
- To purchase your tourist visa, Qatar regulations require you to submit the following items in addition to your passport:
- 2 passport size photographs
- A copy of your flight tickets/travel itinerary/hotel booking
- Your most recent bank statement and evidence that you have funds equal to 5,000 QAR (credit cards will be accepted)
- If the purpose of your visit to Qatar is to see friends/family, you need a letter of invitation with the following information included; their contact details, purpose and duration of visit, proof of their status (copy of their Qatar passport information page or overseas passport and residence permit), date and signature
- The current rate for a Qatar tourist visa is around 100 QAR
- If you’re travelling to Qatar via connecting flights in other countries, it’s your responsibility to obtain any transit visas that may be required.
Work Visa – Qatar requirements
Unlike many other countries, you can travel on a tourist visa first, before you arrange your work visa – Qatar regulations for obtaining a work visa/permit actually require you to enter the country in a single entry/employment visa and then your sponsor will have to declare their support for you working in the country and help you to secure the correct work visa. Qatar has no restrictions on employment and work visas based on gender, but you will have to undergo a variety of checks.
As with a tourist visa, rules for obtaining a Qatar work visa may vary depending on your country of origin and it’s vital that you check for the latest information and laws prior to entering the country on any type of visa. However, as a guide, these are the steps you will need to adhere to for your work visa in Qatar:
- Some nationalities may be required to provide police clearance from their country of origin.
- Health checks are often a requirement to secure a work visa in Qatar, including a blood test, chest x-ray, blood type test and a record of your fingerprints – you cannot get your Qatar work visa or resident’s permit without this. HIV tests may also be required.
- In addition to the above, further medical checkups may be required for those travelling from some Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries.
- You will need a valid passport, 2 passport size photographs and the relevant visa for legal arrival in the country before applying for your work visa.
- Your employer/sponsor is required to make the necessary application for your Qatar work visa, which must be submitted to the Ministry of Interior.
- Your sponsor will need to submit a letter on headed stationary stating the nature of your relationship and your terms of business/employment.
- All expat workers in Qatar will also need to obtain an official ID card and resident’s permit.
- Once you have your work visa, Qatar will also welcome your dependants to live in the country – children must be under 25 years old to qualify and if your dependants wish to work, they will need to secure their own sponsor and work visa.
- Exit visas must be obtained if you’re working for a sponsor and you wish to leave the country.
Work visas in Qatar are applicable for individuals, private entities and companies.
Business Start Up Qatar are experts in helping you to take your business dream to this wonderful land of opportunity. If you have any questions about finding a sponsor, the business start up process or securing a tourist visa in Qatar or a work visa in Qatar, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Paul Gyles, Finance Director of ISG Middle East