Qatar attracts foreigners from all over the world. Foreigners moving to Qatar often work in the chemical, gas, and petroleum sectors, which may come as little surprise given that oil and gas account for more than half of Qatar’s GDP. The majority of expats moving to Qatar find a role either through international recruitment agencies or within their own companies. Businesses in Qatar must prove there are no unemployed Qatari nationals who could fill a position before it can be offered to a foreign national.
After you find a job in Qatar, anyone wishing to work in the country must first obtain a Work Residence Permit (sometimes known as an RP). Your Qatari employer will handle the application on your behalf. Your employer should arrange a temporary visa, which allows you to enter Qatar while you wait for your Work Residence Permit. Once you receive the Work Residence Permit, you can begin to start your life in Qatar. The Ministry of Interior issues work residence permits. Your employer must renew your permit each year.
Below are 6 different types of visa available for foreigners travelling to Qatar:
1. Qatar work visa
Qatar’s work visas are arranged by your employer. They are valid for between one and three months. These are most common with employees intending to work for a business in Qatar for a set amount of time. To get a visa, you will need to have an employment contract in place, which has been approved by the Ministry of Labor. You need to exclusively work for the company during the period in question and leave the country once the job has been completed. As with a full Work Residence Visa, you must undergo medical tests and fingerprinting.
2. Family Residence Visa
Once you’ve got your residence permit, you can sponsor your immediate family members to live in Qatar with you. Each family member will need to have an individual Family Residence Visa. As part of the process, you must submit documents including marriage and birth certificates and proof of your employment. You can apply at the Foreign Ministry or online through the Qatari government’s portal. You can purchase Family Residence Visas for anything from one to five years.
3. GCC resident visa
Residents of countries in the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) who work in an approved profession can gain a one-month visa through a Qatari embassy. This can be renewed for a further three months. To get a GCC visa, you will need to be a national of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, or Oman.
4. Qatar business visa
Qatar business visas are for employees working in Qatar for a short period of time. Only government-approved companies may sponsor under this visa. Business visas are valid for two weeks, but this can be extended to four weeks. If you want to work beyond this time, you will need a work visa.
5. Exit visa
Qatari employment law is very much in favor of the employer rather than the employee. This is borne out by the fact you will need to obtain an exit visa if you want to leave Qatar. Before leaving the country, you will need the consent of your employer to terminate your work contract.
6. Tourist visa
Visa waivers are available to visitors from many countries, allowing visa-free holidays to Qatar. If your country isn’t on the list, you will need to get a tourist visa. Tourist visas are for people visiting Qatar for leisure and are initially valid for two weeks (this can be extended to three weeks).
To get a tourist visa, you will need to pay a fee and provide proof of a hotel reservation in Qatar or evidence of a relative residing in the state. You will also need to provide a copy of your passport. Longer tourist visas of up to three months can be available, but you must apply at a Qatari embassy in advance.
Applying for a work permit in Qatar
To obtain a Work Residence Permit, you need to supply a series of documents and undergo a medical examination. You must submit a passport and good conduct certificate from the country that issued the passport. In addition, you need to send a certificate providing evidence of academic qualifications, which must be translated into Arabic.
When you supply documents they must be certified by your country’s embassy and provided to the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs. To complete your application you will need to book a medical examination, which will test for hepatitis and HIV. The results of the test will be sent online to the Criminal Evidences and Information Department. Finally, you will have your fingerprints taken.
Note That: A woman living in Qatar with a Family Residence Visa must gain approval from her husband to register to work. This can usually be done without needing to apply for a separate work permit.