Qatar Red Tape Guide
Business visas can be obtained for those traveling to Qatar for business, however, the partner company sponsoring or government establishment, such as the ministry, would have to obtain the required visa. Business visas are typically valid between 14 days and 3 months. Hotels can also arrange business visas, which would be valid for 3 months. The cost is QR 100.
Family visit visas are an appropriate option for families with expat status that allows you to bring family, siblings or parents. The visa can range for one month or a maximum of 6 months. A medical commission check- up is necessary to extend the visa beyond 1 month. Cost is QR 250 and QR 50 per month.
You can pay at the immigration desk via Visa or MasterCard for standard visit visas. Note that the presence of relatives in the country still requires a hotel booking. Passports must be valid for six months after the date of return. Exit visas are not required.
Multiple entry visas are available for 6 months and one year. 2-year and 5-year multiple-entry visas are available for holders of British passports.
Medical procedure for Resident Work Permit or Family Residency: Blood Group certificates are required before going for medical tests. This applies to adults and children.
Medical tests include a blood test as well as chest X rays. The Chest x rays can only be done at the Medical Commission in Abu Hamour. Electronic fingerprinting for adults only can be completed at the Mesaimeer Services Centre.
Identity cards are mandatory for all residents of Qatar; this applies to the resident work permit and the family resident permit. The exception is for those under 18. The ID cards contain information such as your blood group, your passport number and nationality not forgetting your signature and can be used instead of your passport in most circumstances. The duration of your ID is the same as your residency.
Resident visas are not normally a problem provided you have a sponsor. The sponsor would typically get the work permit and assist with all the required paperwork. A Work Resident permit is valid up to three years and is granted to people who have contracts to work in Qatar. Cost QR 1000 per year.
Ensure that all appropriate documents are readily available and expect to provide additional documents. Resident visas can take some time and in family circumstances it is not uncommon to do a visa run within the first 28 days. Contracts usually are valid for 2-year period with 2 months paid leave after completion of contract. The initial cost is QR 5500.
Birth and Registration
A birth certificate is issued to every child born in Qatar but children born to foreign nationals are not entitled to Qatari Nationality by reason of their birth in Qatar.
The Hamad hospital will issue 2 letters to obtain a birth certificate but the parents must register their child’s birth with their respective country’s embassy or consulate.
The documents required for a birth certificate:
• Childs local birth certificate
• Both parents passports
• Marriage certificates
• Visas and copies of public health department
• Completed birth form
A cost of approximately QR 310 applies per copy of each birth certificate and is normally issued within a week. Newborn babies registration permits must be processed and completed within 60 days of their birth. Failure to do so will result in a Qr 10 per day fine until the visa is issued.
Marriage Certificate and Licence
It is not that common for expats to get married in Qatar, most people either return to their countries of origin or travel abroad for more scenic nuptials. There are a number of house churches which meet in various villas around town, as well as a resident Chaplain and a resident Roman Catholic priest in Qatar. There is a state recognised Catholic church with a newly completed building. Contact them for mass timings and other services on: Church office 4442-5566, Vicariate of Arabia 582-0585. Certain embassies are able to officiate civil service ceremonies for their nationals and register these marriages, but it is best to check with your particular embassy’s consular office to see what their requirements are and how to have any ceremony recognised in your home country.
Bars and restaurants inside most hotels and some sports or leisure clubs are licenced to sell alcohol, although an extra charge of 17.5% tax is customary. The Qatar Distribution Company (QDC, 4469 9412 or 4469 9413) is the exclusive importers of alcohol in Qatar, and because the brewing of alcohol is prohibited, the only vendor of anything alcoholic. They are situated near the industrial area and are the sole location where those with a liquor permit can buy alcohol. In order to obtain such a permit, you need a letter from your sponsor stating your basic salary (excluding your housing allowance or other benefits) and a copy of your ID. You will also need to pay a returnable deposit of QR 1,000.
The QDC calculates your monthly quota of alcohol based on your salary. The total amount of product sold to any individual at any one sale is not to exceed 10% of his/her basic salary. The shop does offer a good selection of wine from all over the world, as well as a number of brand-name spirits and a moderate selection of beers with 10 to 15 different brands available. QDC pays 100% landing tax on the import of all alcoholic beverages and no additional sales tax is added, making the prices reasonable, but higher than would be in your home country.
Please note: no children are allowed in the shop and that QDC is closed during the entire month of Ramadan (so you will need to plan ahead). You are allowed to purchase alcohol at the airport when leaving the country, but you may not bring any Duty Free products into Qatar.
Death Certificate and Licence
The death of a family member or friend is difficult at any time, but the procedures in a foreign country may add to your stress and pain. Your national embassy will certainly assist wherever they can and will provide you with clear instructions of what needs to be done in order to remove remains for funeral arrangements.
The police must be notified in the event of a death, so that they can issue a report stating that there was no foul play involved. Once this report has been issued, you need to go to the mortuary (439 2594) to collect the Notification of Death certificate (a yellow form). Once you have these, you must go to the Preventative Health Department (located on Al Rayyan Road, near Lulu’s) to obtain further paperwork.
In order to obtain all the relevant paperwork, you will need the following:
• 10 copies of the deceased person’s passport
• 10 copies of the deceased person’s spouse’s passport
• 10 copies of the passport of the person handling the arrangements
• Copies of each person’s ID card may also be required
• The cost will be approximately QR 100
Post mortems are not usually performed in Qatar, or any of the other Gulf countries, unless there is reason to believe that the death was not due to natural causes or accidental. If a post mortem is necessary, a relative must sign a form, which is written in Arabic, and which states that you have no objection to any organs being removed and destroyed in non-criminal cases.
You will then need to go to the CID (the national security force in Qatar) with all the paperwork obtained from the Preventative Health Department in order to obtain a Transfer of Dead Body certificate. The CID is located in the same place where you normally go to have your fingerprints taken. You will need to purchase a QR 6 stamp and take it to the fifth floor.
Thereafter, you will need to return to the Preventative Health Department with all the paperwork and they will issue you with six sets of death certificates.
You must also register the death with the deceased person’s embassy. They will require a death certificate and a completed Registration of Death form; available at the embassy. As an indication of cost, at the British Embassy, registration of a death costs QR 484 and a death certificate costs QR 308.
The embassy will cancel the deceased person’s passport, which is necessary if the body is to be repatriated. The residence visa must also be cancelled, and the deceased person’s sponsor should arrange this for you.
You will then need to make arrangements with an airline for shipment of the body, as well as with an undertaker in the country to which the body is being flown. Remember to advise the mortuary on the flight details as soon as they have been booked. The mortuary will then make arrangements to transport the body to the airport.
The next step is to contact Qatar Aviation Services (4465 6652), which is located at the cargo section of the airport. They will require copies of the deceased’s passport and that of the accompanying person. They also need contact details of the undertaker in the home country. They will issue an airway bill for the body and will expect cash payment in advance.
There are no undertakers in Qatar. A woman named, Eugene, known locally as the embalmer will help with the preparation of the body. Eugene and a team of volunteers do not charge for their services, but will happily accept donations, which she then gives to local charities. Eugene will come and prepare the body 24 hours before it is due to leave the country. She can be contacted on 4442 7427.
You will need to order a coffin and this can be done through Gulf Timber (4460 0822); alternatively you can call Mr Cesar (541 4768) or for Arabic speakers, Mr Jaffer (551 0962/553 3145). It takes a maximum of two days to make a coffin once they have the measurements of the deceased. The approximate charge is QR 3,000, paid in advance, and they will deliver the coffin to the mortuary on the day the body is being flown home.
On the day of departure, you will have to take the paperwork, together with the deceased’s original cancelled passport and the airway bill, to the airport. At Arrivals, go to the Customs counter, where they will stamp one set of papers. Then go to Immigration who will stamp the deceased’s passport with an exit stamp. You will then have to return to QNT with all the stamped documents.