Qatar Visa Information
What Visas There Are, Who is Eligible and What you Have to Do to Get Them
It's also worth being aware that visitors overstaying must pay a fine for every day after the expiry of the visa.
MAJOR VISA UPDATE
Plans to stop issuing visa on arrival have been shelved, possibly permanently. However, always please check with your airline and/or embassy in Qatar before booking your travel. Changes to visa policy can happen very rapidly. See visa on arrival below for details of who can apply.
Since Eid 2008 some former residents, whose permits have expired within the previous two years, and who would normally have been granted visa on arrival, are being turned away at Doha airport. If you are in this situation, bring a letter of no objection from your former sponsor if you have one, and try and check the current situation with your airlines. See Turned Away at the Gates for the full story.
According to Qatar E-government, the tourist visa is valid for two weeks, with the joint Qatar-Oman visa lasting for three weeks, after which it can be extended for a further week. We have found that in practice immigration usually give a one month Qatar-Oman visa. It is not necessary to visit Oman, and you can stay in Qatar for the duration of the visa.
Payment can be made at the immigration desk with Visa, Visa-Electron, Mastercard, Maestro or E-Cash. It can be extended for a further two weeks. A hotel booking or the presence of relatives in the country are required.
Those applying for a tourist visa should have funds of QAR5000 or its equivalent (a credit card will do). If you are staying with friends or relatives you should also have their address.
Two week visas, which can be extended for a further two weeks can also be arranged by hotel and tourist operators. Two hotels that arrange tourists visa can be found on our forum post: Qatar Tourist Visas: Hotels. Alternatively, you can obtain a tourist visa via Qatar Airways. See Tourist Visa via Qatar Airways for more information.
Passengers are supposed to have return tickets on a Qatar Airways flight in order to get a visa. While we have never known anyone turned away because they were on a different flight, we still recommend arriving on a Qatar Airways flight.
For an easy time with the visa-on-arrival (not that it is very difficult in the first place) book the Al Maha service via Qatar Airways. They will sit you down with a drink and organise everything for you - we have been very impressed with their service in the past.
Note that passports must be valid for six months after the date of return. Exit visas are not required.
Longer Tourist Visas
Longer tourist visas are available for the residents of countries in the list above. but must be obtained in advance. Multiple entry visas are available for six months and one year, and two year and five year multiple-entry visas are available for holders of British passports. For the application form and current rates send a self addressed envelope to the embassy in your country.
Update: Recently readers have reported that it has become more difficult to get longer visas.
Full list of countries
Visa on arrival is available for the residents of these countries:
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Monaco, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, The Netherlands, USA, UK, Vatican City.
These are organised by Qatari Companies for nationals from the full list of countries below. They are valid for two weeks. They can be extended for two weeks at airport immigration although it may be possible to extend them for longer. An exit visa is only needed if the individual on the business visa has stayed longer than four weeks.
Expatriates will normally enter on a single entry visa (employment visa) valid for one to three months. This will be arranged by the employer. Police clearance (Certificate of good conduct) from your country may be required prior to entry - check this first with your employer. If you do need one you can find details here: Police Clearance Certificates for Qatar. Once in the country expatriates will need residents permits and work visas, normally arranged by their companies. In order to get this, expatriates will need a health check, which will include a blood test and chest x-ray. This will be followed by fingerprinting. You must also get your blood type tested. This can be done at Doha Clinic in Al Mirquab Al Jadeed street for a nominal fee.
Medical checkup - residents of some countries, including Oman and Saudi Arabia, must have checkups before coming to Qatar. This may be extended to a number of other Asian, African and Middle east countries.
Note that, according to the Doha Airport website, sponorship can only be tranferred after an employee has worked for their original sponsor for a minimum two years, although rules like this can be applied soemwhat haphazardly. An sponsor can also block his employee from returning to Qatar for a further two years.
Workers sponsor their own families. In some circumstances, expatriates need to go ahead of their family and arrange their own resident permits before applying for a family visas. Apply at the department of Labour on C ring road next to the American Hospital and opposite the Avis Garage. You will be given a form to complete with a list of the relevant documents: approval letter from work, bank statement of salary for the last six months (for non-government employees), marriage certificates, children's birth certificates and education certificates (although you don't always need these in practice). The last three should be certified, but in practice you probably don't need to. Photocopies are acceptable. You also need passport photos of yourself, your spouse and your children. Alternatively, you may be able to bring your family on tourist visas. After they have arrived you can convert their visa to a residence permit.
People working in Qatar can sponsor family and relatives for a period of up to six months. (The initial stay is for one month, and this can be renewed up to a total of six months.) Wives and children can come for up to a year.
To apply for the visa the applicant will need a copy of their id or passport and a copy of the visitor's passport (a scan will do), a letter from the applicant's own sponsor (i.e. their employer) and proof of their relationship such as birth and marriage certificates. You also need two photographs of the visitor.. The visit visa lasts for one month but can renewed for up to five months for immediate family and for up to two months for other family residents. Residents in the country should apply at the Gharaffa immigration department near Landmark.
Some residents of neighbouring countries can get visa on arrival in Qatar if they have a GCC resident's visa. Whether they can get this depends on the designation of the visa. Those designated as CEO's. engineers, business owners and so on will be able to get visas, while those designated as labourers or students will not be able to get visas. The visa must be valid for six months after the date of arrival in Qatar, and is usually valid for thirty days. As always, confirm with your airline whether you are valid for the visa before you pay for your airline ticket.
All residents, except for women and children who are sponsored by their father or husband, will require an exit visa before leaving their country. To get an exit visa they will require permission from their sponsor. You may also require a guarantor a person who is willing to sign a letter guaranteeing that he will repay any of your debts before you are granted an exit visa.
Your exit visa can now be be completed on-line by your employer if he has obtained authorization. Alternatively, you can print the on-line application, or complete it on-line and then print it. However, if you don't read Arabic you will need some help. You will then have to take your application to the immigration at Al Gharaffa (Sunday to Thursday). You need to go into the compound to the side of the building, in through Gate 3 and up the stairs to the first floor. Leave the stairs and walk straight ahead to get to the Exit Visas section.
It is now possible for citizens and residents to purchase an e-gate card prior to going on vacation. This will enable you to avoid the normal hassle of immigration. Instead, you will simple head through a dedicated channel or e-gate, insert your e-gate card and place your finger on a biametric scanner. These cards can be obtained at the airport immigration office that is opposite the airport (on the other side of the carpark). The cards cost 150 riyals for a year, 250 for two years or 350 riyals for three years. All you have to do is bring your ID card with you - you don't even have to fill in an application form.
Green Card Holders
American and Canadian green card holders need to apply via a friend or contact in Qatar. Send copies of your passport, greencard and photographs to your contact in Qatar, who must then apply via immigration.
Holders of dual passports should be aware that Qatar does not allow its citizens to hold multiple nationalities. They will confiscate passports belonging to other countries and return them to the relevant embassy. Some embassies, including the US embassy, will then return the passport to the citizen.
Ask your visa questions or share your frustrations on our Visa forum.
Airport Chief Immigration Officer
Book Air Tickets to Qatar
As you can see, our comments sections is getting rather full up of visa questions. We also get hundreds of emails with visa and other questions, but we have got to the point where there are just too many to answer. Why you are welcome to leave a comment, for a quick answer we suggest you use:
Qatar Forum: Visa Questions
Here, we hope, you will quickly find answers to your questions.
Visa Information For Other Countries