Residence Permits in Qatar: All you need to know
Thinking of relocating to Qatar? For expats who want to live and work in Qatar in the long term, a residence permit is usually required. So, how do you get one exactly?
To help you on your journey to relocation and residency, here is all the important info you need to know about getting a residence permit in Qatar.
What is a Residence Permit?
A residence permit allows visitors from overseas to stay and work in Qatar over a longer period of time, providing them with access to a range of important services.
For example, with a residence permit, you can apply for a loan, sign a rental accommodation agreement, buy a car, open a bank account, get a Qatari driving license, and apply for further permits.
Who can apply for a Residence Permit?
To apply for a residence permit, you must have a Qatari sponsor (usually your employer), and you must be living and working in Qatar at the time of application. You cannot apply for a residence permit outside of Qatar, which means arriving here first on a temporary visa.
Used as a kind of stepping stone, a work visa – sometimes called a temporary work visa – is used as a pathway to allow overseas workers to gain their residence permit. But, in order to apply for a work visa, you first have to receive a job offer from a Qatari employer.
After that job offer has been accepted, it is then up to your Qatari employer to apply for the correct work visa. This is often referred to as a company sponsored visa or a company sponsorship visa, as the Qatari employer is sponsoring you to come to Qatar to live and work.
Company visa sponsorship allows you to arrive in Qatar on a temporary work visa, to then begin the process of gaining a residence permit.
Again, it’s typically the responsibility of your Qatari employer to handle all the paperwork required for the residence permit on your behalf. But, you will have a few things to do as well.
How do you apply for a Residence Permit?
The application process for obtaining an RP is handled by the employer, who is offering sponsorship. However, before the application for the residence permit is lodged, you first have to undergo a local medical test. This involves a blood test, a blood grouping test and a chest X-ray.
Senior members of staff may have the option of attending a private medical facility to undertake this medical test, while everyone else will have to attend a government-run medical facility.
Following that, you will have to register your finger prints with the Ministry of Interior, and then provide legalised, notarised and attested education certificates to your employer for the application. It’s best to sort out these certificates before arriving in Qatar.
To find out more about the attestation of education certificates, read our blog post here .
With all the correct paperwork in order, your Qatari employer will lodge the application for the residence permit.
You may find yourself on a temporary work visa for two to four weeks (and sometimes longer), before the residence permit is issued. However, you should not leave the country during this period of visa-to-permit conversion.
After your residence permit has been issued, you will be provided with a residence card. This replaces the old system of passport residence stickers. As a Qatari resident, you now have access to a range of services and can sponsor family members to come to Qatar.
If you choose to stay and work in Qatar, your Qatari employer must renew your residence permit as required, every one to three years.
Want to find out more about how Fusion Middle East can assist with essential visa services for expats? Check out the website or call us today on +974 4012 0320!