Qatar: An Update On Qatar Immigration Process

Last Updated: 5 September 2017
Article by Emma Higham and Yasser Shabbir

Following recent changes introduced by the Qatar government to facilitate greater access to the country, the nationals of 80 countries will now no longer need to apply or pay for a visa upon arrival into Qatar. Instead, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free of charge upon the presentation by the visiting national of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.

Hassan Al-Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at the Qatar Tourism Authority notes that: "The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar, the most open country in the region".

The 80 countries are divided into two groups. The first group consists of 33 countries whose nationals are eligible for a visa waiver that is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitles its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar during either a single trip or multiple trips. These include:

Austria Germany Norway
Bahamas Greece Poland
Belgium Hungary Portugal
Bulgaria Iceland Romania
Croatia Italy Seychelles
Cyprus Latvia Slovakia
Czech Republic Liechtenstein Slovenia
Denmark Lithuania Spain
Estonia Luxembourg Sweden
Finland Malta Switzerland
France Netherlands Turkey

The second group consists of 47 countries whose nationals are eligible for a visa waiver that is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitles its holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar during either a single trip or on multiple trips. This visa waiver may be extended for a further 30 days. These include:

Andorra India United Kingdom
Argentina Indonesia United States
Azerbaijan Ireland Uruguay
Belarus Japan Vatican City
Bolivia Kazakhstan Venezuela
Brazil Lebanon  
Brunei Macedonia  
Canada Malaysia  
Chile Maldives  
China Mexico  
Colombia Moldova  
Costa Rica Monaco  
Cuba New Zealand  
Ecuador Panama  
Georgia Paraguay  
Guyana Peru  
Hong Kong Russia  

The nationals from outside the 80 countries listed above must continue to either arrange for a tourist visa through a Qatar based hotel where they must remain during their stay in Qatar, or their Qatar based family members may arrange for a visit visa through the Qatari Embassy responsible for their relevant jurisdiction. Individuals travelling for work or business must ensure that they have the correct visa before travelling to the country. For the avoidance of doubt, the on arrival visa waiver program does not entitle an individual to work in Qatar.

Whilst it has been widely announced that the on arrival visa waiver program has already taken effect, the actual effective date of the program for certain countries may vary. We would advise that enquiries be made within the appropriate Embassy or diplomatic mission of the country in question prior to making any travel arrangements.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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