Whether you are a resident or a visitor to Qatar, dealing with one or more of the country’s government offices is going to be a necessity at some point in your stay. You can do it the old-fashioned way, visiting the offices and transacting your business directly with government people, or do it the more convenient way – online. 

Government Online

Hukoomi

This is the award-winning government website, gov.qa. Available in English and Arabic, it is the first place to look when you have government-related queries. It serves as an access point to the many services provided by the government and allows everyone, visitors and residents alike, to make transactions online. Regularly updated, it has many e-services and links to various government ministries, councils, departments and institutions. There is also information on events and topical articles about Qatar.

At the fourth edition of Qatar’s information and communication technology conference (QITCOM 2017) Hukoomi 3 was launched, which enables the use of up to 650 online services accessible remotely without having to visit a government office. The new portal offers an additional 500 services that were not available previously.

Hukoomi can also be accessed via apps for Android and iOS.

Registration: Some services, such as driving licences, require online registration with a Qatari ID card for residents and nationals or a passport number for users outside Qatar.

Ministry of Interior (MOI) Services

MOI is committed to keeping both citizens and residents continuously informed and updated about their services and ease of access to them. They can be found at moi.gov.qa, on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Some services are available in Arabic, English, Hindi and Urdu to meet the diverse language needs of its users.

Metrash 2 The MOI constantly improves and simplifies its services delivery channels and procedures.

In light of this, MOI introduced its unique service Metrash 2 that enables Qatari nationals and residents to apply for and obtain more than 150 services that save their time, effort and money, while enjoying the convenience of using their smartphones.

For support and enquiries: 234 2000

Metrash 2 includes:

  • Visa services
  • Personal and corporate traffic services
  • RP services
  • Exit permit issue
  • General MOI enquiries.

MOI’s Emergency Service for the Deaf 992 uses advanced technological equipment to enable users to contact the emergency centre by:

  • Dialling 992 using a 3G camera from their computer or mobile phone.
  • Sending an SMS to 992 mentioning clearly the type of the problem and service needed  – such as Ambulance, Civil Defense or Police – and the name of the user and the address, and the injuries or deaths if any, and then contacting the police.
  • Emailing [email protected]

eCASH Card

The MOI will only accept credit, debit and eCASH cards as payment for many services including visas, residence permit applications and renewals, payment of fines.

The eCASH Card is a non-personalised prepaid card, obtainable from Qatar National Bank (QNB), which can be used to pay for such fees at ministries and government departments displaying the eCASH symbol. To purchase the card you need to show your ID card, or if you are a non-resident, your passport.

Features:

  • Valid for two years
  • No bank account needed
  • Reloading facility
  • Refundable credit in case of card loss or cancellation
  • Available to visitors and residents
  • Check balances and reload at any QNB ATM.

Cost: One-off issuance fee of QAR20 • Reload with a minimum of QAR50.

Issuing counters at:

Traffic Department branches: Madinat Khalifa (HQ), Al Maamoura, E Ring Road/Matar Qadeem.

Immigration Department branches: Al Gharrafa, the Industrial Area, Hamad International Airport, Al Wakra and Al Khor.

eCASH cards are not personalised so it is essential to report your lost or stolen card as soon as possible. To report any suspicious transaction not initiated by yourself, call your bank, some of which have dedicated fraud lines.

Useful Documents/Processing

You need to prove your identity in Qatar for all government and commercial transactions, so have plenty of:

  • Passport-size photos and several copies of the passport of each family member.
  • Copies of your marriage (attested) and birth certificates.
  • Original educational qualifications (copies are not accepted), which will need to be authenticated in your country of origin, along with a Bonafide Certificate.

Translating a document: The official language in Qatar is Arabic. Each page of each document must bear the translation firm’s official stamp for it to be considered valid.

  • Asia Translation and Services Centre 4444 0943
  • Qatar Translation Centre              4443 5354

Translations Studio provides professional translation, proofreading and editing in all languages. Contact Yvonne Ikram (appointed translator by EU Law), translations-studio.com

Mandoub: Most organisations offer help to their employees on arrival and have a government liaison officer (mandoub) who is responsible for completing much of the official documentation.

Government Services Complex: There are government service complexes across the country – Al Wakra, Al Daayen, Al Sheehaniya, Mesaimeer, Onaiza, Al Zubara, Al Hilal (C-Ring Road), Al Rayyan and Umm Salal and The Pearl-Qatar. Sun to Thu 7:30 am – 1 pm/3 pm – 7 pm, Fri and Sat closed. Call the Government Contact Center at 109 for more information.

The complex provides services of six ministries and government entities, namely: Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs; Justice; Commerce and Industry; Foreign Affairs; Education and Higher Education; and Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa).

The Qatar Labour Law – Kafala

The relationship between an employer and employee is regulated by the Qatar Labour Law. A copy of this can be downloaded via Hukoomi or read on qatarlaborlaw.com/qatar-labor-law, qatarlaborlaw.com/amendments

In October 2019, Prime Minister and the Minister of Interior HE Abdullah bin Nasir bin Khalifa Al Thani announced Qatar’s move to abolish the system, which is expected to enter into force in January 2020, marking the end of an employee sponsorship system.

Sponsorship: All expatriate workers in Qatar require sponsorship and employees can only work for others with their sponsor’s written permission. Qatar in 2015–16 adopted changes to its kafala sponsorship system, which makes it easier to switch jobs and leave the country. The new law updates the existing Law No 4 of 2009 Regarding Regulation of the Expatriates’ Entry, Departure, Residence and Sponsorship.

It is also illegal for sponsors to keep their employees’ passport and travel documents after the visa formalities are over.
Sponsor fine: not less than QAR10,000.

Working hours: A 48-hour week is the maximum allowed under Qatar Labour Law without overtime pay. Government offices and many private companies have a two-day weekend on Friday and Saturday, although a one-day holiday on Friday is still common in the private sector.

Hours of business: Government offices tend to work a single shift 7 am – 2 pm; private companies may work a single shift or split morning/late afternoon shifts with longer hours.

Contract: Three copies of the employment contract should be signed by both parties. The employer and employee each retain a copy, the third copy is kept at the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs after verifying it.

End of service benefits: Employees completing a period of continuous service for more than one year are entitled to an end of service benefit on the termination or expiry of the contract of employment. This is mandatory in the current labour law, effective from January 2005.

Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs C Ring Road including a Women’s Section. There is also an office on Street 13/ Al Kasarat St in the Industrial Area. 4028 8888

Workplace Disputes The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani issued Law No 13 of 2017 amending some provisions of the Labour Law and forming the Labour Dispute Resolution Committee. All labour disputes are received through the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs to resolve disputes. The maximum period for reviewing the disputes before the committee is one month, including the time for any potential appeal.

In August 2017, HH the Amir ratified Law No 15 on service workers in the home (Domestic Workers Law). The cabinet adopted the law in February 2018. The law guarantees workers a maximum 10-hour workday, a weekly rest day, three weeks of annual leave, and an end-of-service payment of at least three weeks per year.

Labour Relations Department: File your complaint within one year of the event with the section for workers’ rights and grievances.
4028 8888

Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs: Has its own dedicated 24-hour confidential hotline number for its own employees who have employment grievances.

National Human Rights Committee in Qatar: Protects and consolidates human rights of all, subject to the jurisdiction of Qatar. 4404 8844, hotline 6662 6663, nhrc-qa.org

Register at your Embassy

All nationals working or residing in Qatar are advised to contact their country’s embassy to register or subscribe to its services.

Residence/Work Permits

Expatriate workers must have a residence permit for themselves and each member of their family unless they fall into exempted categories.. You need a Qatari sponsor to obtain a residence work permit enabling you to sponsor your family.

Work residence permit: QAR1,260 per year (QAR1,000 annual fee, QAR100 for the ID card, QAR100 for the Labour Department paperwork costs, QAR60 for validation stamps). Work Residence Permits are renewed each year by the expatriate’s employer. It is usually the sponsor’s responsibility to deal with all the paperwork and to pay the annual fee at the Immigration Department in Al Gharrafa, the Industrial Area or Mesaimeer. Families residing in Al Wakra and Al Khor should apply locally.

Register as a working woman: (On husband’s sponsorship) QAR500 per year. Women on family sponsorship can work in Qatar without a separate residence work permit by obtaining a licence from the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs, Women’s Section. When you have been offered a job, the company must obtain an application form from the Labour Department and submit it with the following:

  • Three original copies of your employment contract (QAR60 for authentication).
  • A no objection letter (NOC) signed by the family sponsor giving his consent for you to work.
  • Originals and photocopies of passports and ID for you and your family sponsor.
  • Originals and photocopies of all your relevant academic and professional qualifications.
  • A certificate of good conduct from the MOI.
  • Copy of your resignation letter from your previous employment (if applicable).
  • A photograph and fees.

Payment: Via credit card or eCash card from Qatar National Bank (QNB) sold on or near the premises.

Family residence permit: Spouse and child over 18 – QAR500 per year, child under 18 – QAR400. Every member of the family residing in Qatar, including babies, must have an individual family residence permit. Holders of residence work permits can sponsor their immediate family (spouse and children) if they earn over QAR10,000 a month. Workers are allowed to sponsor their sons under 25 years of age who have not completed university studies and unmarried daughters of any age. The sponsorship law allows women in independent jobs to sponsor their husband and children (conditions apply).

The General Directorate of Passports is in the process of introducing new procedures that will enable people to submit their family residency applications electronically and online via the Hukoomi website, Metrash 2 and the internal services system.

Documents required: NOC and salary certificate from employer; copies of passports of family members; attested marriage, birth and degree certificates (as required); copy of electricity bill; six months worth of bank statements; stamped and registered accomodation lease. Final approval of the residence permit depends on the decision of the recruitment committee.

Check gov.qa in case of changes.

Domestic staff residence permit: QAR300 per year (on personal sponsorship). Any resident wishing to employ domestic staff (maid or driver) in Qatar must first get an NOC from his sponsor. Employees must have a minimum salary and be married with a resident working spouse in Qatar (proof of which is required). Fill in the application form at your local Immigration Department. There are sometimes restrictions on the nationality you can employ so check before you start the process.

Recruiting privately: Obtain the visa yourself for domestic staff (or use the office mandoub), register a contract with the Qatari Labour Department and complete any paperwork with the national’s embassy in Qatar. You must then go through an official recruitment agency to complete the entry process. Domestic workers in Qatar earn an average of QAR1,500 a month.

Requirements and regulations are subject to change so please check when applying.

Recruitment agencies: These have a list of staff for you to choose from and will complete all the formalities for you.

Medical Procedures For Residence Permits

Qatar makes it mandatory for workers from several Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries to submit a health certificate before their entry into the country. You must complete these procedures before you can get a residence work permit or family residency:

Blood-type certificate: This can be obtained from any clinic for both adults and children. You must have this certificate before going for your medical test.

Medical test: This includes a blood test (not to be confused with blood type) and a chest X-ray, for adults only, carried out by the Medical Commission in Abu Hamour, 4467 9111. Cost QAR100. Alternatively the service can be provided at Al Ahli Hospital, Doha Clinic, Al Emadi Hospital or American Hospital Doha. moph.gov.qa

Fingerprinting: A few days after completing the medical test, only adults need to go for electronic fingerprinting. Headquarters are at Salwa Road (by the Industrial Area Interchange), open Sunday to Thursday 6:30 am – 5:30 pm, 234 6666. Other service centres are located in Al Khor, Al Shamal, Duhail, the Industrial Area and Mesaimeer. Large organisations can ask the MOI’s mobile unit to fingerprints on site.

Collecting Residence Card: Usually ready after three days to one week; collect from the issuing office, Immigration Department, Al Gharrafa, 4489 0333. The Residence Permit sticker in the passport has been abolished and replaced by an all-encompassing Residence Card, also held by children.

Renew a Residence Card

Your sponsor must renew your residence work permit, but you can renew your family’s residence permits.

Qatar Post’s e-Resident online service: You can renew your Residence Permit and passport with an optional home delivery service via Metrash 2 and Qatar Post. To apply at Qatar Post, get ID Card application forms at the General Post Office in Al Dafna; the form must be completed and signed by both applicant and sponsor. Submit with a valid passport, ID, one photo and the relevant fee, either to the Post Office or Immigration Department. Cost: Spouse or child over 18 years – QAR500; child under 18 years – QAR300; domestic staff – QAR300. Additional charges apply for the renewal of the ID card and processing fees – QAR20. Call Centre 104, qatarpost.qa

Renew online: Fill out the required information via the online application form. Select renewal period (from one to three years). Select delivery option and pay the appropriate fees. gov.qa

The MOI currently has Self-service Machines (SSMs) at 15 locations including the main post office, Landmark Mall, Villaggio Mall, Royal Plaza, Hamad International Airport, Lulu Hypermarket – D Ring Road, Ministry of Interior headquarters, MOI Services building at Mesaimeer, MOI Traffic Department, Police Training Institute, Education City Health Club, and MOI administrative building. Visit hukoomi.qa for details of all locations. Users, both individuals and licensed company representatives, can renew certain residence cards, collect exit permits, pay traffic violations, check expiry dates of passports, visas, driving licences and more.

The MOI has added two new services to its website and mobile app Metrash 2. New services include issuing and reactivating the Residency Permit (RP). The issuing and reactivation of an RP require the completion of a medical test. To issue a new RP, fingerprinting is necessary.

Exit Permits

The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani signed Law No 13 of 2018 (Amending Law) in September 2018, amending certain provisions of Law No 21 of 2015 that required all migrant workers getting permission from their employers before leaving Qatar. The amended law, which came into effect on 28 October 2018, allows most migrant workers covered by the Labour Law to leave the country without having to obtain an exit permit.

However, this amended law does not cover all workers, such as domestic workers and those working in the military or government institutions. Qatar is already working on getting a ministerial decree to grant domestic workers the same rights.

In September 2018, the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (MADLSA) announced that employers may submit names of up to 5% of its employees who will continue to require exit permits. Companies need to upload the list of such employees on the MADLSA website. MADLSA will then move those lists to the Ministry of Interior. Employers are not required to seek an employee’s consent prior to including a name on the list.

Wives and dependent children under the sponsorship of their husbands or fathers do not require an exit visa.

The Expat Exit Grievance Committee remains in place to accept complaints from workers prevented from leaving the country for any reason. Until advised otherwise, the following fees remain in place for those who still require an exit permit:

Multiple use exit permits for expatriates: Valid for one year – QAR500.

Exit permit for those sponsored by companies or organisations: Valid for one week – No charge.

Exit permit for those on personal sponsorship: Valid for one week – No charge.

Electronic exit permits: Government agencies and private companies can now issue exit permits electronically through an authorised signatory within seconds using the eGovernment website, gov.qa. Sponsors can issue the permit via the internet and their mobile phones worldwide.

Manually processed exit permits: Many smaller organisations still process exit permits by hand. The mandoub is licensed as a company representative to obtain this on your behalf. Paperwork must be signed by your sponsor and bear the company stamp.

Permits must be presented, along with your passport, at the Immigration counter at Departures.

Overstay fines: Check gov.qa for current fees.

Online visa/permit information Detailed information about all types of visas and visa applications in English can be found online at Hukoomi, gov.qa, or at the MOI website, moi.gov.qa

eGate The MOI has activated free eGate service for expatriate passengers at the arrivals and departures terminal of Hamad International Airport (HIA).

Expatriates and their children above 18 years of age can avail of the service using their residence cards or passports after registration at the airport. Nineteen e-gates have been installed at the departures terminal and 16 e-gates at the arrivals terminal.

The new service comes under the ‘smart passengers’ project inaugurated by the Prime Minister and Interior Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani in early 2017.         

Residence Cards

Identity cards are compulsory for all residents of Qatar, including children, with a work or family residence permit. It is issued after the formalities for residence permits are completed and can be used instead of your passport for all transactions in Qatar. Carry your card with you at all times.

Also known as a Residency Permit (RP), the card bears your name, nationality, date of birth, occupation, an ID number and its validity. Containing personal data of the holder, the card also bears your passport number, passport expiry date, residency type, sponsor’s name, signature and more. The cards also have electronic chips for storing personal and biometric data. You will be required to present your card every time you enter and exit the country. It will also be accepted at airlines/airports around the world as the official document to prove residence in Qatar.

Health-Related Services

Health Cards

To access the government healthcare system and facilities – which you may need to use even with private insurance – it is essential to apply for a health card. This can be issued only after you obtain a residence permit. Babies under one year receive free vaccinations and medical treatment under the state healthcare system. Cash is not accepted for payment at Primary Health Care Centres (PHCC) – only a valid debit or credit card or payment card obtainable from QNB.

Application

The State of Qatar guarantees health services to all citizens and residents in government medical institutions through a health card system. The system provides the cardholder with a medical record file containing all his/her medical data saved in the nearest health care centre. You can renew your health card online, or replace a lost or damaged card.

Process Citizens and residents of Qatar may apply for a health card to access services at any of the Hamad Medical Corporation’s healthcare facilities or hospitals. It contains your ID number, nationality, photo and date of issue. To obtain a health card, visit PHCC nearest to where you live. There you need to fill out the appropriate forms. You will be issued a PHCC health file number. The health centre will either issue you with your card immediately or ask you to return within a few days to collect it. Health cards are issued during morning working hours only. Call 107 or 16067 for more information. hamad.qa, phcc.qa

Cost Qatari and other GCC adult residents and children QAR50; non-Qatari adult residents and children QAR100. If you lose your health card but it is still valid, Qatari nationals will need to pay QAR50 for a replacement, non-Qataris QAR100.

If you lose your health card and it has expired Qatari nationals will need to pay QAR100 for a replacement, non-Qataris QAR200. You must pay using a credit card. No cash is accepted.

Renew or replace your Health Card through Hukoomi via these simple steps, gov.qa

  • Load the online application.
  • Enter your ID number. Choose to renew, or ‘Reprint’ if you wish to replace your lost or damaged Health Card.
  • Choose your preferred delivery option.
  • Pay appropriate fees online.

Private Medical Insurance

Some companies provide their employees with free health insurance (but this may be tied to using a local private hospital) or you can arrange your own. Many of the larger private clinics have various options, including family packages. The government is currently working towards making private health insurance mandatory.

Medical, Home and Life insurance

  • Arabia Insurance                                    4442 2682
  • AXA Insurance                                         4483 2995
  • Insure Direct                                            4040 9414
  • Libano-Suisse                                          4466 4406
  • MetLife Alico                                            4440 5444
  • Qatar Insurance Company (QIC)        4496 2222

Vaccination

Vaccinations for overseas travel, for visitors to Qatar, and childhood immunisation are all available from the Vaccination Unit at Mesaimeer Health Centre off Wholesale Market St, 4406 4222. The Communicable Disease Centre in Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City operates the Travel Clinic where people can go for vaccinations and health advice before travelling. Vaccinations are by appointment only, 4025 4003. Some Primary Health Care Centers offer travel immunisation as well. Call 107 for more information.

Leave a Reply