Monday, April 12, 2010

GCC residents apply for a visa prior to arrival in Qatar - new Qatari visa regulations

A consular official at the Qatari consulate in Dubai has confirmed  that all expatriate GCC residents will have to apply for a visa prior to arrival in Qatar, as part of new rules being enacted by the emirate from May 1.
But only fourteen working days before the new regulations come into force, a number of key details are still unclear.
The official said that application process for a visa would take “two to three days” and that he was not aware of any professions that were exempted from the regulations.
He also said that he had “no idea” as to the cost of the fees for processing the application.
British and American citizens will be among the nationals of 33 countries that will have to apply for a visa prior to arrival in Qatar, according to a statement posted on the website of Qatar’s embassy in the UK last Thursday.
The regulations also mean that all passengers wishing to travel to Qatar for business purposes will need to have their visas arranged by a local sponsor, via the Ministry of Interior.
Qatar’s Ministry of Interior had no comment . It is still unclear as to why the changes are being introduced.
A British embassy consular official in Doha told  on Sunday that no information, other than what was on the Qatari embassy in the UK’s website, had been made available.
But fears that other GCC countries - including the UAE - would follow Qatar’s lead appear to be unfounded.