How to Obtain Permanent Residence in Qatar

How to Obtain Permanent Residence in Qatar

Qatar is doing a great deal to attract foreign investors and highly qualified specialists. Only a few years ago tourists even found it hard to enter the country. However, recently, Qatar hosted the World Cup, demonstrating the country’s appeal and simplified the requirements for the entry of foreigners into the country. However, as Qatar is a Muslim country, you need to be ready for a number of restrictions and specifics. But how to get Qatar permanent residency? Anyone who wants to settle here should bear in mind that in most cases the path to permanent residence will be long. We will present here all that you need to know about obtaining a permanent residence permit and how to apply for permanent residency in Qatar.

Residence Permits in Qatar

In which case one can get a Qatar residence permit? Qatar provides several types of residence permits which enable foreign nationals to live and work legally in the country. The most common options:

  • Working residence permit. It is granted to foreign nationals who receive an official job offer from a Qatari employer. To obtain a working residence permit, you need a contract, confirmation of your education and work experience.
  • Residence permit for family reunification (Family Residence Permit). It is granted to close relatives (spouses or children) of the main applicant – a Qatari citizen or resident. To obtain a residence permit in the country, you will need to confirm your close family relations (the marriage must be registered officially).
  • Investment residence permit. In Qatar, a residence permit can also be obtained for investments in the country’s economy. For example, you can choose real estate as your investment and get a Qatar golden visa.

Regarding the first two types, you will only be able to obtain a temporary residence permit at first, and then replace it with a permanent resident permit. The employer should initiate the process for the issue of both temporary and permanent work residence permits: the employer acts as the sponsor and proves the importance of the expat’s competencies for the country.

How to get PR in Qatar via investments? You can obtain a permanent residence permit immediately if the amount of the investments in the local economy is big enough. For example, the threshold for real estate investments is set at a minimum of USD 1 million.

What are the Qatar residency requirements? To obtain a residence permit in Qatar, you will need to provide a certificate of good standing from the previous country of permanent residence and undergo a medical check-up. This includes, for instance, a chest X-ray, a blood test for HIV and other infections. If the HIV test comes back positive, the residence permit will be refused, and the applicant will be deported.

How long can be your residency in Qatar? A residence permit in Qatar is issued primarily for a period of one to three years. It can be renewed online.

Doha. Photo: Levi Meir Clancy (Unsplash)

How to Obtain a Permanent Residence Permit in Qatar

In all cases, except for large investments, the expat first receives a temporary residence permit. The requirements for obtaining permanent residence in Qatar are stringent.

Let's discuss Qatar permanent residency requirements. Anyone who was not born in Qatar will need to live in the country on a temporary residence permit for at least 20 years. In the case of anyone born in Qatar who left the country for some reason, this period is 10 years.

In addition, the expat will be required to provide evidence that they can support themself and have no criminal record in Qatar and in the country of previous residence. You will also have to demonstrate your fluency in Arabic.

Is there anybody who has Qatar permanent residency eligibility without requirements? A number of applicants are exempt from these requirements:

  • the children of naturalised Qataris,
  • the children of Qatari women who are married to the citizen of another country,
  • the spouses of Qatari citizens,
  • foreigners who have been of great use for the state,
  • highly qualified specialists with special competencies needed by the state..

Consequently, the fastest way to obtain a permanent residence permit in Qatar is through  kinship, investment or special merit. In all other cases, getting permanent visa for Qatar will take 20 years.

National Museum of Qatar. Photo: Kc Mwambeta (Unsplash)

Obtaining Permanent Residence in Qatar

  1. Preparation of the paperwork. The first thing that you need to do to obtain permanent residence in Qatar. You will need to collect documents confirming your identity and the duration of your stay in the country, education, work experience, solvency (depending on the type of your current residence permit).
  2. Application. Documents and questionnaires for obtaining a permanent residence permit in Qatar must be submitted to the Ministry of the Interior or the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (depending on the type of residence permit). For instance, only an individual or legal entity registered with the local employment office can apply for a work residence permit. In fact, the employer acts as the expatriate’s guarantor. The application may also be submitted online through the link provided on the public services website or via the Metrash2 app.
  3. Application processing. It will take about four weeks for the authorities to consider the application and the submitted documents. You will not be able to leave the country during that period. The authorities may contact the applicant and request additional information and paperwork. In that case, more time will be needed to process the application.
  4. Notice on the decision. In case of a positive decision, the expat will be granted a residence permit in Qatar. If the decision is negative, the official notice will indicate the reasons for the refusal. You can try to file an appeal or submit another set of documents that will help you strengthen the application.

Documents Required to Obtain a  Permanent Residence Permit in Qatar

What are the document requirements for permanent residency in Qatar? The set of documents is contingent to a large consent on the type of permanent residence permit that the applicant is seeking to obtain. This could be an employment contract with a local employer, documents confirming family ties with a Qatari resident, or proof of investment in the country's economy in accordance with the government’s requirements. To obtain a family and investment residence permit, an expatriate will also need to confirm that they can support themselves and their family.

Regardless of the reason, long-term residence in Qatar requires you to:

  • indicate your Qatari ID,
  • pay the state fee of USD 824,
  • be fluent in Arabic.

Applicants should be aware that Qatar sets an annual permanent residence quota. If the quota has been met, you will have to wait until next year.

Doha. Photo: Lukhmanul Hakeem (Unsplash)

Advantages of a Permanent Residence Permit in Qatar

What does permanent residency in Qatar give for expats? A permanent residence permit allows you to live and work in Qatar, and participate in the local economy. Holders of permanent residence permits also have access to education and healthcare. You can also apply for social benefits, in particular, for pension programmes.

Qatar permanent residency visa holders can register companies in various sectors of the economy without the mandatory participation of Qatari co-investors. Some sectors of the economy are only accessible to Qatari citizens.

And how to get citizenship in Qatar? Going to the next level and obtaining Qatari citizenship is difficult. To apply, you must have lived legally in the country for at least 25 consecutive years.

Permanent Residence Permit in Qatar in Exchange for Investments

It used to be very hard to obtain a permanent residence permit in Qatar. For instance, you needed a Qatari citizen to vouch for you. This requirement has now been abolished. Moreover, in order to attract foreign investment into Qatari real estate, in 2011 the national authorities allowed foreign citizens to buy houses and flats in 25 districts of the country, mainly around the capital city. In nine of these zones, you can buy real estate on a freehold basis (i.e., obtain full ownership), in the remainder you can buy real estate on a leasehold basis (you are entitled to use the property for up to 99 years).

So, how to obtain Qatar permanent residency by investment? The required amount of investments in real estate depends on the status that the foreigner is seeking. In exchange for an investment of USD 200,000 in real estate, you can get a "golden visa" for five years with the possibility of an extension. Meanwhile, in exchange for an investment of USD 1 million you will be eligible for a permanent residence permit, which gives you access to free schools and healthcare.

The holder of permanent residence through investments can bring their family to Qatar. The application can include a spouse, children under the age of 18, or up to 25 years if they are still in education and depend on their parents.

Doha. Photo: Visit Qatar (Unsplash)

In a Nutshell

All in all, who has eligibility for permanent residency in Qatar? Permanent residence permits are available in Qatar to foreign citizens who want to work in the country, reunite with their families, or are willing to invest in the local economy. If an expatriate is not a close relative of a Qatari or an investor, their journey to permanent residency can take 20 years and at least 25 years to get citizenship. A permanent residence permit grants the holder access to free education and healthcare, as well as business opportunities in this Middle Eastern country.

Cover photo: Doha, ekrem osmanoglu (Unsplash)

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