Qatar is particularly strict in allowing foreigners to work in their country due to the kafala sponsorship system which ties the employee to the employer. The rules governing the employment of workers are under law No. 14 of 2004 of the Labor Law administered by the Labor Department of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

Any foreign national who wishes to work in Qatar will have to obtain a work residency permit which functions as the combination of residence and Qatar work visa. They impose tight regulations in acquiring work visas because they prefer to hire Qatari workers more than non-Qatari workers. Whether you are working for a company or planning to build a business, complying with their imposed regulations is necessary to avoid inconveniences.

With the huge risks you are taking in establishing a work residency in Qatar, there is also a huge return of investment and attainment of rich experiences. Thus, it is only natural for them to have strict guidelines in accepting foreigners into their country.

Do you need to have a working visa in Qatar?

Application for a work visa in Qatar could be a smooth-sailing journey if you already have the important documents needed to be processed. This could save a lot of time and effort so one must be prepared in advance. Make a checklist of the necessary papers and forms required for the application to be submitted. Be diligent and patient in processing the documents as it will take a lot of time to be approved.

What are the requirements to apply for a work visa in Qatar?

A work visa for Qatar must be filed within seven working days upon the arrival of the employee in Qatar. It should be noted this can only be done after the establishment of the employment arrangement between the sponsor and the employee. Before this, a medical certificate indicating the employee is healthy must be earned. The employee can take a medical test at a government-approved hospital. The employee must bring a copy of his/her passport, employment visa, four passport-sized pictures, and money for the medical fees.

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Steps on Applying for a Work Visa in Qatar

1. Registration of Business with the Immigration Department

It all starts with the employer or the company. The first step is to register the company with the Immigration Department of the General Directorate of Borders, Passports, and Expatriate Affairs at the Ministry of Interior for the application of a Qatar work visa. Upon obtaining of immigration card, the employer is required to be the sponsor of the expatriate. Aside from the Immigration Card, a Representative Card must also be attained so the expatriate can represent the said company when dealing with the Immigration Department and Ministry of Labor. The required documents can be inquired in the MOI Services of the Ministry of Interior website.

2. Wait to be approved by the Ministry of Labor

Before any hiring of expatriates, the employer must apply for the approval of the Ministry of Labor for the number of work permits that will be released to these workers. A block visa application is done which the Labor Department will consider first. Documents including the completed application form in Arabic, the total number of expatriates to be employed, the position of each employee, and the nationalities of the employees are needed to be submitted to the Ministry of Labor. This is due to the Qatarization laws that value the welfare first of the Qatari nationals over foreigners in terms of employment.

3. Acquisition of employment visas

Another responsibility of the employer is to obtain employment visas for each employee they wished to be hired before he/she arrived in Qatar. One alternative to get into Qatar is a visit visa. However, work must not commence until the applicant acquires his/her employment visa that must be processed by the worker’s sponsor. To obtain the employment visa, the employer or the worker’s sponsors must submit the following documents: completed application form in Arabic language, copy of the Commercial Registration of the business, immigration card of the business, copy of a valid employment contract between the work sponsor and employee, copy of the employee’s passport, and four (4) passport-size pictures.

Once the employment visa is obtained, the employee must send a copy to their sponsor and must bring the original upon arrival to Qatar. The employment visas are normally valid for one to five years.

4. Processing of work permit

Once these are all settled, the employee is ought to submit the following documents to their employer: an accomplished application form from the Ministry of Labor, an employment contract, a medical certificate, a copy of the Commercial Registration of the business, an immigration card of the business, two passport-sized photos of the employee, an employment visa, significant educational certificates and documents; and biometric fingerprints test.

5. Processing residence permit

Aside from the work visa for Qatar, the residence permit is equally important if you want to work in Qatar. Once the employment visa and work permit gained approval and the copies were already sent to the employee, the expatriates can now travel to Qatar to collect the visa and important documents from the airport. Also, a medical check-up and biometric scans must be taken. The residence permit application will now proceed which means the work entry visa will be converted into a residence permit.

As per Law No. 14 of 2004 in the Labor Law, the Labor Department must approve a dual language (English and Arabic) contract. The applicant’s employment documents should be submitted for the application, otherwise, other relevant documents like bank statements can also be an alternative.

To summarize getting a Qatar work visa, the employer must submit to the Ministry of Labor the following documents: an accomplished Residence Permit application (both in Arabic and English); an original medical certificate; a copy of the immigration card of the business; a copy of the Commercial Registration of the business; two passport-sized photos of the employee; an original employee’s passport; an original employment visa; and a sponsor’s passport if the employer is an individual.

6. Working in Qatar

Once all of the above has been accomplished and processed, the employee may work under the employer until their contract terminates, which can be renewed every few years depending on the case.


We hope that this article on how to get a work visa for Qatar was helpful! If you’re interested in studying abroad, make sure to check out the Available Programs for International Students!

About the Author: Hyun Lee

Hi! I am Hyun, and I am the founder at Global Scholarships. I've received a full-tuition scholarship at Birmingham-Southern College and a $1,000 Burger King Scholarship for my undergraduate degree and was offered a fully funded scholarship consisting of tuition, living stipend, and health insurance for computer science Ph.D. program at North Carolina State University. You can read more about my scholarship journey here. If you are interested, you can follow me on Linkedin where I regularly write about scholarship opportunities.

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