Relocating to Qatar
All expatriates who receive an employment offer in Qatar are required to obtain a work permit to be able to work in Qatar, which is issued by their employer. Getting a work permit is a 3-step process as follows:
Step 1: Employer issues an entry visa for the employee to enter Qatar. This is typically called a "work" visa or "work" permit.
Step 2: Once the new employee arrives in Qatar, they must undergo medical screening & fingerprinting process within 1st 2 weeks after arrival in Qatar.
Step 3: Based on successful completion of step 2 and receipt of home country police clearance, the "work" visa is converted to a wallet-sized Qatar ID card and issued to the new employee.
VCUarts Qatar will assist the new employee with the relocation process. In order to initiate the visa process, the following documents must be provided to the Office of Human Resources.
Clear copy of your valid passport (valid for at least 6 months from the date of entry to Qatar)
Clear passport copies of your spouse, and children (if you are relocating to Qatar with your family)
Authenticated copy of your highest educational qualification certificate
Up-to-date Curriculum Vitae
Authenticated copy of your marriage certificate (if the employee is relocating with his/ her spouse)
Copies of your children's birth certificates (if relocating to Qatar with family)
Digital passport size photos for you and your family (non-white background with standard size of 4.8 x3.8 cm)
Copy of you and your dependent’s blood group certificates (it could be any official document that indicates your blood type)
Police Clearance Certificate
The Police Clearance Certificate, sometimes referred to as a Good Conduct Certificate or a Criminal Record Check for Overseas Employment is a requirement of the State of Qatar for all expatriates intending to work in Qatar.
The Police Clearance Certificate sometimes referred to as a "Good Conduct Certificate" or a "Criminal Record Check" for Overseas Employment is a requirement of the State of Qatar for all expatriates intending to work in Qatar. All expatriates must apply for this document from their country of citizenship/residence before the entry visa can be converted to a Qatar ID card after arrival in Qatar.
The police clearance certificate should be attested by the following authorities in the U.S.:
- Notarization from a notary public in your county/ province followed by certification from your state)
- The notarized document and fingerprinting card must be authenticated by the U.S. Department of State & legalized by the Qatar Embassy in D.C.
The police clearance certificate should be attested by the following authorities in their home country:
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home country
- Embassy of Qatar in your home country.
The Manager of Immigration & Government Affairs will guide you through the process and offer you assistance throughout.
Important Note: Once you accept the offer of employment, you are advised to start your police clearance procedures immediately. Any delay in receipt of your police clearance document will delay the issuance of your Qatar ID card.
Documents to be carried to Doha
- Blood group certificate (which specifies your blood type – this can be obtained from your health care provider or any clinic nearest to your place of residence). This is required at the time of your medical screening, which is the 1st step after you arrive in Qatar. Please click here for details.
- Original authenticated/ legalized educational certificate (if it is not already sent to HR-VCUarts Qatar through an authentication agency)
- Original authenticated/legalized marriage license (if applicable). This is required if your spouse plans to accompany you soon after you receive your Qatari ID card. Click here for more information.
- Home country driver’s license. Licenses from certain countries can be automatically converted to a Qatari driver’s license without the need for a road test. Please click here for more information.
- International driver’s license (apply for the relevant authorities from your country of residence). If you intend to drive a rental vehicle as soon as you arrive in Qatar, a valid international driving license can be used after you arrive in Qatar until your Qatar ID card is issued.
- Medical history records (in case you have any specific medical condition). You may also want to visit the Ministry of Public Health website to get an idea of similar medicines provided in Qatar. If you require medications that are not available in Qatar, we recommend that you bring at least 3 to 6 months of medication along with a doctor’s prescription, which may need to be shown at the Hamad International Airport upon arrival.
- Ensure to include an itemized packing list for the personal items you will be shipping to Qatar. It should be addressed in your name, in order for the package to be cleared through Qatar customs. Kindly ensure that you are not carrying prohibited items as per the Qatar customs regulations. For more information, you can click here.
- Original birth certificates and medical records/immunization forms for your children (if applicable).
If you are relocating with your family
If you are planning to relocate to Qatar with your spouse and children, it is important to note the following and plan accordingly.
- The employee must obtain their Qatar ID before they can bring their spouse and/or children on a permanent visa. Please note that the process of getting your Qatar ID can take as long as 1-2 months.
- You may bring your spouse and/or children on a tourist visa, which is valid for 2 months (please check this link: visa on arrival for eligibility criteria). In order to extend the visa beyond 2 months, your dependent(s) must leave the country (most people go to a nearby country for a few hours or one day) and return on a new tourist visa. This is a personal choice and will be treated as a personal expense and will not be paid by VCUarts Qatar.
- Schools require a Qatar ID for each child before they can accept/enroll children for the academic year. Although VCUarts Qatar will cover child tuition once the acceptance letter for the child is submitted, the school has the authority to defer enrollment into their academic year until they receive the child’s Qatar ID.
In addition to shipping personal belongings, you may decide to pay the excess baggage charge and bring them with you. The airline can provide information about the cost of this option. Airfreight is the recommended method to ship your personal belongings to and from Qatar. Upon receiving a shipment in Qatar, you will be contacted by the Customs Department located in the airport. You may have to pay certain customs taxes (5% tariff) and duties before taking receipt of your belongings. Remember to make sure that your shipment arrives after you, because it is impossible to clear without the owner’s passport.
Note: Importing Regulations
Qatari law prohibits the importation of certain items into the country, such as alcohol, narcotics, pork products, firearms, insecticides, and cleaning preparations that include lye, chlorine, ammonia, jewelry, furs, and silverware, fragile accessories, or anything deemed pornographic by Qatari authorities. While importation of religious material for personal use is acceptable, importation of religious material for the purpose of proselytizing is not.
DVDs must be accompanied by a list of titles including synopsis, actors, and running times. Make an itemized list of each container, this will assist Qatari customs with the clearance of your items.
The State of Qatar recognizes the American Academy of Pediatric standards for immunizations. All schools will require a copy of your child’s immunization records. Bring an original copy with a medical stamp on it. For further information consult the Department of Health and Human Service’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/qatar
Not all prescription drugs are available in Doha. To check on the availability of your medicine, visit the Approved Medication by Supreme Council of Health or contact VCUQatar's Director of Human Resources. You may be able to purchase a one-year supply of medication from your local pharmacy with approval through your insurance carrier in the States. The cost of medication depends on the prescription, but usually, the cost is cheaper than your US co-pay.
Importing your pet to Qatar
All pets entering Qatar require an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture. Cats with proper documentation are allowed to enter with no difficulty, but some breeds of dogs, especially large dogs, are not admitted. Be aware that even with the proper paperwork, the Qatari agricultural authorities can quarantine your pet for up to 30 days at your expense. Application forms for import permits may be obtained from the Qatar Ministry of Agriculture through the Liaison & Housing Officer in VCUQatar. A copy of the pet's health certificate and vaccination record must be submitted with the application. Within 10 days of your departure, the pet’s good health must be certified by a veterinarian on a U.S. Interstate and International Certificate of Health Examination for Small Animals form. Commercially made pet food is available in most supermarkets.
Consult your airline’s website for information about pet carriers and costs for reserving a place for your pet on the aircraft.
The following regulations are of importance as they may stop the relocation plans for your pet, please read carefully:
Is your pet too young?
Qatar does not permit the import of pets that are too young to be administered a rabies vaccination. This means that your pet needs to be at least 4 months old; as your pet can be vaccinated at three months, though 30 days must elapse prior to import. Similarly, the vaccination cannot be older than 12 months.
Is your pet a prohibited breed?
If your dog features on this list (or is a cross-breed, with any mentioned on this list) – please notify us separately, as additional requirements apply and will need to be addressed as a special case:
* Rott Weiler * Bull Dog
* Pug * Doberman
* Boxer * Great Dane
* The Shar Pei * Japanese Akita
* Staffordshire Bull-Terrier * American Staffordshire Terrier
* Bull-Terrier * Boston Terrier
* Neapolitan Mastiff * Boer Boel
* Afghan Hound
Your pet may be quarantined:
Should your pet arrive with incorrect, incomplete, or inaccurate documentation – quarantine may be appropriate.
Your pet can travel in two ways
This method of travel is when your pet(s) travels alongside you on the day of departure to the airport and is checked in (with prior notification to the airline) at the baggage check-in area; you will then pay the excess baggage rate per kilogram for your pet. This method of travel is offered at the airline's sole discretion; therefore you need prior acceptance of 'Live Animals' accompanying you.
Traveling as a 'Cargo Manifest' means that your pet will be traveling as an unaccompanied shipment. Therefore, your pet will NOT be checked in with your luggage, but rather is checked in at the airports Cargo Terminal / Section several hours before the time of departure. Your pet will then be handled with care by the airline representatives on which your pet shall travel. As with all cargo shipments, all associated documentation and security procedures will be required.
Important Note: The specific procedures for this method vary from country to country, therefore please check with your airline and airport for country-specific requirements.
- Clear copy of vaccination record(s) – In-Date: (e.g. Administered within the last year)
- For DOGS: Showing Vaccinations for: “RABIES”; “DISTEMPER”; “LEPTOSPIRA”.
- For CATS: Showing Vaccinations for: “RABIES”; “TRI-CAT” (TRI-CAT ALSO KNOWN AS: FELIGEN, FEVAL5 AND FEL-O-VAX. IT VACCINATES AGAINST: FELINE RHINOTRACHITIS, CALICIVIRUS AND PANLEUKOPNIA).
- Details of the pet(s) – Species / Breed / Age / Gender / Color / Markings & Weight
- Microchip number (ONLY if the pet(s) already have one)
- VETERINARIAN HEALTH CERTIFICATE
- Letter of authorization from the employee (As Enclosed Below)
- Clear Passport Copy
- Copy of employment contract
- Contact details for the EXPORTER in Origin Country
- DATE OF TRAVEL
Please also ensure that your pet's original vaccination card and government health certificate travel with the airway bill (your pet's “ticket”), this is necessary to clear your pet through customs upon arrival. If the original documents do not travel with the airway bill there may be lengthy delays in clearing your pet, or your pet may not be able to clear customs until the originals have arrived.
Please also note that the original documents and also copies of those documents must accompany the pet (either with the airwaybill or attached to the travel kennel). Different countries have varying regulations – therefore please check with your airline or choice as to their preference.
Many people tend to feel that they need to bring their pet with them as accompanied baggage if they can – as they feel more in control of their pet's journey. However, if the method is cargo, this should not cause you any additional worry or concern. This method will allow you to feel less anxious about the relocation of your pet and as such your pet may be more relaxed given the quieter ambience. If you choose accompanied baggage, your pet will be in the hustle and bustle of a busy airport check-in. Also, handing your pet over to the porter/handler in accompanied baggage may make you feel anxious as opposed to the quieter area of the cargo terminal for live animals. Additionally, as cargo is manifested, it provides slightly greater assurances that your pet is routed properly to your destination.
There are many Pet Relocation Agencies that offer a hassle-free pet relocation service or assist you with relocating your pet. For more information, please visit this link: Qatar pet relocation services