Posted on August 12, 2017

While the citizens of 80 countries are now eligible for visa-free entry to Qatar, nationals of 242 countries are qualified to apply for a tourist visa (e-visa) online to visit the country, it is learnt. The e-visa, which features a more efficient and transparent visa application system, was launched in June aimed at further easing foreigners' access to Qatar. 

According to Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), the e-visa service was expanded to accept applications from travellers to Qatar aboard all airlines, as well as from tourism and hospitality establishments in the country. Such changes come as a result of the Qatar National Tourism Sector Strategy review process, in partnership with stakeholders and partners from the public and private sectors. It explores all of the elements needed to create a smooth and enticing experience that can attract visitors from around the world. Tourist visa applications can be completed on the new e-visa platform at www.qatarvisaservice.com

According to the website, citizens of 80 countries are eligible for a visa-free entry in Doha but they can also choose to apply for a pre-approved visa online to save time on arrival. Citizens of 242 countries can apply for a tourist visa online by paying a visa fee of $27.78 and service charge of $14, which are non-refundable for both successful and denied applications. The website says the visa type will be automatically selected by the system based on the applicant’s length of stay in the country as per the traveller’s itinerary, nationality and country of residence.

For eligible GCC residents, an appropriate visa type (GCC residents entry permit, GCC residents companion entry permit, or GCC nationals companion entry permit) will automatically be offered by the system. “Applications can be made a maximum of 90 days or minimum of four working days prior to travel. Qatar Airways, Qatar Tourism Authority and VFS Global recommend you to apply as early in advance as possible,” the website states. Applicants are required to present their machine readable passports, which are valid for at least six months from the proposed date of entry to Qatar.

Children who are endorsed on parents’ passport cannot apply using the online platform. Applicants are also required to send “clear coloured electronic scans” of passport information, passport-size photo, airline ticket (Qatar Airways passengers are not required to submit their ticket copy), and hotel confirmation voucher/relevant documents for place of stay in Qatar. GCC residents should provide a residence visa, ID, ticket and passport copy (for GCC nationals/residents companion entry permit only). Applicants can also upload additional documents to back their application such as investments of $8,000 or more, income tax papers showing an annual gross income of $8,000 or more, evidence of travel in the last five years to Qatar (using services provided by the country) and valid visas to the UK, the US, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or Schengen countries.

In a landmark move on Wednesday, Qatar announced that citizens of 80 countries can now enter Qatar visa-free, making it the most open country in the region. Addressing a joint press conference, senior officials of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar Airways announced that instead of applying for a visa, citizens of these countries who want to visit Qatar will be given a multiple-entry waiver for free at the port of entry. The countries include the UK, the US, Seychelles, New Zealand, Canada, Australia, India, and South Africa.

Qatar Airways Group chief executive Akbar al-Baker stated that the citizens of these 80 countries will be able enter the country “with no paper work, no payment and no visas.” “This historic announcement comes at a time of historic significance. While some countries in the region have taken to closing their skies and their borders, Qatar has instead opened its borders to more freely welcoming visitors from all corners of the world,” he said.

source: Gulf Times

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