Schengen Visa Application through French Embassy in Doha

UPDATE:

IMPORTANT!

Since December the 11th 2013, visas applications for France are being collected in Qatar by the Capago-MENA company.

If you need an appointment please register on the Capago-MENA website, HERE.

Some of the following descriptions may no longer be applicable.

Please consult French Embassy website and Capago-MENA website for more details.

 

I’ve just applied a Schengen Visa on 27 Sep 2011 through French Embassy in Doha. This is my third application (the first and second applications were in July 2010 and Feb 2011 respectively) and I find no changes in visa requirements (at least for business trip purpose) and processes, except for slight changes in visa form and visa fee to suit with current exchange.

Different embassies may apply different Schengen visa requirements and processes so requirements and processes here may not be generalized (for example: Germany Embassy in Doha requires that anyone planning to travel to Germany, Finland, Norway, Slovenia and Austria to apply Schengen Visa through a (WorldBridge) Schengen Visa Application Centre in Al Sadd, Doha)

As per French Embassy – How to get visa? website, the required documents for a short stay or transit visa :

  • Visa application form duly filled in and signed by the applicant,
  • Two applicant’s recent passport size photos WHITE background  (Personal Note: from Googling I came to know that passport-size photo for French Embassy is 3.5cm x 4.5cm)
  • Copy of the passport and of previous Schengen visas
  • Bank statement (last 3 months) showing salary transfer
  • Copy of flight booking (round trip)
  • Copy of hotel booking or of the « attestation d’accueil » stamped by French authorities
  • Copy of travel insurance covering all medical expenses and repatriation up to 30000 € (Personal Note: For Qatargas employee and his/her dependents, just get an insurance certificate from HR)
  • Copy of the invitation letter from the company in France in case of business trip

Non Qatari citizens have to attach also:

  • Copy of the resident permit
  • A letter from the sponsor showing clearly the monthly salary, the position in the company, the purpose of the trip, the starting date and the duration of the professional contract. This letter must state to guaranty the return of the applicant to Qatar after the trip

Please bear in mind that:

  • Original passport must be shown when applying for a visa
  • In order to take fingers prints and picture (new biometrical procedure), every applicant over 12 years must submit his own application.
  • Administrative and security process before answer varies from a nationality to another and can reach 15 days. (Personal Note: Being an Indonesian, it takes 10 calendar days)
  • Separate application form must be filled in for children; regardless of their age and even if they appear on their parent’s passport.

French Embassy requires that applicant makes an appointment online throught its official website. Nevertheless it’s not followed strictly. Once submitted all the required documents to one of the two counters, I was asked to pay visa fee and have finger prints taken and then given a slip. I shall come back in 10 days time to submit the original passport. Afterwards, visa (pasted on to passport) can be collected within the same day at the soonest or two days maximum. At the time of application visa fee is 60 Euro (paid as 303 QR).

French Embassy in Doha:

West Bay, Diplomatic Area, keep on “Al Corniche” following the Sheraton Hotel.

French Embassy, PO BOX 2669, DOHA, QATAR

Phone : (00 974) 4 402 17 77, Fax : (00 974) 4 402 17 01, email : ambadoha@qatar.net.qa

The Embassy is closed on Friday and Saturday

Opening hours to the public :

consular section : 8h – 12h

visas section : 8h30 – 10h30

Map – Coordinate: 25°19’48″N   51°32’12″E

Visa section is located on the basement. Mobile phone is prohibited to bring in. Leave it at security post.

 

Schengen Area

The Schengen Area comprises the territories of twenty-five European countries that have implemented the Schengen Agreement signed in the town of Schengen, Luxembourg, in 1985. The Schengen Area operates very much like a single state for international travel with border controls for those travelling in and out of the area, but with no internal border controls.

The Schengen rules were absorbed into European Union law by the Amsterdam Treaty in 1999, although the area officially includes three non-EU member states—Iceland, Norway, Switzerland—and de facto includes three European micro-states—Monaco, San Marino, and the Vatican. All but two EU member states—Ireland and the United Kingdom—are required to implement Schengen and, with the exceptions of Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Romania, have already done so. The area currently covers a population of over 400 million people and an area of 4,312,099 square kilometres (1,664,911 sq mi).

Implementing the Schengen rules involves eliminating border controls with other Schengen members while simultaneously strengthening border controls with non-member states. The rules include provisions on a common policy on the temporary entry of persons (including the Schengen visa), the harmonization of external border controls, and cross-border police and judicial co-operation.

Whether a passport or an EU approved national identity card is required for identity checks done at airports, hotels, or by police, depends on national rules and varies between countries. Occasionally, regular border controls are used between Schengen countries.

To know all countries where Schengen Visa is valid, click Wikipedia – Schengen Area.

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For all the good things: yet another night dune trip

This night dune trip on 15 Sep 2011 was special for many things. First, we celebrated, we thanked God, for all the good things among us:

  • Some of us have received an SMS (probably the most awaited sms) from Hajj Committee for the successful application of Hajj. Meaning that they can Insha Allah go for Hajj pilgrimage this year. Mabrook.
  • One of us has “graduated” from Qatar, back to Indonesia, to assume a higher position and comparable remuneration in a similar industry. Hmmm…Again, mabrook.
  • One of us has just been promoted. Mabrook

Second, it’s a combined trip among night fishing, dune bashing, and camping. Third, due to graduation of our “Head of District” a handover to new Head of District is required. And this handover was arranged to take place in this trip at our special location: District Office of Rock Island. Rock Island – also unofficial name – is where our unofficial Head of District based for his almost weekly fishing spot. 

Don’t be puzzled with all of of terms. Those meant to naturalize Inland Sea areas with Indonesian contexts.

Almost 30 cars participated in this trip, divided into 3 different departures: 5pm for those want to early fishing, 10 pm for majority of participants, and 1 pm for those having night shifts.

Two big Arabic chicken and lamb khabsa plates are our special menu.

Overall it was a trip full of laughters amidst tears to see our friend leaves us. As he  emphasized during his departure notes, it was a hard decision, it is friends like us and frequent trips with all its friendship bonds and togetherness that incriminating him. Wish you luck with your new endeavor Bro!

Farewell Party at Dune
 
Our special menu: Arabic chicken and lamb khabsa
 
Strike! Fishing at Rock Island
 
Sunrise at Inland Sea near Rock Island
 
Our Rock Islands on the water border of Qatar and Saudi Arabia
 
Our fishing spots at "Head of District Office" 🙂
 
Catch of the Day!
 
Inauguration of our new Head of District
 
Handing over a "sacred" green fishing rod signifies the transfer of position 🙂
 
Those attending night fishing trip
 
Ready to go back to Doha, rock islands as a background
 
One of the view of Inland Sea along the road back to Doha
 
Another view passing dried sabkha
 
Met with the authority owner 🙂
 
..and suddenly we were so photogenic LOL
 
Hi!
 
Cherokee
 
Nice dune formation so inviting

Lessons of Life: Be Grateful

“I have been working here for 13 years, brother”  he answered  when I asked how long he has been in Qatar. “I am coming from Bangladesh”. Then, story flows from what his job is, his work routine, to his accommodation and food conditions.

I rarely give a ride to a stranger, due to potential liability should there be – God forbids – accident happen, but one Saturday noon after attending Train Shutdown activities, I gave a ride to this Bangladeshi man from Ras Laffan to Al Khor. It turned out that this man is working as a cleaner in a mosque in one of the companies in Ras Laffan.

“My work routine is from Sunday to Thursday, until 3.30pm. Then on Saturday until 12noon. Friday I am off” explained him in broken English. The cleaning service company provides him with an accommodation in Al Khor Industrial Area, and food for dinner. “But the dinner is not good”. “At work I sometimes have my lunch at canteen. But only after 2pm, after lunch time for employees is over. It is actually prohibited to have a lunch at canteen. Mudhir (read: boss) gives me this”. Okay, so he gets leftover from canteen, I am trying to digest his explanation.

“My salary, sir, is only 850 riyals. Never increased since 13 years ago. “

What! I was stunned. Really stunned.

I dropped him at safe road side near Industrial Area. My driving time back to Doha then was filled with afterthought. Life is really hard. This man is hailing from as far as Bangladesh only for meagre salary and hard life. I must appreciate his endeavor.

I oftenly give an example to my kids about the unfortunate people, such as low-income workers. Not for looking them down but as a reflection, a lesson of life to be always grateful, always be kind-hearted, charitable. I frequently emphasize to my kids how education and generally competencies can make a difference, and that I can’t tolerate them like to being ignorant to school or study.

What seems to be a simple ride was giving me valuable lesson of life.

Some Islamic quotes:

“What actions are most excellent? To gladden the heart of human beings, to feed the hungry, to help the afflicted, to lighten the sorrow of the sorrowful, and to remove the sufferings of the injured.” (Bukhari)

“When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those, who have been given less.” (Muslim)

“Whoever is kind, Allah will be kind to him; therefore be kind to man on the earth. He Who is in heaven will show mercy on you.”(Abu Daud: Tirmidhi)

“Allah does not look at your appearance or your possessions; but He looks at your heart and your deeds.” (Abu Huraira: Muslim)

“The perfect Muslim is not a perfect Muslim, who eats till he is full and leaves his neighbors hungry.” (Ibn Abbas: Baihaqi)

Promoted!

Today is probably one of my happiest day. After verbal notification and rumours flying around, I received a formal letter this morning about my promotion from Senior to Lead, 2 years and 10 months since I joined Qatargas . Good thing is it is with effect from 1st July 2011.  All praises to Allah. Alhamdulillah.

Below is my thank you letter to my bosses. Feel free to copy 🙂

—–

Dear XYZ,

I received the formal letter about my promotion this morning.

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate this recent promotion to Lead Loss Prevention Engineer. I  (and of course my family) are very pleased to accept this promotion.

I want to thank you for the expression of confidence in my abilities that you have exhibited by this gesture and will certainly do my very best, with the same or even more dedication as always, not to disappoint you and the organization. I am looking forward to my new responsibilities. I assure you that I would definitely be a value-added addition to SEQ Department and Qatargas.

I am truly grateful for your continuous  support.

Sincerely yours,

Events: Discovery Indonesia Photography Exhibition and Art & Culinary Bazaar

Two Indonesian events not to be missed this week:

1. Discovery Indonesia – Photography Exhibition

Under the Auspices of HED. Hamad Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Kuwari, Minister of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Qatar Photographic Society and the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Doha request the pleasure of your company to the opening ceremony of the exhibition on Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 7.30pm at the Qatar Photographic Society – Katara Building No.18. The exhibition will last for 2 weeks. All are invited.

About Katara

2. Art and Culinary Bazaar

To be held on Friday, September 16, 4pm – 10pm, Indonesian Embassy. A long array of Indonesian culinary dishes along with traditional performances can be expected.

Indonesian Night, Culinary and Bazaar
 
Event Schedule
 
Indonesian Night Flyer (in Bahasa Indonesia)

Map of Indonesian Embassy, Doha

Al Jazeera Sports Card

I just renewed my subscription to Al Jazeera Sports at Vodafone – Landmark Mall. At Vodafone? Yup. Starting May this year, Vodafone – Al Jazeera signed pact so that subscribers can obtain their new subscription or renew it at Vodafone stores (Villagio, City Center and Landmark Mall). New subscription costs QR275 while renewal costs QR238. This will give customers a 12-month subscription to eight channel (+1, +2, +3, +3, +4, +5,+6, +7, +8). Subscription to +9, +10 incurs additional fee (but Vodafone is not authorized to activate these two-channel subscription).

Al Jazeera Sports Card

Last year I got my new subscription from one of the shops at City Center Doha and it was QR365. I heard that new subscription or renewal can also be done in shops at Al Nasser St (where FFC Al Sadd is located at). Alternatively, Mozaics (Qtel) customers can subscribe to Al Jazeera Plus (which includes +1 – +10) for QR35 per month.

If you opt to use Al Jazeera Sports Card you shall have:

  • Satellite TV System on Hotbird 13E or NILESAT 7W 
  • Digital Receiver with 1 “Irdeto 2 card slot”, OR
  • Digital Receiver With 1 Cam slot + 1 Irdeto 2 CAM

To know which sports event Al Jazeera Sports offers and its schedule, the following can be browsing thorough:

– Al Jazeera Sports – Wikipedia

– Al Jazeera Sports – Official Website

– Al Jazeera Sports – Schedule in English

Another school complicatedness in Qatar

Recent news about “Around one third of teachers in Qatar lack proper qualifications” adds another nightmare to school problems in Qatar. Before reading further, just please also read the fine prints. Survey and statistics can sometimes be misleading.

Nevertheless, for those arriving in Qatar with school-age children must know that school is a major problem, a milestone and a challenge. Some of the issues are:

1. Lack of quality schools resulting in a long waiting list. Some popular and good schools are even closed for application a year before!

2. Those claim as British schools or international schools do not really deserve their claim. Just do proper assessment prior to apply. Word of mouth, internet browsing, and checking Supreme Education Council assessment are recommended.

3. Some are having minimal facilities. Schools running on a compound villa with minimal extra curricula facilities are not uncommon. On the other hand, some have luxury of facilities, primarily owned by high-end school or embassy-running schools.

4. Hefty price tags. May not be a concern for an employee with company-provided school allowance (though vary in capping). School is inevitably a business.

5. Pupil background. Many aspire to send their kid to internation school for international exposure. Beware though that there may be pupil background skew.

6. Teacher, as mentioned at the beginning

7. Poor safety standards primarily for shuttle buses provided by the school. Improper AC, reckless driving, no seat belts, or no bus attendant/driver assistant are lastly adding nightmares to parents.