Category Archives: Immigration

UK Visa Application in Qatar

Check Updated UK Visa Application Process (Feb 2014)

 

I’ve just applied UK Visa (Business Visa) few weeks ago in Qatar. UK Visa application is managed/ processed by a visa application center (VFS Global)  in Doha, not by direct application to UK Embassy like for Schengen Visa in France Embassy.

Here is the process.

1.       Understand if you need a visa

UK Border Agency http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/  and http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/qatar/?langname=UK%20English  are the first starting points to know which visa needed for certain type of visit (Visit, Study, Work, Join Family, or Transit). This page in UKBA website ask 3 questions to let you know the type of visa for your visit: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/do-you-need-a-visa/

Why do you want to come to UK?  – What passport do you hold? – Where do you currently live?

Answer respectively with: Visit – Indonesia – Qatar, for my case, shows that Yes, I need a visa to visit UK.

2.       Understand the type of visa

Another page in UKBA http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/visiting/ describes the different categories of visitor to the UK and helps choose which visa category is the most suitable.

If you want to visit the UK as a tourist, for an example, or to stay with friends in the UK, you should apply to come to the UK as a general visitor (or as a child visitor if you are under 18).

You can apply for a visa up to 3 months before your date of travel to the UK.  UKBA strongly advise not to confirm your travel arrangements until you have received your visa. To find out how long the visa processing time, visit this page http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/qatar/processing-times/?langname=UK%20English

They have service standards for processing UK visa applications in Qatar. Their standards say that they will process:

  • 90 per cent of non-settlement applications within 3 weeks, 98% within 6 weeks and 100% within 12 weeks of the application date; and
  • 95 per cent of settlement applications within 12 weeks and 100% within 24 weeks of the application date.

Please note they define one week as 5 working days.

If their visa processing service is experiencing delays, they will publish a news story on their website to explain what is happening (see right tab on the website)

I was told that processing time is 10-15 working days but I’ve got business visa in 1 day (the next day!).

3.       Prepare Required Documentation

Details of requirements, documentations can be found by clicking the respective visa categories on the same page. For general visitor: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/out-of-country/visitors.pdf

Typical documentation requirements are basically categorized into:

  1. Information about you: a valid travel document or passport, one passport sized photograph (this must comply with photo guidance – can be found at the back of application form), evidence of your permission to be in the country (i.e. residence permit), previous passport if any (had been granted US Visa, Schengen Visa may speed up and increase probability of getting a visa), evidence of your current employment (i.e.  a letter from employer, salary slips)
  2. Information about your finances and employment: bank statement, bank letter or balance certificate, payslips, tax returns, evidence of income from property or land if any
  3. Accommodation and travel details: details of accommodation and return travel bookings
  4. Information about your visit to UK: Depending on the reason for your visit, you may wish to provide some of documents to help to show them what you plan to do while you are in the UK.

4.       Complete and Submit Visa Application Online.

You must complete and submit the application form online through this page:

http://www.visa4uk.fco.gov.uk/ApplyNow.aspx

 

It is suggested that your supporting documentation come handy to facilitate completing the application form online. Even better, print application form, fill it and complete on hard copy, and you just copy what you have written.

Application form for:

General Visitor: http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/resources/en/docs/1903073/VAF1A

Business Visitor: http://www.ukvisas.gov.uk/resources/en/docs/1903073/VAF1B

You will need to print out and sign your completed form. If you do not have access to a printer when you apply, you will be able to log in and print out the form later. When you have completed your online application, you will receive an email message containing your application number (also known as a ‘GWF reference’). Please make a note of this number.

5.       Pay Online

The following page explain how much your visa application will cost.

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/countries/qatar/fees/?langname=UK%20English

From 6 February 2012 you can only pay the visa application fee online in US dollars by Visa or MasterCard credit or debit card. They cannot accept any other types of credit or debit cards. When your online payment has been taken, you will receive a confirmation email from their payment provider WorldPay. You must submit a printout of this email as proof of payment when you submit your application at the visa application center.

As indicative:

  • General/Business Visitor, Short Term Visit up to 6months, Single or Multiple Entry: USD129
  • General/Business Visitor , Longterm Visit up to 2 years, Single or Multiple Entry: USD446

6.       Make an Appointment

Once you’ve done with completing and submitting visa application online, you need to book an appointment at visa processing center to submit visa application form and any supporting documentation. Submission timing is 08.00 – 15.00hrs and working days: Sunday – Thursday

You can book an appointment in 1 of the 3 following ways:

  1. Online using the link UK Visa Information –Appointment or

VFS website: http://www.vfs-uk.com.qa/ under “Book an Appointment” sidetab

https://www.vfs.firm.in/qt-apptsystem/appscheduling/appwelcome.aspx

2. Telephone: +974 4 4626291 (VFS operate contact centre).

3. Email: info.ukqa@vfshelpline.com

If you are part of a family or group, each member of the family or group must make an individual appointment. For example, if you are a family of 4 with 2 adults and 2 children, you must make 4 individual appointments.

There are three types of appointments that you can opt for:

  1. Normal appointments
  2. Premium Service Appointments In Qatar – Additional charge of QAR 275.00. (basically appointment with separate lounge, photocopy service, refreshment, and quicker submission)
  3. Prime Time Appointment In Qatar – Additional charge of QAR 180.00 (basically appointment outside office hours: 07.00-08.00am, or 15.00-16.00hrs). See details on Additional Services on VFS website

7.       Visit visa application center NOT EMBASSY to submit application

VFS Global is UK visa application center. I found out that they also provide services for Australian Visa application.

Please arrive at the Visa application center not earlier than 10 minutes before the given time.

Please remember to carry: your current and previous passport if any, a completed and signed online visa application form, the right specification of your photograph, supporting documentation based on the visa category, payment receipt (payment for additional services is only in cash at the visa application center).

Location:

Sherif Building, 5th Floor,

Toyota Signals (C-Ring Road – Airport Road Intersection),  Behind KEO Building

Doha, Qatar

Map: http://www.vfs-uk.com.qa/images/qatar.gif

Please note that sealed packages and all battery operated gadgets are not permitted such as cameras, mp3 players, laptops.

There are 6 desks to serve applicant with 2 biometric counters. An applicant aged above 5 years must come in person to complete their biometric which is a 10 digit finger scan and a digital photograph at the visa application center.

Once done, you will receive reference slip that can be used to track the status of your application.

8.       Track Your Application

You can track your application on the VFS website http://www.vfs-uk.com.qa (under “Track Your Application” sidetab) using the reference number DOH/xxxxxx/xxxxxx/x, which is on your original receipt, and your date of birth.

The center offers sms tracking service (at 8 QAR) to track the application. You may inquire from them.

9.       Collect passport

Once you check that your passport ready you may collect it from the center at 15:00-16:00hrs. Please check if your visa information is correct and your previous passport (if submitted) returned, before leaving the center.

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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.

Lost Qatar ID & Driving License? Here is next

UPDATE:

A reader shared his latest experiences and I copy paste his story below.

I would like to share also regarding this matter. Nowadays they make more simple for replacement of missing ID card. I lost mine last week.
~First of all you need non objection letter from your sponsor to replace your ID with new one. I went there to Immigration Dept and inquired what is the requirement.
~Police report is not required,I went there also and they said no need,straight away to Immigration Dept.
~Go to Immigration Dept Madinat Khalifa,gate number two anyway the security there will tell you.
~Once you enter gate number 2 go straight then enter separate room on your right side there are 2 Staffs, give your paper to the right side man (Noc from your sponsor,copy of your RP in passport and original pasport). He will give you an application form you have to sign only no need to fill anything. Then take the queu number from the left side man.
~Take your number and wait for your turn on counter “L”
~Submit your paper and you need to pay 200 Riyal for your new card plus 10 Riyal, I believe for application paper.You will get your new card less than an hour. They will ask your credit card for all payment

 

–original post–

You won’t expect it to happen but when it happened it happened. I lost both my Qatar ID and Driving License. Here is next steps based on my experiences. It may not be exactly the same steps as you will go through.

– Replacement of Lost Qatar ID

  • If you lost the ID abroad, Obtain lost report/police report from any Police Station where you lost your ID.
  • Have a letter from your company (a kind of NOC with additional info on request for replacement). It is in Arabic so I am not sure what is written there. Your company immigration officer knows how to do it.
  • Go to the nearest Police Station and look for Lost & Found Section. Ask for Lost Report. Bring along company letter and if applicable, lost report from Police Station where the ID was lost. In my case, I went to Al Khor North Security. I asked the lady there for Police Lost Report and handed her a company letter, supporting lost report, and copy of ID. I paid 12 QR (cost for 2 @5QR stamp; not sure what’s the case for additional 2 QR)
  • With the lost report, go to Immigration Office. Get a replacement ID for QR200 through credit card/debit card

– Replacement of Driving License

  • This is my personal experience and may not be generalized.
  • I went to Traffic Police in Rayyan (near Aspire). Ask the officer for replacement. The lady – knowing that I work for Qatargas (part of Q Company) – did not require a company letter or lost report.
  • The lady gave me a letter with Return Date (two weeks from the day of report). I believe this is to give enough time if somebody by chance found my license.
  • On the return date I went to the same Traffic Police and ask for replacement by handing her the letter, copy of my license and my ID. [If you return before the day you will find yourself waste your time, as the system has locked this return date to your driving license issuance. I tested it]
  • The license is ready within minutes for QR250 by credit card/debit card

Anybody got different experience?

Lesson Learned: It is always a good idea to scan your ID, license, car registration, and print them some! Just in case!

Reference:

In Qatarliving, a QLer writes different steps though they are almost the same:

If your Qatar ID is lost,
1) Go to capital police station in crazy signal. Fill out lost ID form, Pay 10 QAR with either credit car or e-cash (no cash accepted). They will give you a report in 5 mins.
2)Go to immigration department in Madinat Khalifa (you may check exact location on maps.google.com by writing immigration department on the search box)
3)When you enter the immigration department, go to portacabins first and ask typewriter to write your application for you. (3 QAR cash. Typewriter doesn’t accept ATM, credit car etc. 🙂 )
4)Bring this application to your company, you need company stamp on the application and sponsor’s signature (sometimes, immigration can give your ID without sponsor’s signature too. But stamp is necessary)
5)Bring the police report you got in 1st step, application form to same immigration department.
6) Enter the door,number 1 and inside go directly to counter 2. No need to get number for queue.
7)Pay 200 Qar with Credit card or e-cash. Your ID will be ready in 10 mins.

A friend of mine reported that police officer in Madinat Khalifa told him that we should report the case to any branch offices not main office in Madinat Khalifa. He was also told to bring a company letter and 1 passport-sized photograph.

Transfer RP to New Passport

Now as I have renewed my passport, I shall transfer my – still valid- RP from old passport to new passport. You can do it yourself to any immigration offices or let this matter handled by your company’s immigration section. I chose the latter.

Documents needed are:

  • Old and new passports
  • Copy of ID card
  • Recent photograph
  • Completed form (handled by Qatargas Immigration Officer)

Total processing time is between 2-3 working days. It can be much shorter – heard of within minutes(?) – if you handle it yourself.

Below is a quote from Hukoomi (Qatar e-Government) website:

When a resident of Qatar receives a new passport, he/she must arrange to have the residence permit transferred over. The sponsor may apply online to reissue a valid permit. 

Applicants are required to deliver their new passports to the Ministry of Interior’s Expatriates Affairs department in order to complete the procedure. A certificate of loss should be attached if the original passport was lost in Qatar.

 

Follow these steps to transfer the RP to a new passport:

  • Fill out the online application form.
  • Select the person for whom you wish to transfer the RP for.
  • Select option for pickup or delivery.
  • Pay appropriate fees.

Sponsors will be notified by SMS once the document is ready.

Renewing Indonesian Passport

Fast. Efficient. Cheap. Superb.

Those superlative adjectives represent services by Indonesian Embassy in Doha for renewal of Indonesian passport. Fast: it took only 2 working days. Efficient: simply by filling in form – available on Embassy website or hardcopy at consulat and visa section, present old passport and 2 passport-sized photo. Cheap – it costed me only QR80 per passport. Superb – customer-service oriented service by staff.

Detail information is available from Embassy Website under Consular Service dropdown tab..

  • Consular and Visa section open from 8:30 – 11:30 AM, Sunday – Thursday except during holidays in Qatar and Indonesia
  • Photo to be in RED background
  • Renewal can’t be delegated
  • Best to print and complete the passport renewal form at home

Family Visit Visa

What seemed difficult and scary turned out to be easy, quick and scareless. This happened when I tried to obtain a family visit visa for my brother in law. I heard bad news regarding rejected application, long queue, and hassle during visa application. This is particularly said to be true in the case of application for non-immediate relative in productive ages, and mainly male.

The process started with obtaining family relationship letter from Indonesian Embassy. To do that, you need your passport copy, ID copy, and related birth certificates to prove a true family relationship. It wasn’t taking so long. You can even wait for the letter to be prepared.

Once finished, you need to have a No Objection Certificate (NOC) (with mentioned salary) in Arabic from your company stating your intent to sponsor your family. This was quite a hassle; as I need to go back and forth thrice to company’s immigration officer. First, because the relationship is not correct (written as brother instead of brother in law), and second because of wrong nationality. Lesson learned: always check NOC for correct information, ask native Arabic speaker for proof-read.

So, with my relationship letter, NOC and other copy document (passport, RP, ID of mine and my wife), and passport copy of my brother in law, I went to the immigration office. You can go to any immigration office, in Doha (Madinat Khalifa) or Al Khor. Best practice says that Al Khor immigration office is preferred due to minimum queue, and easy approval. Another best practice says that bringing along your wife when meeting with officers are desirable as it is said increase the probability of application approved.

Al Khor Immigration Office is located at main Al Khor road, between Security Department and Fire Station. If you come from Doha you need to make U-turn at the roundabout near Al Khor Corniche. The office is just short blocks from there. Office is open from 6 AM until 12.30 PM. If you come early in the morning no queue number system used.

Ask for a visa application form and a queue number at the last right counter. Then you need to go to a typist which is outside the building, opposite cafeteria, next to electrical enclosure. Give the documents to the typist and he know what he shall do. 5QR is enough for him.

In my case, you can normal to expect that my application would be rejected as my brother in law is in productive age. However, once we stated our reason to bring him in is for hajj related issue, and I bring my wife, the friendly immigration officer seemed has no reason to reject. The officer went to “captain”, who is next to him for approval, and the captain signed the document without even asking to us. After that, we made 200 QR payment using debit card. Khalas! No more than 15 minutes in total.

With application number written on the slip given, I can now check status of visa application through MOI website. The next morning I got an sms from metrash stated that the visa is ready to deliver, meaning it is done and ready to print. What a service!

Visit visa is valid for 3 months and is for 1 month stay. I can then save and send the visa to my brother in law, or alternatively give him the application number and my Qatar ID number for self-printing.