What is the change? Qatar has begun accepting applications for permanent residence for the first time in the country’s history.

What does the change mean? Foreign nationals who have lived in Qatar for 20 years—10 years for foreign nationals who were born in Qatar—may  now apply for permanent residence if they meet other eligibility requirements.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate and ongoing.
  • Visas/permits affected: Permanent residence.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals who meet the applicable residence threshold and other requirements.
  • Business impact: Qatari officials hope the change will help increase foreign investment in the country.
  • Next steps: Applicants can visit the Ministry of Interior’s website to determine whether they are eligible.

Background: Qatar began accepting permanent residence applications as part of its Vision 2030 program. Other changes implemented as part of the program include introducing a Wage Protection System and abolishing exit permits (though not for employees in free zones). Qatar will only accept permanent residence from foreign nationals who meet the applicable residence requirement and who show they have sufficient income, no criminal record, some knowledge of Arabic (at the discretion of authorities) and a Qatar identification card that has an electronic chip (i.e., a Smart ID Card). Applicants must also show that they have not stayed outside of Qatar for more than 60 days in any year during their 10- or 20-year period of residence.

Analysis & Comments: Qatar’s move to begin accepting permanent residence applications is a first for the country and among Arab countries in the Persian Gulf region. Successful applicants will be afforded the same rights as Qatari citizens. Qatar hopes that the permanent residence program and other Vision 2030 programs will continue to lure foreign investment to their country.

Source: Deloitte LLP. Deloitte LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC303675 and its registered office at 1 New Street Square, London EC4A 3HQ, United Kingdom.