Morning folks. No bewitching post titles or aimless rambling today. Let’s get straight to business. Before I move on to anything Qatar related, I need to get this out of the way –
How to go about getting a resident permit for your spouse?
This will not be an all-inclusive, exhaustive checklist. Rather it will be a personal account of how things panned out for us, interspersed with snippets I uncovered during my research online and experiences shared by other expats. I make no claims of being an expert. If I have missed anything, do let me know. Share your experience. I will edit/ update the post if I feel I missed something.
Note to aspiring Qatar expat:-
- I’m sure some rules exist when it comes to approving visa applications but in my humble opinion they are no more than guidelines it seems like. Each family that we speak to seems to have a different experience.
- Though, strict rules do not apply- it’s probably safe to say that a minimum salary of 10,000 QAR is a basic requirement.
- The occupation stated on the visa of the sponser is paramount. I guess “carpenter” visa will not qualify even if he earns 20,000 QAR a month 🙂
- The process (if papers are in order) is usually fairly quick- a few days.
This is a timeline of how things went for us:-
- Submitted visa application in late June.
- Saw the dreaded words online after a week – Rejected!
- Visited immigration to find out what the matter was. Was told to meet the “captain”.
- Booked an appointment to meet captain. Appointment in second week of October.
- Spoke to Mr H’s company PRO, we did not want to wait another couple of months. Decided to reapply.
- Reapplied in early August. Visa granted in 4 days.
- Flew to Doha the next day. (September 27th )
- Passport copies of both the sponsor (in my case my husband), and spouse.
- Copy of sponsor’s RP page/ visa
- Copy of sponsor’s Qatar ID card
- Copy of marriage certificate (Original to be attested by the Ministry of External Affairs, Notary, Qatar embassy and also stamped at attestation centre in Doha).
- Employment/ Labour contract.
- Salary certificate
- NOC from company sponsor
- Rental/ lease contract to prove accommodation credentials
- 6 months bank statement
- Mr H’s degree certificate (to prove that he indeed is an engineer!)
You have to report to the medical commission within a week of entering Qatar. Medical commission formalities generally involve blood tests and a chest X- ray. But in my case, since I was pregnant at the time- things went down a different path.
- Reported to the Medical Commission on 2nd October. Paid 100 QAR for the tests.
- The place will be crowded (even with there being an entirely different section/ building for women) but the process is fairly systematic and the queues are well managed.
- The day I went they were “system problems” so it took some time. After blood drawing, I was asked to come the next day for a clinical exam as I was pregnant and hence would not get an X ray. The x ray is basically to clear you of TB.
- Went again the next day. Long queues again. Met an Arab physician. She asked me how far along I was. I was 4 months then. She noticed my Indian passport. Asked me if I ever had TB. I said no. She said it is better if I got an X ray, and since I was in the second trimester it would be “OK”! Hmmmm….I said thank you but no thanks! She tried to sell the whole X ray idea…. Told me it may take a long time if I go the “no X-ray’ route. Mr H and I decided that no one can scare us into getting an X ray that we did not want. I conveyed my decision to the doctor. She told me that “the committee” would review the matter and get back to us.
- We waited.
- Received a text message early next day. Was asked to go to the nurses station at medical commission the same day.
- I went. Met a nurse who was busy loading an ampoule. She asked me draw my top- sleeve and before I realized what was going on, administered the PPD on my forearm. It is also known as the tuberculin test or Mantoux test, it is done to assess exposure to the TB bacteria. Being a doctor myself, I knew what it meant , but was taken by surprise due to the abruptness with which it was administered. The poor lady who went in after me, came out looking petrified. Asked me if it will harm her baby. Poor thing. Anyways, had to go in again after 72 hours.
- Explaining the Tuberculin Test in detail and when it is considered positive or negative would take time. But note- it CAN BE POSITIVE even if you DON’T suffer from TB. Also, TB is endemic in India.
- Within 24 hours, I knew my test would be positive. I also knew that I did not suffer from active or latent TB. There is a good chance many of my Indian friends show a positive result on the Mantoux.
- When I went in after 72 hrs; they checked me, filled out a lot of papers and referred me to the TB clinic at Rumailah Hospital. I had to undergo further tests.
- Went to Rumailah Hospital. Had to register at the TB clinic. People were coughing all around me. I refrained from breathing! Jokes aside, I was ready to give up by this time. I was constantly nauseous and tired at the time and all this running from pillar to post did not help matters.
- After registration, we were given an appointment a few days later. Had to go in twice again, a week apart.
- First appointment involved blood tests (again!) and a sputum sample. Trouble was, I did not have any sputum to give. We had designated, enclosed areas where we could go in – cough to our heart’s content and spit. Hahahha… I had studied all this, but actually inducing cough and trying to make up the 2ml sample that was required was all very surreal.
- Went in again after a week (Eid holidays in between), and repeated the exercise. Then received another appointment to meet a “TB specialist” a week later.
- Met the “TB specialist”. He must have received my blood and sputum reports by then. He asked me a few routine questions. (Trying to elicit any symptoms of TB). He then told me I did not have TB! Big surprise that was!
- I had passed… Hoorraaaay…. Hmmmm… anyways he told me to go back to Medical Commission.
- Went back to Medical Commission. (God … I’m tired just typing all this. Lord knows how we managed to do this then. Strength cometh when you needeth I guess.) Received a sheet of printed paper. It congratulated me on my accomplishment and praised my untiring, relentless pursuit of the goal. Nope. It said I cleared the medical. Phew!
- From then on matters progressed fairly smoothly and surprisingly quickly. Even the lord above was tired of toying with us I guess.
- Headed to immigration services at Mesaimeer- got my fingerprinting done, the RP was stamped on my passport and I also received my Qatar ID card.
- RP for three years cost 960 QAR if I remember correctly.
- The whole process took about two months.
Of course, things would have been much, much simpler if I weren’t pregnant at the time. But simple is never fun my friends! Simple means there no stories to recount. No memories to recall. A simple life can be a boring one. So, looking back – I have no complaints. I hated it then though. One thing that helped during the whole episode was meeting another hapless soul in the situation. So that is the intention of this post- to give hope and courage to anyone having visa troubles… anywhere….lol! Things always have a way of working themselves out….