Our client, a U.S. law firm, contacted GMP late on a Friday afternoon with an urgent Qatar immigration query. A corporate client of theirs was sending an employee to Qatar for a short-term work project. There was a concern that the Qatar visa he had obtained on his own was not the correct one. His flight was scheduled to depart for Qatar within 24 hours.
The corporate client needed to know whether the employee would be compliant traveling on the visa in question. The visa showed a designation of “Official-Government” and the client was concerned that this was issued incorrectly since they are not a government entity. They needed to understand why this designation was given and if it was correct.
The employee’s inability to travel could greatly impact project completion and company costs. There was also a risk that if the employee traveled using the wrong visa then penalties could be imposed by the Qatar authorities.
Benefits & Challenges
GMP’s immigration coordinator replied to the urgent request within minutes and confirmed our ability to advise. This quick turn-around time would not have been possible if the client had contacted a firm in Qatar for advice due to time zone differences.
GMP requested additional details on how the visa was obtained and the nature of the project in Qatar. We reviewed a copy of the visa in question and were able to confirm that if the project was not government related this “Official-Government” designation would not be correct.
Key Points & Analysis
Utilizing our internal knowledge and resources we were able to advise that the employee could however travel to Qatar depending on a few factors:
1. GMP noted that the employee was an Indian national. Indian nationals are visa exempt for travel to Qatar for tourism or business purposes up to 30 days. This could indicate that the employee did not need to apply for the visa in the first place and thus could still travel to Qatar and enter as visa-waivered, not using the visa in question at all.
2. GMP advised the client that the activities the employee would be performing should be more clearly defined in future. If the company the employee was performing the work for was contracted with the Qatar government for the project, then this visa designation may have been accurate. However, if the employee was not aware that his project was government related this could cause confusion by the border officer at the port of entry if he could not explain the government connection.