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Monday, April 19, 2021

MOI announces overhaul of Qatar ID system

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

With translation from Heba Fahmy

In an effort to streamline Qatar’s visa system for expats, the Ministry of Interior today announced a series of measures that puts more emphasis on identity cards while minimizing the use of passports for identification.

Officials said that beginning June 15, new residents and those renewing their residency permits (RPs) would no longer need to have stickers in their passports explaining their visa details.

Home addresses in Qatar
Home addresses in Qatar

Instead, residents will be given new ID cards, which will have more information on them than the existing ones – including an individual’s home address.

For the first time, children under the age of 16 years old will also be issued ID cards.

In a press conference this morning, the MOI’s Asst. Director General of Passports and Expat Affairs, Brig. Mohamed Ahmed Al Ateeq, said that the new card would become the only official document that proves identity and residence of expat residents in Qatar.

That means travelers would need to produce their ID as well as their passports when entering and leaving Qatar.

In a statement, officials added:

“An expat resident in Qatar should keep his residence card always with him and show it to concerned authorities whenever asked to do so because it is the only card to prove his identity and residence permit at the same time.”

How and when to apply

Under the new system, residents applying for work visas from the government or their company must do so electronically through mobile app Metrash 2, the MOI’s website or the e-government website. The cards will be sent out through the mail.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The renewal application for family and personal sponsorships can either be done online or in person.

The new card can be renewed for one, two, three or five years, depending on the category of visa applied for, officials said.

Capt. Abdulla Khalifa Al-Muhannadi said there will be two types of cards available – the normal card and a smart ID card, which came into effect in 2011 and are issued when people apply for e-gate cards for fast-track immigration at Hamad International Airport.

The existing smart ID cards feature biometric data such as fingerprints and eye scans on an embedded electronic chip used to verify the cardholder’s identity.

Existing residents with valid RPs do not need to show their passports to apply for the new card, but new applicants will be required to do so. Fee for the cards remain unchanged.

‘Ease procedures’

The new card system will ideally help the ministry in its bid to become paperless, and to speed up the process of obtaining visas, officials said today:

The new cards will be introducing gradually. As of next Monday, they will be issued when a resident’s RP expires as well as for new applicants. Residents with valid RPs and ID cards do not need to apply for a new card until their current RP and card is about to expire.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

According to the MOI, Qatar has informed countries via their embassies and airline companies about the new system. It added that airlines can verify the validity and details of passengers’ residence permits via the MOI’s website.

The announcement of the new card comes after a six-month trial of the sticker-less system, which began in November last year.

At the time, an MOI official said the aim of the new system was to move toward an entirely online application system for RPs and to phase out the need to complete the procedures in person.

Brig. Nasser Jabr Al Attiyah, head of the MoI’s expatriate affairs department, was quoted in police periodical Al Shurta as saying:

“We are making efforts to make sure that all of our RP work is done by people online through Metrash 2. Our department is trying to expand our online service,” the Peninsula reported at the time.

Security reasons

The issue of including addresses in a resident’s ID card has been discussed before. Last October, the Cabinet approved a draft decision by the Interior Minister to determine the information on the ID cards for Qataris and expats.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

This followed MOI’s General Directorate of Nationality, Borders and Expatriate Affairs announcement during the Milipol military expo in Doha that it signed a QR9.9 million contract with Itqan Technologies for smart ID cards.

At the time, the idea to put home addresses on ID cards was deemed one way to improve internal state security, by making it easier for authorities to track down residents.

According to local media, all residents are already required by law to inform police of their most up-to-date postal and home addresses – although this is not strictly enforced.

Legal requirements

Almost all adult residents of Qatar are required to have ID cards. They do not legally have to carry the ID with them at all times. Children have not previously been required to have an ID card.

Failure to produce an ID card when demanded by a law enforcement official (not necessarily on the spot) could lead to a fine of up to QR10,000.

Nevertheless, most residents frequently carry their ID cards with them, as they are often required to produce them to gain access to residential compounds, apartment blocks and some clubs.

MOI also undertakes periodic spot-checks around town, stopping cars and asking residents to show their ID cards.

Thoughts?

57 COMMENTS

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Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago

great ! now embed a exit visa on there too – giving an innocent person the free right to come and go, and join the ‘free world’

Daniel Schriefer
Daniel Schriefer
5 years ago
Reply to  Scarletti

Not so fast! One thing after the other. Good things take time.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

Actually wouldn’t it make more sense to give the exit visa before the entry visa? Or just let people out as a matter of course?

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago

I am quite impressed by the e-governemnt capabilities of Qatar. Not even the US has such advanced systems available to the public.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Sure it does, but it requires face-to-face interviews for security reasons for immigration actions.

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  DavidRSS8

It has been five years now that the U.S. is struggling with the software to run the Obamacare. May be they should hire people from Qatar’s MOI for consultancy.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Big LOLs!!!

Transcension
Transcension
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

It is funny that you think the only problem with “Obamacare” is software, when there are countless of other factors e.g. politics that come into play.

That being said, there is a strong possibility that the “people from Qatar’s MOI” are foreign-hired consultants themselves.

kubaru
kubaru
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Without diminishing Qatar new ID it should be noted that system for 2 million people is much easier to design, test and produce that system for the tens or hundreds of millions users.
The number of information to be stored and processed should also be taken into account and I suspect that healthcare system would be vastly more complex than ID system.

DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

You mean the foreign consultants who set it up for the MOI? Neither the technology, the plan for implementation, nor the hardware is local. You’re hysterical.

The Obamacare website is a bizarre comparison (I’m guessing, but I don’t know, that Hamad interactive health site is not more user friendly). It’s like comparing Qatar’s sports even entry system to management of restaurant reservations of some steakhouse in Omaha, Nebraska.

A direct comparison would be the tech the Homeland Security uses at airports. Understandably, the US continues to rely on a mixture of tech that is similar to what is found in Doha AND personal interviews and contact.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

That’s hilarious. The US has some of the least efficient systems of government bureaucracy. It’s only recently that they have actually started checking that people who come into the country actually leave again when they’re supposed to. Before that you filled out the green card and they filed it in a cave in pennsylvania and it was never looked at again.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And of course you can’t make someone have an ID there. That would be a horrendous crime against your “liberty”!

Gaga
Gaga
5 years ago

Can’t believe they prioritize this crap than the most awaited kalafa reforms, or maybe they do not really care about it, idk.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago
Reply to  Gaga

Of course they don’t care about kafala reforms, that is not in their interest. They are talking about it because they are getting bad PR. Hopefully they think it will all go away soon….

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago

The photo cracks me up. Six people looking busy behind the counter and two customers. When I was there in January there were two people behind the counter drinking tea and ignoring everyone and fifty customers crowded around the counter trying to get their attention. Thank goodness it’ll now be online renewal. I really couldn’t face another trip to that office.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

sorry from what great country where you come , where there is no lines & every thing goes smoothly , can you do most of government document related on a mobile APP?? . yeah the great LALA land

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I’m from a country where people form in queues and people behind the counter serve them. Things therefore proceed smoothly. If you actually read my post properly you would have seen that my point is that there were no ‘queues’ at the Ministry the day I was there – just a mass of people crowded around the desk – and no-one behind the counter serving them as they were too busy drinking tea.

qatari
qatari
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

such a stupid reply. when you make the assumption that ppl looking busy behind the counter just because. you didn’t see the other angle of the picture at that time.and the Mass of ppl around the counter are your fellow expats .aren’t they??

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

No. My ‘fellow’ expats would queue. Not crowd around a counter. Seriously though, I’m just saying that going to the MInistry in person is a nightmare. Honestly, I got there at 8.30am to be told ‘closed. No more tickets’. Closed? At 8.30am? Seriously? I think it’s commendable that Qatar has the capability and technology to move this process on to e-government and it will be a relief to many expats because, believe me, it is not pleasurable going to that Ministry.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

I’m from a country where they are so efficient there are no queues. You must find your country very frustrating.

Grantley
Grantley
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Not really. It’s the great British propensity to queue…….:)

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Grantley

And apologize when somebody stands on your toe. You have to love the British.

Anonymouse
Anonymouse
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

I can think of 3 I have lived in right off of the top of my head that are as you have described. The US and the UK are not among them.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Sounds more like singapore

johnny wang
johnny wang
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Sounding like Singapore is one thing but putting things into practice like Singapore could be really something else.

Reem
Reem
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

There is usually a wait, but you get a ticket, wait your turn and are treated professionally, respectfully and fairly. The rules do not change as the day goes on. That was in a small country in the middle of Europe with high Alps.

Transcension
Transcension
5 years ago
Reply to  qatari

Sorry to run on your parade, but a lot of countries do.

CeePeeEm
CeePeeEm
5 years ago

Officials said that beginning June 15, new residents and those renewing their residency permits (RPs) “would no longer need to have” stickers in their passports explaining their visa details.
It is not clear from the “need to have” phrase whether RP stickers would still be available as an additional option to the residents.
In the total absence of stickers, there is bound to be plenty of confusion at other airports, where the immigration officer there will have to check MoI website every time a Doha passenger arrives, to see if he holds a valid RP of Qatar or not.

Qunnaby
Qunnaby
5 years ago
Reply to  CeePeeEm

“That means travelers would need to produce their ID as well as their passports when entering and leaving Qatar.”

A lot of developed countries do not require a stickers resident’s passport, so I guess its an already established process.

Gaus
Gaus
5 years ago
Reply to  Qunnaby

You should have read this para too ‘According to the MOI, Qatar has informed countries via their embassies and airline companies about the new system. It added that airlines can verify the validity and details of passengers’ residence permits via the MOI’s website’

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  Qunnaby

Yes but Qatar Air staff at say Melbourne will not let you on the plane unless you have a RP, or onward ticket….so how are they going to manage that?

Guest
Guest
5 years ago
Reply to  CeePeeEm

I think what CeePeeEm means is that on arrival in other GCC countries if you aren’t of a nationality that gets visa on arrival then you need to show a GCC RP with a valid occupation. Most immigration officers are behind the curve, I can see a lot of confusion arising as they will not be aware of the change and may refuse you entry. As well airline staff are pretty clueless, I can see a lot if people arguing with them that they really do have valid RPs.

CeePeeEm
CeePeeEm
5 years ago
Reply to  Guest

What I meant is, if one is boarding a flight from X airport (other than Doha / GCC), at Check in and Immigration counters, the officers look in your passport for a valid visa to the country of destination.
If it is only ID card with no stamp in the passport, what should they look for? Qatar ID card? Or those officers have to check MoI Qatar website for that traveler?

Andrew Newnham
Andrew Newnham
5 years ago

So will I need to apply for a new ID card everytime I move house?

Big Sumo
Big Sumo
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Newnham

Sound like it, but that’s pretty normal around the world I think. In NZ we use drivers licence instead of ID card and that’s got to be changed, same with Australia from memory. An address on there does seem to mean they will roll over more often. For me I’d like the feature because I never remember the blue address plate!

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

NZ drivers licence only has to be changed if you choose to put an address on it.

AEC
AEC
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

And then you get the qwirky british one where you have a plastic one AND a paper one – or did they get rid of that already?

Scarletti
Scarletti
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

paper has gone – completely now, but only in the last week. However you must by law have your primary address on your driving licence

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  AEC

Not from today, matey!

Am
Am
5 years ago
Reply to  Big Sumo

If your phone has a camera, take a picture of it and store on Evernote or Google keep or wunderlist and the list goes on.

A_qtr
A_qtr
5 years ago
Reply to  Andrew Newnham

No, but if your card is expired and you go to renew your card then make sure it has the most up to date info

AEC
AEC
5 years ago

Call me silly but won’t this be a bit of an issue when you check in on your flight from some places? Some airlines (Emirates?) won’t let you get on a plane unless you have proof of residency or tourist visa for the other end depending on your passport. Or are they data swapping like a number of other countries are doing now?

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

Oh dear disaster written all over it. ‘You will receive your card in the mail’

Have they used the postal system here?!?!??

Can I tell the nice policeman or the security at the bars that me ID card is in the post?

Observant One
Observant One
5 years ago
Reply to  MIMH

Mail…what is this mail? Post what is this post…good luck ever ever receiving your new ID card, you will be stuck at the MOI for 3 days trying to get a reissue just to leave on holidays.

Concerned Resident
Concerned Resident
5 years ago

As a woman here I am not so keen to have my home address visible to anyone including local security at compounds after being harassed by an MOI officer about 18 months ago! All we need is to have these guys harass us at our homes! I would not be opposed to having the information kept where a computer system that can track who accesses information is involved.

Mehrea
5 years ago

Paving a way to the new system which we are expecting to be announced before the end of the fiscal year

Yacine
Yacine
5 years ago
Reply to  Mehrea

Keep on dreaming

Mehrea
5 years ago
Reply to  Yacine

Have faith.

Simon
Simon
5 years ago
Reply to  Mehrea

But I did, for SO long. And look what happened – nothen’, they just kept on mulling!

Mehrea
5 years ago
Reply to  Simon

I agree with you Simon but, it’s better to think positive . You have heard the news about the sudden resignation of the FIFA chairman. You can figure out the rest and we have no choice but to wait.

mR.digital
mR.digital
5 years ago

Im sorry to say this but as a person who was born here , all i can say is that they are really pushing people to the limit, do the want a revolution? cause that’s what they will get if they keep discriminating people , they say its their right and they forget that according to islam they cant discriminate people the way they do , Im sorry again but day by day I see how people are suffering and no one is stepping up to say something without being worried or afraid, enough is enough….

Gaus
Gaus
5 years ago

if address details are to be printed on the ID cards, how would single person who change his living place many times a year change their address on the ID? Will the MoI charge for adding change of address?

Jim
Jim
5 years ago

Great. Right after I lost another passport page to their wonderful visa stickers.

AM
AM
5 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Same as you would have lost it to other visa stickers.

Michael Hargreaves
Michael Hargreaves
5 years ago

If kids under 16 are getting I’d cards, can they get e gate?
PLEASE

Ben
Ben
5 years ago

After the first year loads of people’s new cards will have incorrect address due to moving. I doubt it’ll ever be checked so you can just wait until the card needs renewing then update the address.

Also I imagine a lot of people will lose their cards whilst on holiday so that’ll be a pain when you try to come back into the country with no link between ID card and passports

ali
ali
5 years ago

how many days the process will take to get id card after submitting application.

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