Expats in Qatar should always carry their residency permit cards and present them to authorities “as and when demanded,” the Ministry of Interior (MOI) has said.
In a reminder posted on Facebook this week, the MOI stressed that the new cards must be shown when entering and leaving the country.
Qatar began issuing these new identity cards to residents last year in lieu of residency permit stickers on their passports.
At the time, officials 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.
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. However, 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.
Notably, not everybody has the new cards. Only those who are getting new RPs or renewing expired ones will need to apply for the new ID.
But once they do, expats must keep in mind that the card is the only official document that proves their identity and residence in Qatar.
As such, residents leaving the country must present this card alongside their passport as proof of their identity. This also applies to children who have been issued an ID card, another new step.
Likewise, people returning to Qatar must present their ID cards alongside their passports to get into the country.
In the event that the card is lost, the MOI said a person will be allowed to return to Qatar if he hasn’t been gone for more than six months. His card would be marked lost at immigration.
But if the person has been outside of the country for more than six months, he will need to speak to his employer about getting a visa.
Previously, authorities said these expats must also sign an undertaking promising not to exceed the six-month limit again.
They added that if the sponsor refuses to process the return visa, the person would be turned over to the authorities and could be charged with violating Qatar’s residency laws.