Last Updated: Friday, 15 December 2017, 16:28 GMT

Qatar: Rights of Palestinians; conditions relating to residence and work permits; maximum age for a child to be registered on father's residency permit; conditions of residency renewal; treatment of Palestinians

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 3 June 2002
Citation / Document Symbol QAT39040.E
Reference 1
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Qatar: Rights of Palestinians; conditions relating to residence and work permits; maximum age for a child to be registered on father's residency permit; conditions of residency renewal; treatment of Palestinians, 3 June 2002, QAT39040.E, available at: [accessed 16 December 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

The Research Directorate was unable to find specific information concerning Palestinians in Qatar among sources consulted for this response. However, general information concerning the situation of non-Qatari nationals working and residing in Qatar is detailed below.

Speaking before the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), a country rapporteur indicated that according to his sources:

in 2001, 75 per cent of the total population (769,152) [of Qatar] had been immigrant workers, mainly from other Arab States. ... [The rapporteur] expressed concern about whether the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms of non-citizens were guaranteed (UN 14 Mar. 2002).

Qatar maintains a legal distinction between citizenship by birth and naturalized citizenry (ibid. 20 Mar. 2002). According to the US Defense Security Service, Adjunctive Desk Reference listing for Qatar, "Qatari nationality is regulated by Law #2 of 1961, and amended by Law #19 of 1963 and Law #17 of 1966" such that "[b]irth within the State of Qatar does not confer citizenship" (16 Apr. 2002). Naturalization for individuals from another Arab country can occur after 15 years of residence (ibid.; UN 11 Mar. 2002), whereafter, "equality of nationals and naturalized Qataris [is] respected in all fields" (ibid.).

With respect to work permits, according to the Website of the law offices of Sultan M. Al-Abdulla of Doha, Qatar,

Only local sponsors may obtain work permits. A person employed in Qatar may not work for anyone other than his or her sponsor. Sponsorship cannot be transferred until an employee has worked with the original sponsor for at least 2 years, and has been granted a release letter by that sponsor (7 Nov. 2001a).

With respect to residency permits, Abdulla Law Offices specify that:

All foreign nationals, except for those from GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] countries, must obtain visas and residence permits. Applications for visas are normally through the Qatari Embassy or Consulate in the home country. They must be based on a formal offer of employment. The Department of Immigration is responsible for issuing such permits. Business visas may be arranged by local business counterparts (ibid. 7 Nov. 2001b).

In a telephone interview with the Research Directorate, a representative of the Embassy of the State of Qatar in the United States explained that these permits are held for three years within which time an individual may leave Qatar for a period of less than six months (30 May 2002). Should a person exceed this six-month period while still holding a valid residency permit, he or she can reinstate the residency upon arrival at the airport but must pay a penalty of US$50 for each day in excess of six months (ibid.). For an individual whose residency permit has expired while outside of Qatar, he or she must reapply for a new permit through his or her sponsor as per the process outlined above (ibid.).

The representative of the Embassy of the State of Qatar also explained that the maximum age for an individual to remain on his or her father's residency permit is 18 years, unless the individual is a student in which case that person remains sponsored by his or her parents for the period of study.

Speaking on the question of discrimination in Qatar in the period since 1993 a representative stated before the 14 March 2002 UN CERD that

On the basis of the principle that all humans were equal before God, as revealed over the years by the prophets, no discrimination on the grounds of race, religion or gender was permitted. That principle was enshrined in article 9 of the Constitution. Thus racial discrimination was not only contrary to Qatari beliefs and the provisions of the Constitution, but also contrary to existing legislation. Any organization that engaged in propaganda for or acts of incitement to racial discrimination or hatred was punishable by law under article 83 of the Penal Code. Similarly persons who established or ran such organizations were subject to penalties under article 84 of the Penal Code. The victims of racial discrimination were eligible for compensation under civil and commercial laws.

The 20 March 2002 UN CERD report noted limits to the rights of non-citizens such that they require "prior approval by the Minister of the Interior" to marry Qataris and are not permitted to own property "as a general rule ... except within certain limits" (ibid.). However, there are "numerous schools run by foreign nationals, ... minorities are entitled to practice their religious rites" and the Qatari delegation assured the CERD that "the law guarantees all workers equal status (ibid.). The Website of the Law Offices of Sultan M. al-Abdulla also note that "foreign nationals may not buy real estate" (7 Nov. 2000c) and noted the availability of "foreign community schools" (7 Nov. 2000d).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Embassy of the State of Qatar, Consular Affairs, Washington DC. 30 May 2002. Telephone interview with representative.

Law offices of Sultan M. al-Abdulla Advocates and Legal Consultants. 7 November 2001a. "Work Permits." [Accessed 23 May 2002]

_____. 7 November 2001b. "Visas." [Accessed 23 May 2002]

_____. 7 November 2001c "Housing" [Accessed 23 May 2002]

_____. 7 November 2001d. "Education." [Accessed 23 May 2002]

United Nations, Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.. 20 March 2002. "Considerations of Reports Submitted by States Parties Under Article 9 of the Convention" (CERD/C/60/Misc.28/Rev.3) [Accessed 23 May 2002]

_____. 14 March 2002. "Summary Record of the 1503rd Meeting: Qatar." (CERD/C/SR.1503) [Accessed 30 May 2002]

_____. 11 March 2002. "Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Briefs Experts on World Conference Against Racism." Press Release [Accessed 23 May 2002]

United States. Defense Security Service (DSS). 16 April 2002a. "Qatar." [Accessed 30 May 2002]

_____. 26 April 2002b. "DSS: Who We Are." [Accessed 30 May 2002]

_____. 16 April 2002. "Adjunctive Desk Reference." [Accessed 30 May 2002]

The US Defense Security Service is a Department of Defense agency that conducts personnel security investigations and provides industrial security products and services (DSS 26 April 2002). Its citizenship laws of foreign countries is part of its adjunctive desk reference database which was last updated in July 2001 (ibid. 16 April 2002b).

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases

Unsuccessful attempts to verify information with the Law Offices of Sultan M. al-Abdulla Advocates and Legal Consultants

Internet sites including:

Amnesty International

Arab World Documentation Unit, University of Exeter

Arabic News

Badil, Resource Center for Palestinian Residency and Refugee Rights

B'tselem, Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories

Country Reports

Find Law

Human Rights Watch

Internet Law Library

Islamic and Middle Eastern Law Materials on the Net: Country Index

Law Library of Congress


Pritchard's Law Webs

Shaml, Palestinian Diaspora and Refugee Center

United Kingdom, Immigration and Nationality Directorate. Iran Assessment 2002.

UNHCR Refworld

World Law

World Legal Materials from the Middle East, Cornell Univeristy

World News Connection

Search Engines

All the Web


Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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