As indicated by the Government Communications Office (GCO), there are important updates regarding changes in Exceptional Entry Permit (EEP) in the State of Qatar. The official Twitter announcement comes with a statement on amending the travel policy during the gradual lifting of the restrictions of the pandemic. While there are currently some restrictions that have been lifted with regards to the coronavirus as imposed in Qatar, there is also a wide range of epidemiological indicators that will help with the implementation of travel and return policies both for international and local travel.
What is the Exceptional Entry Permit?
First off, what is an EEP? The Exceptional Entry Permit indicates that residents currently in the State of Qatar may receive an EEP upon departure should they wish to travel and return to the country. Residents can obtain this EEP from the official website of the Ministry of Interior.
While previously, residents were required to submit requests through the Qatar Portal website, the EEP will now easily be available automatically once the resident registers upon departure from Qatar.
Keep in mind, however, that the new automatic exceptional entry permit service will not be applicable to residents who are currently outside Qatar. As such, they will still need to acquire the exceptional return permit using the Qatar Portal website.
Now, on the very first day upon arrival, there will be a COVID-19 test done. This will be duly conducted for returnees if the examination is not carried out as indicated in the centres that are approved by the MoPH; this is within 48 hours before traveling to the country. On the sixth day of the date of arrival, a second test will be conducted.
How can you apply for an Exceptional Entry Permit?
You must first visit the Ministry of Interior website and select “Inquiries”. Then, select “Exit & Entry Permits”, followed by “Print Exceptional Return Permit”. Afterward, you will need to fill up the necessary details such as your QID number and your residency expiry date. Submit the form and print the permit as necessary. You may also print the permit via the Metrash2 mobile app.
So, how do you request for an Exceptional Entry Permit online? Simply create a new account on the Qatar Portal. If you already have an existing account, login accordingly with your login details. Select “Apply for Exceptional Entry Permit”. Make sure that you carefully read the terms and conditions indicated, as well as prepare all of the required documents. Attach them accordingly and make sure everything is complete before you begin the application.
Now, on the application page, be sure to fill in all of the required information accurately. Make sure that the information you input will correctly match your data in your passport. Then, input your email address so that you can receive the approval on your application. When everything is in order, print your permit and keep a secure copy of it. Keep a copy of the quarantine undertaking as well, as this will be presented to airport officials as necessary.
You can also choose to request a Validity Extension of your Exceptional Entry Permit online. Login to your account and navigate to the “My Applications” page. Then select “Extend Application”.
Why is the Exceptional Entry Permit important?
This temporary service is provided to residents of the State of Qatar so that they will be able to return to the country. Moreover, the service will also enable residents who are outside the country to have the validity of their permits extended should they possess expired exceptional entry permits. The extension will be for 30 days from the permit’s extension application date.
For all travelers, make sure that you have the necessary documents with you upon arrival at the airport, such as the Qatar residence card, your passport, your entry permit, and the hotel quarantine undertaking. Should you need more information about all of the terms and conditions regarding the Exceptional Entry Permit and the quarantine exceptions and guidelines regarding travel during the pandemic, you may visit the official guidelines here. You may also contact 109 inside Qatar or +974 44069999 outside Qatar for any assistance.
What are the quarantine procedures for travelers to Qatar?
From November 29th, 2020, the automatically issued EEP will be valid until the Qatar Residence Permit (QID) expires. There will also be home quarantine guidelines, all of which can be found in greater detail in the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) website. Take note that there are exemptions as well for vulnerable groups returning from travel for both Qatari and Residents including their immediate family members who also live in the same household. Those who are eligible for home quarantine are as follows:
- “Persons aged 55 years old and above.
- Recipients of an organ or bone marrow transplant.
- Patients with hypertension who are on treatment.
- Patients with conditions that require immune-suppressive treatment.
- Patients with heart failure or coronary artery disease.
- Patients with moderate to severe asthma.
- Cancer patients with metastasis and those on treatment (Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy).
- Pregnant females (any trimester).
- Nursing mothers with children aged 0-5 years.
- Patients with End-Stage Renal Failure (ESRD) or on dialysis.
- Patients with Chronic Liver Disease (CLD) and decompensation.
- Patients with lower-limb amputations.
- People with disabilities where they are dependent on others for their activities of daily living.
- Children with disabilities and their mothers.
- Patients with epilepsy and on treatment.
- Patients with diabetic foot infections.
- People with deceased first-degree relatives in the last ten days.
- People with mental health problems on antipsychotic medications and whose condition is aggravated by staying in closed spaces.
- Diabetic patients on treatment.
- Minor travelers (below 18 years old) traveling without an accompanied guardian.”
It’s important to remember that the required quarantine period will last for one week after arrival in the State of Qatar. This is regardless of destination, and the home quarantine procedures will be duly applied to anyone who will be returning from countries on the Green List from the Ministry of Public Health. For individuals who are not listed in the MoPH Green List, hotel quarantine will be mandatory. In case an individual uses shared quarantine facilities, the quarantine period will be for two weeks.
Travelers who will be returning from low-risk countries should have a COVID-19 test conducted in an approved hospital; this should be done within a period not exceeding 48 hours from the departure date. They must also submit a hard copy of the certificate of the examination. If a traveler comes from countries outside the list of low-risk countries, they must have a hotel reservation in the designated hotels approved for quarantine. This will be for a duration of one week from the date of arrival. There must also be a COVID test conducted at the airport.
Should the results of the test come back positive, the returnee will be directed for isolation, while if the results come back negative, there will be a one-week mandatory quarantine in the designated quarantine hotel.
How can employers assist with the EEP for family sponsorships?
Due to the various restrictions imposed to help contain the pandemic COVID-19 virus, it may be a challenge for employers—both for individual employers and companies as well as for the government sector and private sector—to return to the State of Qatar. As such, the EEP will allow residents and their family members who hold a QID to come back.
Bear in mind that an employer may apply for the EEP for Qatar residents valid one month from the date of its issuance. Should the resident return from a low-risk country, he or she will need to submit a proof of stay for 7 consecutive days in that said country. Should the relevant authorities find a reason to accept or reject the permit, the application can be denied in accordance with the terms and conditions of the permit. Any misinformation stated in the application or in the permit will be subject to legal liabilities according to the laws of the State of Qatar.
There will also be different categories according to the provisions of the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs. For instance, employers must apply for the permit for expatriate workers. For family members, a sponsor may apply for the permit directly through the Qatar Portal if he or she is in the country. If the sponsor is not within the country, then he or she must acquire the entry permit from his or her employer before applying for family members.
There are also different rules and regulations regarding the permit issued for children. For newborns up to 6 months, there is no need for an entry permit as there will be a visa granted upon arrival. There will, however, be an applicable home quarantine including all accompanying family members regardless of the country they are coming from.
Resident children must apply for an entry permit, and home quarantine is applicable as well including for their accompanying family members regardless of the country of origin. Citizens from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will not be required to apply for an entry permit to enter the country, while universities can apply for entry permits for Resident Students through the Qatar Portal.
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