Every expatriate who is issued a Residence Permit is also given a Qatar ID Card as part of the application process. These are credit-card sized plastic cards containing a photo of the holder plus basic personal information. It is mandatory for residents and citizens to have one. They are required to complete many bureaucratic procedures such as applying for driving licences, opening bank accounts and also to gain admission to licensed premises. New applicants can also opt for a smart card, which allows the user to access a number of official online services, such as driving licence renewal, and also access the e-Gate system at Doha airport, which allows card holders to bypass the queues at immigration.
There is a standard minimum fee for an ID card, which is usually covered by the sponsoring employee. An extra fee is charged to access all the smart card features and the e-Gate service. ID Cards must be renewed when expired (usually at the same time as the Residence Permit).
Holders of the old-style ID Cards, issued before 2011, can upgrade to a smart card. See the Hukoomi website, select New ID Card and then the Add e-Service to ID Card page for details.
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