Labeled as ‘unfair’ and ‘racist’, the new changes to the ‘Visa on Arrival’ requirements for three nationalities have drawn the ire of many.
Discover Qatar has removed the mandatory hotel reservation option for visa on arrival for Iranian, Pakistani and Indian nationals, 24 hours after they were announced on April 5, 2022.
The Ministry of Interior has required all nationals with passports issued by Iran, Pakistan and India to be required to meet additional requirements in order to be eligible for a visa on arrival, effective from April 14, 2022.
Despite the removal of the option on the Discover Qatar website, as well as the official announcement page which is no longer available, it is unclear whether the changes remain in place or not.
The new amendments to the requirements for any visitor holding one of these three passports stipulates accommodation at the hotel purchased on the Discover Qatar website, a visa duration which must match the length of stay at the hotel purchased on said website ranging from a minimum of 2 days and up to a maximum of 60 days, as well as any other criteria decided by the Ministry of the Interior.
This is treated as a Visa on Arrival hotel reservation, separate from any mandatory quarantine requirements.
400 direct flights from the Iranian island of Kish to Doha during the 2022 FIFA World Cup
For all three nationalities, under the new requirements, even if one is visiting family in Qatar, they are still required to book a hotel for the entire duration of their stay, as Discover Qatar reports.
Outrage on social networks
The decision sparked intense conversations, as social media users called it “prejudice and racism”, leaving many people appalled or distressed.
A twitter user wrote: “I was so happy that my mother came to see me. After all the struggle I had for family and visit visa, I was left with the option of visa on arrival. And now, I have to spend another fortune on this Sad, really sad.
“The disparity and marginalization of these communities is very strong under this absurd decision by the ministry and I think what is even more frustrating is that some of these nationalities have families living here. [Qatar] and are still forced to book their stay in a hotel for the entire duration of their stay here,” said Baran, an Iranian national born and raised in Qatar. Doha News.
A Pakistani user expressed her anger to Instagram’s comments section, saying, “Wow, open and blatant prejudice that’s been going on forever, and it’s not coming to an end anytime soon.”
Another commenter said: “It’s 2022 and the FIFA host country is so proudly showing their racist side.”
Questioning the decision on the decisive intent behind the choice of passport carriers from Iran, Pakistan and India only, one person wrote in the comments section of ilqlive’s post: “Purely racist and harsh approach . Why only 3 countries? The majority of the population and workforce are from India and Pakistan and work in various fields and sectors for the betterment and development of Qatar. […] visa on arrival was a lifesaver for those unable to bring family to visit due to strict requirements.”
“It will break the hearts of people who call Qatar their second home,” he added.
Doha News has contacted Discover Qatar and the Ministry of Interior for comment.