All residents should carry their Qatar ID card with them at all times, or face a fine of up to QR10,000 ($2,746), the head of the Ministry of Interior’s Search and Follow Up Department has warned.
Brig. Nasser Mohamed Eisa al-Sayed made the comment during a recent meeting with community leaders, Gulf Times reports.
UPDATE | Thursday, July 11, 12:45pm
The Director of the SFD, Brigadier Nasser Mohamed Eisa Al Sayed, has clarified that not carrying your ID with you at all times is not a crime under Qatari law.
Explaining the situation to Peninsula, Al Sayed said that only those who refuse to produce their IDs when required could face a maximum fine of 10,000QR.
He also said that police only request IDs from “suspects,” and not from ordinary residents going about their daily business:
“You are committing a crime only when you refuse to produce any identification document on the insistence of a law-enforcement official” he told the Peninsula.
“Just not carrying your ID isn’t an offence punishable with a fine.”
Al Sayed’s clarification tallies with the legal situation outlined in our original report (below), which pointed out that there is no a specific law in Qatar requiring residents to carry their ID with them.
Although Qatar residents are accustomed to producing their residency permits when entering residential compounds and clubs, this rule – and the high fine associated with it – has been met with surprise by many on Twitter:
— Gazanfarulla Khan (@acepilotkhan)
— Priya Manikam (@Priya_sapney)
How the law stands
Although all expats are required to hold either a valid RP or visa while in Qatar, there does not appear to be a specific law requiring residents to carry ID with them at all times.
However, article 6 of Law 4 of 2009, which regulates expats’ sponsorship and residence rules, does state that all residents should submit proof of residence or visa when required by the authorities. Article 52 of the same law applies a maximum QR10,000 fine for those who cannot present their IDs.
It’s not uncommon for a country to require nationals and expats to carry an ID with them wherever they go. Neighboring Saudi Arabia does this, as do many countries further afield, including the Netherlands and Brazil.
Al-Sayed has been leading a campaign to flush out illegal workers in Qatar.
In recent months, his team had made a series of high-profile arrests of gangs of illegal workers, and those who have been sheltering them.
He says that the Ministry of Interior will soon print a series of guidebooks in many different languages that clearly outlines the laws of government sponsorship and residency.
“We spend maximum efforts in providing proper help and solve the problems of expats without any discrimination as all are equal before law” he says.
“All expats irrespective of their identity and culture shall abide by the rules of the county.”
Credit: Photo courtesy of MoveOneInc.com