Customs regulations for your trip to Qatar

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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Customs regulations

Used Household Goods and Personal Effects

Documents Required

  • Copy of passport / visa / residence permit visa with page of entry stamp
  • Packing list (in English)
  • Copy of bill of lading (OBL) / express release or telex release / air waybill (AWB)
  • Letter of employment (NOC)
  • Letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (diplomats)
  • Personal authorization letter
  • Original authorization letter in Arabic

Specific Information

  • The owner of the goods must be in Qatar during Customs clearance.
  • The residence visa must be obtained prior to arrival of the shipment.
  • Documents must be received by agent at least 5 days prior to arrival of the shipment.
  • Customs will inspect all packages.
  • Customs clearance takes approximately 3 – 4 business days from the date of receipt of the original documents required for clearance.
    • Storage or demurrage charges will be billed back to the owner of the goods or agent per the receipt.
  • All sea shipments that arrive at the Doha port after 6 months from the first entry date of the consignee will have a 5% customs duty levied.
  • The Customs duty is 5% of the estimated value of goods determined by the Customs Valuation Committee plus the legalization charges of approximately USD $175.00. Legalization charges will not apply for personal effects import
  • All prohibited articles detained by Customs may be destroyed without consignee’s consent.
  • All printed matter, records, films, books, pictures, tapes, slides, movies, videos, compact discs, computer software, etc. are subject to censorship and confiscation (must be packed separately for easy access) if caught with any of these items, customer will be subject to severe penalties and a possible jail term.
  • Travel bags and packages must remain unlocked.
  • All items have to be declared as per the packing list for all FCL/LCL imports. This means that for LCL at least 10 to 15 columns/entries will have to be entered into the customs declaration/bayan.
    • For 20’ at least 20 to 30 columns/entries will have to be entered into the customs declaration/bayan.
    • For 40’ at least 30 to 50 columns/entries will have to be entered into the customs declaration/bayan.
Import regulations:

Free import of:

  • 400 cigarettes;
  • personal items and gifts up to a max. value of QAR 3,000.-.
  • for personal use only: used video camera, photo camera, mobile and laptop.

Alcoholic beverages are not to be imported under any condition.

Local laws and customs

Local laws and customs reflect the fact that Qatar is an Islamic country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. There may be serious penalties for doing something that might not be illegal in the UK. You’re strongly advised to familiarise yourself with and respect local laws and customs.

In 2021, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 12 April and finish on 11 May. See Travelling during Ramadan

Be aware of cultural sensitivities when filming or photographing people and religious, military or construction sites. Some visitors attempting to film or photograph in sensitive areas have been arrested. If in doubt, seek permission. If you’re working as a journalist, you’ll need to get permission from the Qatar News Agency (QNA) to film or photograph as part of your work and enter the country on a visiting press permit. This permit will clear technical equipment like cameras through airport customs and provides other necessary information.

Importing drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material into Qatar is illegal. All luggage is scanned at Doha Airport Arrivals Hall.  DVDs and videos may be examined and censored. Penalties for drug offences are severe, often resulting in prison sentences.

It is an offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. British nationals have been detained under this law, usually when they have come to the attention of the police on a related matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour. Alcohol is available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. Don’t carry alcohol around with you (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home).  The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21, and establishments serving alcohol will ask for original photo ID upon entry.

Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.

Posting material (including videos and photographs) online that appear to insult, slander or are culturally insensitive, may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law. There have been cases of individuals being detained, prosecuted and/or convicted for posting this type of material.

Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (eg electronic shisha pipes). The law applies regardless of quantity and intended use. Customs officials may seize and confiscate any such items found entering the country by any means, including in passengers’ luggage or sent by post.

You should dress modestly when in public, including while driving. Women should cover their shoulders and avoid wearing short skirts. Any intimacy in public between men and women (including between teenagers) can lead to arrest.

Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar. There have been some reports of individuals being punished for homosexual activity and/or sexual activity outside marriage, particularly where there is any public element, or the behaviour has caused offence. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.

Financial crimes, including fraud, bouncing cheques (including post-dated and ‘security cheques’) and non-payment of bills (including hotel bills) can often result in imprisonment and/or a fine in Qatar. Bank accounts and other assets may also be frozen. You may also be liable for cheques that have been signed by you on behalf of a company.

If you have unpaid loans or financial commitments you won’t be able finish your employment in Qatar and exit the country. Any debt should be settled in full before your residence permit will be cancelled.

Qatar is a member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Customs Union which came into effect in 2003.  In accordance with the GCC Customs Union, Qatar maintains a 5% tariff on a wide range of products.  Basic food products such as wheat, flour, rice, feed grains and powdered milk are exempted from tariffs.  The tariff on alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, pork, and pork products are 100%.  Qatar also has a 20% tariff on iron bars and rods, non-alloy hot-rolled steel and 12-millimeter steel bars.  Qatar maintains a 5% tariff on all textile imports.  Projects funded by the Qatar Industrial Development Bank can be granted a customs duty waiver for the import of machinery, raw materials and other industrial inputs.

Includes import documentation and other requirements for both the U.S. exporter and foreign importer.

Last published date: 2020-11-18

All importers are required by law to have an import license.  Import licenses are issued only to Qatari nationals, or to the Qatari partner in a limited liability partnership and must be registered with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.  This regulation also applies to wholly foreign owned entities operating in Qatar.

Import Licenses:  All imported meats, including beef and poultry products, require a health certificate issued by the country of export and a “Halal” slaughter certificate issued by an approved Islamic center in that country.

In order to clear goods from customs zones at ports or land boundaries in Qatar, importers must submit a variety of documents, including a detailed customs declaration, bill of lading, certificate of origin, pro forma invoice and import license.  Information on specific requirements should be obtained from the Customs and Ports General Authority.  Inspection of goods is generally conducted at the customs station, or as directed by the Director General, in the presence of the owner or his representative.

Additional Import Regulations:

Since April 1, 2011, Qatar Customs has required official invoices, an official certificate of origin (COO), and  packing lists for shipments destined to Qatar (airport and seaport). Shipments without these documents will not be cleared under any circumstances and shall be returned back to origin.

It is mandatory to write the HS CODE of the commodity in the official invoices and COO, otherwise shipment will not be accepted for clearance.

‘COUNTRY OF ORIGIN’ OR ‘MADE IN’ fields are mandatory for each piece, on materials, and on cartons.

The ‘COUNTRY OF ORIGIN’ OR ‘MADE IN MARK’ details on the shipment should match the information on the official invoice, COO, and on the materials (Any discrepancies will cause the shipment to be returned to the origin).

For goods originating from Europe: mention clearly on the COO the country of origin. Example: ‘Country of Origin: European Community – UK’. If the products are made in two countries, the country of origin should be both countries in the COO, invoice, and on the materials. Example: ‘European Community – UK & POLAND’.”

General Authority of Customs

P.O. Box 81, Doha, State of Qatar

Phone: +974 4441-1149

Fax: +974 4441-4959

In Qatar, the letter of credit (L/C) is the most common instrument for controlling exports and imports.  When an L/C is opened, the supplier is required to provide a certificate of origin and a certificate from the captain of the ship or from the shipping agency stating that the ship is allowed to enter Arab ports.  An Arab Embassy or Consulate or an Arab Chamber of Commerce should notarize both documents in the exporting country.

A letter of credit initiated in Qatar is usually endorsed with transshipment clauses.  It is customary in Qatar for importers to build their L/C’s computations on “cost and freight (C&F)” basis, and not C.I.F. Qatari merchants prefer to have insurance coverage provided by local and international insurance companies, to cover damage in transit to the goods covered under the L/C.

Restricted/Dutiable Items

  • Cigarettes (free import up to 400)
  • Personal items and gifts (free import up to QAR 3,000.-.)
  • Firearms (special permission from the Ministry of Defense in Qatar is required)
  • Firearms – special permission from Ministry of Defence, Govt. of Qatar, is required and should be obtained in advance.

Pets – birds (the maximum size of a falcon), domestic cats, domestic dogs and other similar sized domestic animals if having required documentation may enter the country.

The following procedure must take place:

  • The animals must be carried in a cage (proper size, lockable and clean) that is appropriate for travel.
  • Required documents: good health certificate, valid vaccination certificates , the animal needs to be cleared for air travel
  • Larger birds, large dogs and other large animals must be processed through the Cargo Terminal.

Prohibited Items

The Qatar Distribution Company is the only source for the importation of alcohol, pork, and pork products.  Military and security items are forbidden unless licensed by local authorities. Narcotics, flammable and radioactive products are also banned.  Any products that violate trademarks are also banned.

  • Alcohol
  • Ivory
  • Idols
  • Narcotic drugs
  • Pork products
  • Pornographic materials
  • Politically subversive materials
  • Explosives and explosive items, including fireworks and other flammable items

Miscellaneous (Pets, Motors, and others.)

Motor Vehicles

Documents Required

  • Proof of ownership at origin
  • Original import manifest
  • Registration certificate
  • Insurance policy
  • Purchase / sales invoice
  • Original bill of lading / air waybill

Specific Information

  • Vehicles must be Gulf standard and left-hand drive.
  • Automobiles should not be more than 5 years old.
  • The owner of the vehicle must be a resident in Qatar prior to registration of the vehicle.
  • A 5% Customs duty is charged on the value of the vehicle identified on the price on the purchase / sales invoice or its depreciated value and is determined at the discretion of the Customs Officer in charge.

Pets

Documents Required

  • Vaccination record
  • Veterinary health certificate

Specific Information

  • The veterinary health certificate must be issued by a government approved veterinarian clinic in the origin country and must confirm that the animal is in good health with current vaccinations.
  • The certificate must be dated within 2 weeks prior to the animal’s arrival in Qatar.

Arms and Ammunition regulations:

Firearms: special permission from Ministry of Defense, Govt. of Qatar, is required and should be obtained in advance.

Additional Information on regulations:

Jewelry, precious metals or stones with a value equal to or higher than Qatar Riyal-QAR 50,000.- must be declared on arrival.

Pets:

Cats and dogs require:

  • an import permit (validity of the permit is 30 days and must be obtained prior to departure); and
  • an official veterinary health certificate issued by a competent authority of the exporting country, issued not earlier than 2 weeks prior to the date of arrival.
  • a vaccination certificate or pet passport, including full details of the pet and the vaccines.

Dogs must have a rabies anti-body test certificate showing a blood titre result of at least 0,5 IU/ml. and be vaccinated against rabies, 1 month prior to shipment, Canine distemper virus (CDV), Canine parvo virus, Infectious canine hepatitis and Leptospirosis.

Per year, only 1 cat or dog aged 4 months or older per passenger is allowed.

Larger or dangerous, aggressive breeds require a special permit from the Ministry of Interior. All cats and dogs must be registered at the Doha Veterinary Centre within 48 hours.

Birds (up to falcon size), cats, dogs and other similar sized domestic animals may be permitted to accompany passengers and be processed through the arrivals and departures terminal if the animals are:

  • carried in a clean and lockable cage designed for air travel; and
  • accompanied by official veterinary documentation, certifying that the animal is free from disease, vaccinated and cleared for air travel; and
  • accompanied by the appropriate documentation for destination (where required).

Larger animals must be processed through the Cargo Terminal.

Baggage Clearance regulations:

Baggage is cleared at the first airport of entry in Qatar.

Exempt: baggage of transit passengers with a destination outside Qatar.

Currency

Currency Import regulations:

Local currency (Qatar Riyal-QAR) and foreign currencies (other than Israeli currency): no restrictions. Amounts equal to or higher QAR 50,000.- must be declared on arrival. This includes jewelry, precious metals or stones if its value is equal to or higher than QAR 50,000.-.

Prohibited: Israeli currency.

Currency Export regulations:

Local currency (Qatar Riyal-QAR) and foreign currencies (other than Israeli currency): no restrictions. Amounts equal to or higher than QAR 50,000.- must have been declared on arrival. This includes jewelry, precious metals or stones if its value is equal to or higher than QAR 50,000.-.

Prohibited: Israeli currency.

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