Qatar Travel Information

Last modified: July 25, 2023
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No airport tax is levied on passengers upon embarkation at the airport.

Entry requirements

The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.

The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you should contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.

You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.

Entry rules in response to coronavirus

Entry to Qatar

From 1 August 2020, British nationals currently outside of Qatar and holding a Qatar residence permit are allowed to enter the country, subject to receiving prior approval.

From 29 November 2020, any resident leaving Qatar will automatically receive their Exceptional Entry Permit, and there will no longer be a need to apply through the Qatar Portal website. This permit will be available to print from the Ministry of Interior website once the resident’s departure has been registered. Please ensure you have a printed copy with you when you travel.

For residents returning to Qatar after 29 November 2020, the quarantine period will be for 7 days. For those returning from a country not included on the Qatar Ministry of Public Health’s ‘Green List’, a mandatory 7 day hotel quarantine will apply. This will be at a government-approved hotel and must be booked through the Discover Qatar website.

From 22 December 2020, all residents arriving on flights originating in the UK will be required to stay at a designated hotel for their quarantine period. These must be booked through the Discover Qatar website.

Further information on Qatar’s entry and arrival requirements can be found on the Ministry of Public Health website.

Following the opening of the air, land and sea borders between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, all arrivals to Qatar from the Abu Samra border crossing are required to undergo a COVID-19 test and obtain a virus-free certificate no more than 72 hours before travel. Further information can be found from the Government Communications Office statement here.

Transiting Qatar

Transit passengers travelling on to another destination can still transfer through Qatar, and many flights continue to operate. You should check with your airline or travel company for the latest information if you are planning to leave or transit through Qatar. Flights are subject to change or cancellation at short notice.

Whilst in transit at Hamad International Airport, you will receive regular thermal screening and temperature checks.

You should contact your tour operator, transport or accommodation provider for information on the impact on any existing travel plans.

Testing on arrival

Thermal screening and temperature checks will take place on arrival, as will a swab test for coronavirus.

Quarantine requirements

With effect from 29 November 2020, all residents returning from the UK will need to quarantine for 7 days in a government-approved hotel, at their own expense. This must be booked through the Discover Qatar website.

From 22 December 2020, all residents arriving on flights originating in the UK will be required to stay at a designated hotel for their quarantine period. These must be booked through the Discover Qatar webiste.

Data collection

Downloading Qatar’s track and trace app, Ehteraz, is mandatory for everyone in Qatar. You will be asked to show the app upon arrival.

Regular entry requirements

Visas

You can get a free 30-day tourist visa-waiver on arrival in Qatar. If you’re travelling for any purpose other than tourism, and/or hold one of the other types of British passport, you must get a visa before you travel.

If you need to stay longer than 30 days, you must extend your visa waiver before it expires through the Ministry of Interior. If you fail to do so, you may receive an overstay fine, which must be paid before leaving Qatar.

You can find further information on visa requirements and extensions on the Qatar Ministry of Interior website

Passport validity

Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months from the date of entry into Qatar.

UK Emergency Travel Documents

UK Emergency Travel Documents (ETDs) are not valid for entry into Qatar. However, ETDs are accepted for airside transit and exit from Qatar.

Living and working in Qatar

If you’re applying for a residence permit, you will have to undergo a medical test including blood tests and a chest X-ray. The tests screen for diseases including, but not restricted to, HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis B and C. Testing positive may lead to further tests and possible deportation.

Safety and security

Crime

Around 20,000 British nationals live in Qatar, and approximately 130,000 visit annually. Most visits are trouble-free.

Although crime levels are low, female visitors should take extra care when travelling alone at night.

Only use registered taxis and don’t enter a taxi late at night unaccompanied.

If you’re a victim of sexual assault, you should contact the British Embassy at the earliest opportunity.

Road travel

You can drive in Qatar with a valid UK driving licence for up to 12 months. If you intend to drive using your UK licence in Qatar, you should obtain an International Driving Permit (IDP) before travelling. If you’re staying longer than 12 months, you will need to apply for a Qatari driving licence and sit both the theory and practical tests.

From 28 March 2019, the IDP you should obtain is a 1968 International Driving Permit (IDP). IDPs previously issued by the UK may no longer be accepted for use in Qatar after this date. You can only get IDPs over the counter from 2,500 UK Post Offices. You will not be able to buy an IDP outside the UK, so get one before you travel.

If you’re planning to hire a car, check with your car hire company for information on their requirements before you travel.

If you’re living in Qatar, check the Living in Qatar guide for information on licence requirements for residents.

Road discipline is very poor; speeds are high and minor accidents are common. Qatar has a very high fatality rate for road accidents. If you have an accident, stay with your vehicle. It’s an offence to leave the scene of the accident, but if no one has been injured and it’s safe to do so, you can move your vehicle to a safer place. You’ll need to get a police report for insurance purposes.

The driver and front seat passenger should wear a seat belt at all times. You must not use a mobile phone while driving. Even minor expressions of ‘road rage’ like rude gestures can attract significant penalties. Offenders may be fined, imprisoned and/or deported. You may be banned from leaving the country until your case has been resolved.  More serious cases may take up to 6 months to be heard. Flashing your lights in Qatar can mean a driver is coming through, rather than giving way.

Excursions to the desert can be hazardous unless in a properly equipped 4 x 4 vehicle. Always travel in convoy with other cars, take a supply of water and a mobile telephone, and leave travel plans with friends or relatives.

It’s an offence in Qatar to drink and drive, and there is zero tolerance for it. Driving under the influence of alcohol is punishable by a custodial sentence of between one month and three years, a fine of QAR10,000 (approx £2,150) to QAR50,000 (approx £10,770), or both. Offenders may also be deported.

Sea travel

Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf. Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected, and there have been occasional arrests. You should make careful enquiries before entering these waters or visiting ports.

Regional tensions may also affect your route. Vessels operating in the Gulf of Oman, Northern Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden and Bab El Mandeb regions may be at increased risk of maritime attack.

Take care when travelling by Dhow, as the safety of these vessels may not be up to UK standards. Make sure life jackets are available.

Political situation

Regional developments continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region. You should be aware of local sensitivities on these issues. You should follow news reports and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations. There is the potential for increased tension on Fridays.

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