Do you need a visa to Qatar? What are the Qatar entry requirements, what items are prohibited from being imported into the country, and what are the Qatar visa requirements for transit tourists passing through Doha? All of these questions will be answered in this article, but I can tell you right away that Qatar is now fully open to global tourism and is welcoming visitors from practically any country.
It will be difficult for you to plan your dream trip to Qatar without these websites
Table of Contents
Visa for Qatar: General Information
Let’s start with the most important thing:
Qatar visa:Citizens of 95 countries around the world are granted a 30-day visa for free (visa waiver) upon arrival at Doha airport. Some citizens, mainly from Europe (Germany, Belgium, France), are granted a 90-day visa.
A free visa for 30 or 90 days can be obtained once every 180 days or once every six months.
Interesting to know:Today, stamps are no longer placed in passports upon entry to Qatar, and the visa looks different than what we’re used to. Most tourists entering the country receive a sticker in their passport (photo above). Upon leaving the country, there isn’t even passport control – you simply scan the page of your passport, and the system allows you to enter the departure area. The airport in Doha is a topic for a separate article.
Official resources for Qatar visa information
Always check the current Qatar entry requirements before traveling. The country is developing very quickly and dynamically, and conditions can change several times a year. The latest news is that starting March 7, 2023, tourists who stay in the country for more than 30 days are required to have local insurance from a local insurance company.
- A website for tourists where you can check visa requirements for citizens of any country entering Qatar: https://visitqatar.com/
- The Qatar Ministry of Public Health website where you can find all the information about medical insurance: https://www.moph.gov.qa
- List of Qatar insurance companies for mandatory medical insurance. It’s important to understand that:
- This insurance costs the same for everyone: 50 Qatari riyals (~$15) for 30 days.
- If you’re traveling to Qatar for less than 30 days, you don’t need this local insurance.
- For tourists staying in Qatar for up to 30 days, it’s recommended to have insurance from any insurance agency in any country. Details about insurance in Qatar, where to buy it, why you need it, and the cost of medical services can be found in the article: insurance for a trip to Qatar.
Qatar entry requirements
Now, let me tell you about Qatar entry requirements and what you need besides your passport.
Important note:All the points listed below must be fulfilled, but that doesn’t mean they will all be checked. For example, hotel reservations are usually only asked about verbally, and insurance is not even checked in 80% of cases.
- Passport: Some sources indicate that the passport must be valid for at least 3 months from the date of entry into the country, but the official information states at least 6 months. Pay attention, as you may get stuck in the transit zone.
- Return tickets: This is important and always checked. Based on them, a free visa is issued in the passport or a transit visa, which is also free.
- Hotel reservation for the entire duration of stay: This is always asked about and can be shown on your phone. Have the name and address of the hotel ready so that you have the information at hand.
- Medical insurance: If you are flying for less than a month, insurance is not required; for more than 30 days, it is mandatory. More information about this was provided earlier.
- $1000 per person for the entire duration of stay: If asked, this can be shown either in cash or by displaying the balance on your card. This is rarely asked about, only if there are questions or if the tourist raises suspicions.
Transit: do you need a visa for a transfer in Qatar at Doha airport?
Here’s a brief summary, as there is a large and useful article in this guide on transit through Doha. There, you can even learn what to do and how to make it if you have a 40-minute layover. But to summarize, here are the main points:
- Transit visa to Qatar is free for all countries. It is issued upon arrival at the airport.
- Passport and tickets are required.
- The main criterion for obtaining a transit visa is having tickets to a third country, not the one you are arriving from. For example:
- Istanbul-Doha-Istanbul: you will not be given a transit visa
- Istanbul-Doha-Ankara: you will also not get a transit visa.
- But Istanbul-Doha-Male: these tickets meet the criteria. The most important thing is that the country you are arriving from in Qatar and the country you are leaving Qatar for must be different.
- And the last criterion for obtaining a transit visa to Qatar is that the layover between flights must be more than 5 hours and less than 96 hours (4 days).
Unfortunately, for those with a layover of less than 5 hours, it is not possible to leave the airport.
- Things to see in Doha, or Doha in 1 day for transit tourists.
- On safety in Qatar for tourists, and how women should dress to avoid being stoned.
Limits on the import and export of goods in Qatar: what is prohibited
In Qatar, it is prohibited to import:
- Alcohol in any volume. As a Muslim country, alcohol is prohibited here and not sold in stores. There is a scanner at the airport exit, and all bags are inspected. All alcohol is confiscated, but there is no fine. If you’re lucky, you might get away with it.
- Cash equivalent to 50,000 QAR or more (about $14,000) must be declared. By the way, the same limit applies to the export of currency from Qatar, which also needs to be declared.
- Equipment for spearfishing is completely prohibited from being imported.
- Anti-Islamic symbols, literature, and other items. It is important to understand that the Bible or a crucifix are not anti-Islamic items. Anti-Islamic symbols are those that portray Islam in a negative light. By the way, you can even end up in jail for this.
- Pork is also prohibited from being imported into the country, even a sandwich from mom with pork sausages. It is not certain that they will search and check the composition, but if they find it, it won’t be good.
- Importing no more than 1 block of cigarettes (200 pieces) is allowed. You can buy them at duty-free on arrival.
I don’t think it’s necessary to explain that weapons, drugs, pornography, cultural and historical values are prohibited for import and export. I recommend reading an interesting article on Qatar’s restrictions, where you will find out what tourists should not do on the streets and what is prohibited in the country.
In conclusion, a visa to Qatar for citizens of most countries in the world is now issued for free upon arrival at Doha airport. Don’t forget to have a return ticket, hotel reservation, insurance, and funds. And then you will have absolutely no problems crossing the border. Qatar is a beautiful country that has opened its doors to global tourism today.
Resources to help you plan your dream trip to Qatar
- Flights at the best prices with discounts
- Car rental: Discovery Cars (cheaper – only by bus)
- Hotels and apartments in Doha: Booking
- Tours, excursions and activities (including extreme ones):
- Comprehensive travel insurance: EKTA
- eSIM virtual sim card with internet in Montenegro