Stock - Qatar (Airline)
Stock - Qatar (Airline) Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: With airlines and hotels amping up travel packages for football lovers heading to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, you may be wondering if you need a visa to travel to the country. Qatar has visa waivers in place for citizens from many countries including india and Pakistan, along with a GCC resident visa option.

Citizens of over 95 countries are eligible for visa-free entry into Qatar. Allowed lengths of stay vary, so check with authorities before you book your trip.

Hayya for travel from November 1 onwards

These visa rules apply for travellers headed to Qatar before November 1.

For those headed to Qatar from November 1, 2022 to January 23, 2023, all travellers need a Hayya card. No other standard visit/travel/visa-free permits will be issued during this period and Hayya will be considered the entry permit.

UAE and GCC residents will also need a Hayya card to enter Qatar starting from November 1.

This also applies to travellers intending to visit Qatar for any other purpose, but those who don’t have match tickets will have to wait to apply for the Hayya card. Qatar authorities are currently encouraging those with confirmed match tickets to apply for Hayya. Their accommodation will also need to be validated during the process.

All football fans intending to attend matches also need Hayya to enter the stadium, including Qatar residents.

So, if you intend to travel before November 1, you could gain entry based on the below categories of visas. If you intend to attend matches, you would still need Hayya to access the stadium.

Visa waiver - 90 days

For nationals of the countries listed below, the waiver will be valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips.

1. Antigua and Barbuda 2. Argentina 3. Austria 4. Bahamas 5. Belgium 6. Bulgaria 7. Croatia 8. Cyprus 9. Czech Republic 10. Denmark 11. Dominican Republic 12. Estonia 13. Finland 14. France 15. Germany 16. Greece 17. Holland 18. Hungary 19. Iceland 20. Italy 21. Latvia 22. Liechtenstein 23. Lithuania 24. Luxembourg 25. Malaysia 26. Malta 27. Netherlands 28. Norway 29. Poland 30. Portugal 31. Romania 32. Serbia 33. Seychelles 34. Slovakia 35. Slovenia 36. Spain 37. Sweden 38. Switzerland 39. Turkey 40. Ukraine

Visa waiver - 30 days + extendable 30 days

For nationals of the countries/regions listed below, the waiver will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips. This waiver may be extended for a further 30 days.

1. Andorra 2. Australia 3. Azerbaijan 4. Belarus 5. Bolivia 6. Brazil 7. Brunei 8. Canada 9. Chile 10. China 11. Colombia 12. Costa Rica 13. Cuba 14. Ecuador 15. Falkland Islands 16. French Guiana 17. Georgia 18. Guyana 19. Hong Kong, China 20. India 21. Indonesia 22. Iran 23. Ireland 24. Japan 25. Kazakhstan 26. Lebanon 27. Macau 28. Macedonia 29. Maldives 30. Mauritius 31. Mexico 32. Moldova 33. Monaco 34. Montenegro 35. New Zealand 36. Pakistan 37. Panama 38. Paraguay 39. Peru 40. Russia 41. Rwanda 42. San Marino 43. Singapore 44. South Africa 45. South Korea 46. Suriname 47. Thailand 48. United Kingdom 49. United States 50. Uruguay 51. Vatican City 52. Venezuela

India, Pakistan

Citizens of India and Pakistan are eligible for the 30-day visa waiver for single or multiple-entry visits during the 30 days. However, there are some additional rules in place for these travellers.

  • Travellers from India and Pakistan should have passport validity for a minimum of six months
  • You must carry confirmed return tickets
  • Hotel quarantine booking for the number of days advised (one day as of now which ends after negative test)
  • The traveller must carry a valid credit card or a minimum cash amount of USD 1400 (varies, so confirm before making travel plans)
  • Hotel bookings for the duration of the stay must be booked in advance as well, through the Discover Qatar website.
  • Travellers from both countries should have a certificate confirming negative PCR test completed during the 72 hours from the time of arrival
  • Travellers must be fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the Ministry of Public Health and have completed a period of 14 days after the last dose
  • Those coming directly from Pakistan should also present a certificate of vaccination against polio.
  • Passengers arriving in Qatar must download and activate the Ehteraz app upon arrival at Qatar’s entry ports

Visa-free entry for GCC nationals

GCC nationals do not need a visa to travel to Qatar. This applies to citizens of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates. 

No visa-free entry? Try ETA

If you're not eligible for a visa waiver or visa-free entry, you may be eligible for an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA). If you already have a valid residence permit, or visit visa, to Schengen countries, Australia, Canada, UK, USA or New Zealand, you can apply for a free ETA to travel to Qatar.

To get the ETA, you would need to show proof of confirmed accommodation, return/onward travel plans, visa validity (residence or visit based on which ETA is approved) of 30 days, and a copy of your passport ((minimum validity of six months at the time of application).

Qatar tourist visa and GCC resident visa

If you're not eligible for any of the above options, your next best option is to apply for a Qatar tourist visa. The visa cost is QR100 (Dh100.75) and is valid for a stay of 30 days inside the country. The application can be done online through the Qatar Visa Service portal. Make sure you keep your documents and photos ready to upload while applying, and the payment should also be done online.

If you are a GCC resident, you could be eligible for the single-entry GCC resident visa which also costs Dh100.75. You can also extend your stay on this visa. On entry, you may be asked to provide proof of profession. 

Stock - Qatar Airways
Visitors to Qatar travelling on board any airline may apply for a Tourist Visa through the Qatar Visa Service portal. Qatar airways passengers may select 'Apply for a visa' after logging in to 'My Trips' on the airline's website to be redirected to the portal directly.

COVID-19 rules

There are additional rules in place given the COVID-19 pandemic with a few countries on Qatar's red list - citizens from these countries are required to be fully vaccinated (second dose completed 14 days before date of arrival) or recovered travellers. In the case of a recovered traveller, he or she is required to show proof of COVID-19 infection within 12 months of the date of arrival. 

They must also submit a negative pre-travel PCR test result on arrival and undergo a one-day hotel quarantine. A rapid antigen test will be conducted at the end of the quarantine. The cost of the test is QR 50 (Dh50.37). 

The countries on Qatar's red list as of now are Egypt, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Sri Lanka. Visitors from red-list countries who are not vaccinated or recovered as per the rules will not be granted entry to Qatar.

COVID-19 pre-travel registration and exemptions

Passengers arriving in Qatar must register via the pre-travel registration system for people entering Qatar on to prove their vaccination or COVID-recovery status. They must upload all relevant official documents, where applicable, such as vaccination certificates, evidence of previous COVID-19 infection, serology antibody test results (for conditional vaccines), and PCR lab result at least 3 days before arrival.

Although uploading the PCR test result is not mandatory during the electronic pre-registration process, travelers who are required to have pre-travel PCR test, must present the original copy of the PCR test result to the airlines in order to allow them to board the plane, or at the country’s ports (land and sea).

They must also download and activate the Ehteraz app upon arrival at Qatar’s entry ports.

However, GCC residents/citizens and EU nationals/EU residents are exempt from pre-entry online registration if they use other apps to prove immune status as Qatar recognises certain apps used in other countries or regions. 

For GCC residents, you can use COVID health apps used in GCC countries as proof of vaccination/immune status. This includes the Al Hosn app used in the UAE. For visitors from the European Union, the European pass app is accepted while UK visitors can use the NHS COVID Pass. These travellers may also download the Ehteraz mobile application on arrival using an international SIM card to show vaccination status.

220429 Hosn
For GCC residents, you can use COVID health apps used in GCC countries as proof of vaccination/immune status. This includes the Al Hosn app used in the UAE

These visitors (GCC residents/citizens and EU nationals/EU residents) have the option to submit a pre-travel negative PCR test taken within 48 hours of departure to Qatar. In case this optional negative PCR test is not available, they can head directly to an authorised private clinics for Rapid Antigen Test within 24 hours of their arrival in Qatar.

Non-immune (not vaccinated or recovered) visitors in all of these categories are required to submit pre-travel PCR test negative results taken within 8 hours of their departure from country of origin. They are also required to undergo 1 to 5 days of quarantine (differs based on nationality/residence status) followed by a COVID-19 test. Visitors from red-list countries who are not vaccinated or recovered as per the rules will not be granted entry to Qatar. 

These are the applicable rules at the time of publishing this guide, but the rules are subject to change. Always check with authorities and airlines for the most recent updates to the travel rules before making any bookings/plans to travel.