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Qatar

If you’re travelling to Qatar, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Latest Travel Advice

Irish citizens in Qatar who are ordinarily required to forward passport applications or documents for other consular services to the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi should, until further notice, courier them to the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Muscat at the address below:

Consulate of Ireland

Oman Commercial Centre
8th Floor, Suite No.807,

Ruwi,  Muscat

Sultanate of Oman

All visa applications for Ireland from Qatari nationals or other residents of Qatar should be submitted directly to the Visa Facilitation Services Global (VFS) Office in Doha.

Following the announcement of the suspension of diplomatic ties by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE & Bahrain with Qatar, flights between Qatar and these countries have been suspended until further notice.

In addition to the closure of air crossings, all marine and land border crossings between these countries and Qatar have also been closed.

As a result there is severe disruption of transport and communications between these states and Qatar. You should contact your airline or tour operator for further information.

Direct flights between European countries and Qatar are not directly affected.

The Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi, which is accredited to the State of Qatar is monitoring developments in Qatar and the wider region closely. The Embassy is actively liaising with our EU colleagues & other interlocutors with regard to these developments.

The Embassy recommends that all Irish citizens in Qatar should register themselves & their families with the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade. It also recommends that Irish citizens in Qatar keep informed of developments through the local media.

The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade's twitter account @dfatravelwise provides the latest travel updates for Irish citizens living and traveling abroad.

The Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi can be followed on twitter @IrelandEmbUAE

Security status

We advise Irish citizens in Qatar to exercise a high degree of caution.

Terrorists continue to make threats to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These threats include references to attacks on western interests and places where western nationals live, work & frequent. Irish citizens should continue to maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.  

There is no Irish Embassy in Qatar, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Irish Embassy in UAE if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

Other EU Embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Terrorism

Be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests.

Crime

Most visits to Qatar are trouble-free and there is a relatively low incidence of crime. However, you should take the usual sensible precautions: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place. 
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways.
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Qatar, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi if you need help.

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Qatar, you should be careful. Standards of driving are low. Roaming animals and drifting sands are additional road hazards. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driving licence and your  international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
  • There is a zero-tolerance policy on drink driving in Qatar. Offenders may be detained, fined and banned from driving 

Off-road driving

Off-road driving, particularly trips to the desert, can be hazardous unless you’re in a well-equipped and properly maintained 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.

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

When travelling in Qatar, take care not to offend local culture or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals. Be conscious of your dress and behaviour if you intend to visit places of worship.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time. Guide books, local hoteliers and tour guides can be good sources of information for how to behave and dress respectfully.

Sharia law

Sharia law is an Islamic body of law and moral code. Penalties under Sharia law can be very severe, particularly for offences such as theft and adultery. If you’re travelling in an area governed by Sharia law, we advise you to respect local religious traditions and avoid offending local sensitivities. Travellers should dress conservatively and women are advised to cover their legs, arms and head.

Alcohol

It is against the law to drink alcohol or be drunk in public in Qatar and penalties can include a prison sentence or deportation. Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and non-Muslim expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. You should not carry alcohol with you, including in your car (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home).

Illegal drugs

The penalties for possession of or trade in drugs are severe, often resulting in prison sentences.

Forbidden materials

It’s forbidden to import narcotics, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material. DVDs and videos are subject to scrutiny and may be censored.

Sexual behaviour

Public displays of affection or intimacy between any couple can lead to arrest.

Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar.

Personal Identification

You should carry your passport at all times while in Qatar. 

Natural disasters and climate

Climate

The climate in Qatar is hot and dry most of the year. You should take appropriate precautions to prevent sunburn and dehydration, remembering that during Ramadan it is an offence to eat or drink in public between sunrise and sunset. 

Sandstorms

There are occasional sandstorms but although they may restrict visibility, they are not usually severe enough to affect daily life.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens can get a free 30 day visa waiver on arrival in Qatar.

If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Qatar, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy of Qatar in London.

You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Qatar and you should carry your passport at all times during your stay.

More travel advice

Because we don’t have an Embassy or Consulate in Qatar, we can’t give you up-to-date travel advice. But you can visit these foreign ministries for more detailed information: