- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation:
Avoid non-essential travel until further notice:
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advises against all non-essential travel overseas until further notice. This includes Great Britain but does not apply to Northern Ireland. It also includes all travel by cruise ship.
If you are currently travelling outside of Ireland:
Flight restrictions and route cancellations are happening on a daily basis worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will continue to operate. For this reason, where commercial flights are still an option, we recommend that people who wish to do so make arrangements to return to Ireland as soon as possible.
We are working with airlines to show maximum flexibility to those passengers who need to change their existing flight arrangements. Where commercial flights are no longer available, we are working side-by-side with our international partners to identify alternative options where possible.
It may not be feasible or possible for everyone who wants to travel back to Ireland to do so in the short term. We ask Irish citizens remaining abroad to make decisions that safeguard their health and well-being and that they follow local public health and safety requirements. We ask that they remain in close contact with family, friends and their local Irish Embassy or Consulate.
We know that this is a stressful situation for citizens and our embassy network is working around the clock to provide people with all the information and assistance that we can, bearing in mind the situation is unfolding across multiple countries and is not one under our control.
What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
The Irish Health Authorities require anyone coming into Ireland, apart from Northern Ireland, to restrict their movements on arrival for 14 days. Check the Irish Health Service COVID-19 Advice Page for full information on these requirements. This includes Irish residents. Exemptions are in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.
Where to go for more information:
We continue to make updates to our online travel advice for over 200 countries and recommend that you download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. If abroad you should register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and especially their Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Avoid non-essential travel.
There are ongoing regional tensions and, in the event of any incidents, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.
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.
There are confirmed cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Qatar.
The Qatar authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus. You should comply with any screening measures or additional requirements put in place by the local authorities. The Qatar authorities have advised all citizens and residents to avoid non-essential foreign travel. Some flights to and from Qatar have been suspended, and restrictions are in place for people arriving from some countries.
From 16 March, non-Qatari citizens, including those with a Qatar residence permit, will not be permitted to enter Qatar for at least 14 days. This will not apply to transit passengers, who will still be able to transfer through Qatar. This is an evolving situation, and you should contact your airline or travel provider before travelling.
The Qatar authorities have advised all citizens and residents to avoid non-essential foreign travel. Schools and universities in Qatar have been closed from 10 March 2020 until further notice, and some events have been cancelled. Some public venues have been closed.
See links below for details.
If you are in Qatar, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.
- wash your hands properly and regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough and sneeze
- put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands
- touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
Passport and Consular Services
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,
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.
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.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
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
Safety and Security
Safety and security
Be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests.
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.
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.
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, 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
Local Laws and Customs
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.
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. In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 23 April.
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.
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). The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21.
The penalties for possession of or trade in drugs are severe, often resulting in prison sentences. Some herbal remedies which can be purchased legally elsewhere, such as cannabidiol or CBD oil, may be illegal in Qatar.
If you need to bring controlled/prescription medication into Qatar, the medicine should be in its original packaging and you should carry your original prescription. Avoid carrying large quantities of controlled or prescription medication. Some medicines available on prescription or over the counter elsewhere could be considered illegal in Qatar. If in doubt, check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Qatar.
Photography and Social Media
Avoid filming and photographing people without their permission. You can be arrested for filming or photographing sensitive areas, such as religious, military or security sites.
Posting insulting or culturally insensitive material (including videos and photographs) or comments online may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law.
Financial crimes, including fraud, bounced cheques and non-payment of bills (including hotel bills), can result in imprisonment and/or a fine in Qatar.
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. Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (eg electronic shisha pipes).
Swearing and rude gestures
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.
Public displays of affection or intimacy between any couple can lead to arrest.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar.
You should carry your passport at all times while in Qatar.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and 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.
There are occasional sandstorms but although they may restrict visibility, they are not usually severe enough to affect daily life.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
Irish citizens can get a free 30 day visa waiver on arrival in Qatar.
Information on entry visas to Qatar can be found on the Qatar Ministry of Interior website.
If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Qatar, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent/airline or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Qatar.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry to Qatar. A longer period of validity may be required if you plan to obtain a Qatari residency permit.
Emergency Irish travel documents are not accepted for entry to Qatar but may be accepted for transit. Please contact your travel agent/airline and/or the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Qatar for further information.
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:
- UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- USA: Department of State
If you need emergency assistance from the Embassy, then contact us immediately. Our telephone number is: +971 (0) 2 4958200.
If you require emergency assistance at the weekend or on a public holiday, you will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible. When you leave a message, remember to state your name, the nature of the problem, where you are now, and the details of how the Duty Officer can contact you (e.g. leave your mobile phone number, or the phone number of the hotel/hostel where you are staying). If necessary, contact the police also. Please note that the Duty Officer will deal with emergencies only.
Embassy of Ireland
Al Yasat Street off 6th Street
P.O. Box 61581
United Arab Emirates
Sunday to Thursday, 09:00-13:00
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.