- 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.
Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020
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.
The Qatari 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. It is mandatory to wear a facemask in public and to have Qatar’s contact tracing app, Ehteraz, downloaded and working on a smart phone. There are severe penalties in place for non-compliance with these requirements.
The Qatar authorities announced that new restrictions would come into effect from 4 February 2021, in response to a rise in the number of cases and hospitalisations. The new measures include restrictions on the numbers attending workplaces, educational institutions, events, commercial locations and using public transport, and the closure of some indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and amenities.
If you are in Qatar, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities.
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
Entry to Qatar has been restricted since 16 March.
The Qatar authorities announced procedures to facilitate the return of Qatar residents abroad from 1 August. Qatar residents must receive approval to travel to Qatar in advance of booking their travel. The granting of approval is at the discretion of Qatari authorities. Applications for approval must be submitted by the employer or sponsor through the Qatar Portal.
From 29 November, 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 departure has been registered.
Those travelling to Qatar from Green List countries, including Ireland, are required to take a PCR test before travelling at one of the Ministry of Public Health approved test centres, or on arrival in Qatar if there is no approved test centre in the country of departure. It is mandatory to download the Ehteraz app and to sign a declaration to adhere to home quarantine of seven days. Guidelines on home quarantine can be found here. On the sixth day, the visitor must visit a dedicated health centre to get another PCR test. If the result is negative, the quarantine requirement will end after seven days. The status on the Ehteraz app will change to green at the end of the quarantine period.
The Qatar authorities advise that quarantine requirements are determined by the country from which the flight departs. If you transit through another location on the way to Qatar, such as the UK, the Qatar authorities may determine that quarantine requirements for arrivals from the UK apply. To be considered as travelling from a low-risk country, you need to have been in that country for at least one week to qualify for home quarantine. From 22 December, all passengers arriving in Qatar from the UK, South Africa, Netherlands and Denmark are required to undergo self-funded quarantine in a hotel for seven days. Please see further information here.
You should follow the directions of the Qatar authorities.
Qatar’s Travel and Return Policy during COVID-19 for citizens and residents was updated on 22 October.
The issuance of visa waivers on arrival has been suspended since 16 March.
Transiting through Qatar
Transit passengers travelling on to another destination can still transfer through Qatar. You should check with your airline or travel company for the latest information if you are planning to leave or transit through Qatar.
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.
The Embassy recommends that all Irish citizens in Qatar should register themselves & their families with the Department of Foreign Affairs. The Department of Foreign Affairs 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.
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
- 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.