- 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
High Degree of Caution
General Travel Advice
Irish citizens can obtain a free 30-day visa waiver to enter the country on arrival in Qatar.
A valid passport is required for travel to Qatar. Irish passports should have a minimum validity of six months. Passport cards cannot be used.
For more information on the entry and exit requirements, please see the Additional Information tab.
All travellers entering Qatar are required to obtain health insurance with any insurance company that is registered with the Ministry of Public Health. You can get your health insurance on arrival. However, we strongly advise securing health insurance before travelling.
Visitors must purchase an insurance policy from a registered Ministry of Public Health insurance provider, the premium for the Mandatory Visitors’ Health Insurance policy is QAR 50 per month.
A list of registered insurance providers can be found here.
Passengers should check with their airline carrier or travel company for the latest information if they are planning to transit through Qatar. Flights are subject to change or cancellation at short notice.
Qatar is a Muslim country. Laws and customs are very different to those in Ireland and other western countries. It is important to respect local customs, laws, and religions while in Qatar. There can be serious penalties, including custodial sentences, for doing something that may not be illegal in Ireland. See Local Laws and Customs tab.
Visitors to Qatar are advised to follow the guidance of national and local authorities and stay fully informed of what's going on by monitoring local news and social media.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
You can contact the emergency services in Qatar by dialling 999.
Our tips for Safe Travels:
- Get comprehensive travel insurance that covers all your planned activities.
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly if there’s an unforeseen crisis like a natural disaster or a family emergency.
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates.
- Read our ‘Know Before You Go’ guide.
As there is no Irish Embassy in Qatar, we are limited in the help we can offer you in an emergency. However, if you need assistance, you can contact the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi.
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) in your hotel or with family or friends at home. Make sure that you have a screen shot of your passport on your phone.
- 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.
Irish citizens can obtain a free 30 day visa waiver on arrival in Qatar.
Information on entry visas for 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.
Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) in your hotel or with family or friends at home. Make sure that you have a screen shot of your passport on your phone.
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
Monday - 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.