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Qatar

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

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

General advice is to avoid non-essential travel, other than to countries on the ‘Green List’  where the advice is to take normal precautions:

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas (including to Great Britain but not to Northern Ireland), other than to countries on the ‘green list’ where the ‘normal precautions’ security status rating will apply. The request to restrict their movements does not apply to individuals arriving into Ireland from countries on the ‘green list.’

On 15 September, the Government agreed that, for the period ahead, this ‘green list’ will be updated on a weekly basis, to include EU / EEA countries with a 14 day cumulative number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 of 25 or less, based on the latest data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). Updates will be made on the basis of data each Thursday, with changes taking effect from the following Monday.

The updated ‘green’ (normal precautions) list outlined below is based on ECDC data on Thursday 17 September, and will take effect from Monday 21 September. Until then, the earlier list continues to apply.

Green’ (Normal Precautions) List to take effect from Monday 21 September

‘Green’ (Normal Precautions) List below remains in effect until midnight on Sunday 20 September

  • Estonia*
  • Finland*
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Hungary *
  • Italy
  • Latvia*
  • Lithuania*
  • Norway*
  • Slovakia

*Citizens considering travel to these locations should note the information below regarding restrictions on entry. These jurisdictions currently have quarantine requirements or other restrictions for arrivals from other jurisdictions, including Ireland.

Potential for restrictions on entering these locations:

Inclusion on the list does not imply the absence of any restrictions on arrivals in those locations. Citizens should be aware that countries continue to announce new restrictions on arrivals from abroad, including the requirement to quarantine on entry. This can include restrictions on arrivals from Ireland. The situation will continue to evolve quickly. Citizens who are considering travel to particular locations are advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their destination.

The latest updates will always be uploaded first to this General COVID-19 Travel Advisory. Country-specific tabs will be updated subsequently, and as quickly as possible, but this advisory is the primary source of information for the latest version of the list.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Irish citizens travelling to locations with a ‘normal precautions’ (“green”) rating are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc. Citizens who are considering travel to these locations are also advised to monitor news and information from the public authorities in their chosen destination. This includes information regarding possible restrictions on arrival from abroad, including from Ireland. The security rating for all other locations remains unchanged at either to ‘avoid non-essential travel’ (“orange”) or to ‘do not travel’ (“red”).

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves.  The COVID19 pandemic continues to accelerate internationally, and there are significant risks associated with international travel. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad are advised to monitor closely our travel advice, and to  download our TravelWise App and follow us on Twitter. Citizens travelling abroad should also register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Should you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in place in the destination to which you are travelling. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. Testing and restrictions may be imposed or may already be in place in other countries. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time.

What to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

The Irish Authorities advise anyone entering Ireland, other than those arriving from Northern Ireland or locations with a security rating of ‘normal precautions’ (“green”), to restrict their movements for 14 days. This includes citizens and residents returning to Ireland. Restricting your movements means staying indoors in one location and avoiding contact with other people and social situations as much as possible.

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a mandatory COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before arriving in Ireland. This is now an online form. Paper versions of the form are also available at points of entry into Ireland, if required. Failure to complete the form is an offence. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Exemptions are also in place for providers of essential supply chain services such as hauliers, pilots and maritime staff.

Check the Irish Government Advice Page for full information on these requirements and further advice on returning from abroad.

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 Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Overview

Security Status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020

Travel Advice

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.

COVID-19

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 face mask 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.

From 16 March, non-Qatari citizens were not permitted to enter Qatar. This did not apply to transit passengers, who were still able to transfer through Qatar.

The Qatar authorities have announced procedures to facilitate the return of Qatar ID holders abroad from 1 August. Qatar ID holders 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 through the Qatar Portal.

Those travelling from low-risk countries, including Ireland, will be required to take a PCR test on arrival in Qatar. It will be mandatory to download the Ehteraz app and to sign a declaration to adhere to home quarantine of 7 days.

Further information on the travel requirements can be found here:  

https://www.gco.gov.qa/en/2020/07/21/government-communications-office-statement-on-qatars-travel-policy-during-the-gradual-lifting-of-covid-19-restrictions/

https://www.marhaba.qa/qatar-announces-quarantine-policy-for-incoming-travellers/

A further test will be required at the end of the quarantine period. If the results are negative, the quarantine requirement will end on day 7.

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. 

Health

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.

Qatar Ministry of Public Health - information page on COVID-19

HSE medical advice to protect yourself from getting COVID-19 is below.

Do:

  • 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

Don’t:

  • touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean


Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:

HSE
HPSC
ECDC
World Health Organisation

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,
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.

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.

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

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

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. In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 23 April.

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). The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21. 

Illegal drugs

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. 

Prescription medicines

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

Financial crimes, including fraud, bounced cheques and non-payment of bills (including hotel bills), can result in imprisonment and/or a fine in Qatar. 

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. 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.

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

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

Additional information

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.

Passports

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:  

 

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

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
Al Bateen
P.O. Box 61581
Abu Dhabi
United Arab Emirates

Tel: +971 (0)2 4958200
Fax: +971 (0)2 6819233

Sunday to Thursday, 09:00-13:00

Contact us