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Qatar travel information

Qatar travel informationQatar imposes an entry ban on all non-Qatari nationals from March 18 to April 1. For more information about coronavirus and entry, see the section Health.

Safety

Traveling in Oatar is considered relatively safe. There is little crime and theft, but travelers should nevertheless be cautious, take good care of passports and valuables, and use safes whenever they can.

As a result of recent events in Iraq (January 2020), there is a tense situation throughout the region. Norwegians traveling in Qatar are vigilant, keeping abreast of developments via media and avoiding public gatherings. All Norwegians are also encouraged to post and update information about their travel and stay in Qatar on the website (about travel registration) mentioned below.

The authorities in Oatar take security issues very seriously. The security measures have been strengthened, partly as a result of the regional situation. All countries in the region are considered to be potential terrorist targets for Islamist extremists.

Photography of oil and military installations, as well as other infrastructure in the Gulf, may at worst cause arrest. In April and May 2015, several Western journalists were arrested for illegal filming of foreign workers in connection with the construction of facilities for the World Cup in 2022.

Transportation: The roads in Qatar generally have a good standard, but high speed and unruly driving style can lead to road accidents. It is recommended to drive defensively and pay close attention when traveling in traffic. Many motorists do not pay attention to pedestrians.

  • Countryaah: Doha is the capital of Qatar. Check to find information of population, geography, history, and economy about the capital city.

The main roads between Saudi Arabia and Qatar may occasionally be closed during the rainy season (December - January).

The taxi industry is closely monitored and considered safe. Make sure the tachometer is turned on.

For desert excursions, several cars with four-wheel drive should run together. It is important to bring the necessary equipment, including water, food, maps, mobile phone and shovel. Travel plans should be shared with family or friends before departure.

Natural disasters: The probability of major natural disasters (earthquake, flood, monsoon) is small.

Sandstorms and fog occur, and can result in greatly reduced visibility and dangerous traffic situations. Poorly developed drainage system means that even less rainfall can cause flooding. You should avoid driving in such conditions and exercise great caution if you are still on the roads.

Crises and Travel Registration - The Embassy will encourage Norwegians who are staying or traveling in Qatar to register with their names and contact information at http://www.reiseregistrering.no/. This will give the embassy the opportunity to get information, and get in touch with Norwegians quickly in the event of a crisis.

See "Practical Information" for emergency numbers.

Entry

Please note that entry regulations may change. The Foreign Service is not responsible if the following information on entry regulations or visa requirements is changed at short notice. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that travel documents are valid for entry and to familiarize themselves with the current entry rules for each country.

In connection with breaches of diplomatic relations between Qatar and neighboring Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Yemen, the United Arab Emirates has decided to close its airspace, airports and ports for all Qatar-based means of transport, effective June 6, 2017.

The Ministry has not received information on how long the situation is expected to continue.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not have a complete overview of which transport routes are affected, and Norwegian citizens who have booked tickets or are planning trips to the area must contact the carrier or travel agency directly.

The Norwegian embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are closely monitoring the situation and are considering this on an ongoing basis.

Those planning to travel to Qatar, or the countries around the Persian Gulf, are advised to keep up to date on information issued to travelers by local authorities, in addition to the UD's travel information at www.regjeringen.no. At the same time, it is important to follow the developments in the news picture.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs can provide advice and guidance, but cannot guarantee that a specific destination is safe. The individual Norwegian citizen must therefore take responsibility for the choices made when traveling abroad, including considering whether a destination is justifiable for himself and his family.

As a traveler, one must take the necessary precautions before and during the trip, including making sure that you have adequate travel insurance, sufficient funds for travel and accommodation, passport with sufficient validity and visa where necessary.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommends travelers to register at www.reiseregistrering.no. Reiseregistrering.no is an offer to Norwegian travelers who wish to register their contact information with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This will make it easier for the Foreign Service to contact you in case something serious should happen where you are. In a crisis situation, the Foreign Service will have the opportunity to contact you via email, sms or phone.

Norwegian citizens traveling on regular passports and diplomatic passports can stay visa-free in Qatar for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. The passport must be valid at least 6 months after the date of entry, and it must be possible to present a return ticket or air ticket to another country upon entry.

Provisional passport (green color), emergency passport (orange color), refugee travel document (green travel document) or travel document for people on humanitarian grounds (blue travel document) are not accepted as an entry document in Qatar.

In the case of a stopover, emergency passports can be used, but you will not be able to leave the international zone for example. delays or cancellations.

You can be denied entry if you have an Israeli visa or stamp in your passport.

For more information on issuing/renewing passports etc. see the police websites.

Under the local sponsorship system (kafala), it is common for employees to hand over the passport to their employer. If this is to be the case, it is important to keep a copy of the passport. Foreign workers, including Norwegians, can be denied leave without their local employer's permission.

Norway does not have an embassy in Qatar, but covers the country from the embassy in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. This results in somewhat longer processing time for consular matters (eg emergency passports).

Import regulations: Import authorization for animals must be obtained from the Ministry of Agriculture. Vaccination certificate against rabies must be submitted. A commercial license must be submitted for the import of fruits and vegetables.

Health

Coronavirus (covid-19): Qatar introduces entry ban on all non-Qatari nationals from March 18 to April 1. Own citizens may enter the country, but must quarantine for 14 days. The entry ban also applies to people with valid tourist visas, business visas and valid residence permits.

International air traffic to Qatar will be halted from March 18 to April 1. Qatar Airways will continue international flights and transit passengers to other destinations will still be able to pass through Doha International Airport during the period March 18 - April 1.

Norwegian travelers should keep abreast of the development of the corona virus. Feel free to follow the local authorities' advice, guidance and instructions on how to deal with the situation. See, for example, the Ministry of Public Health's websites Coronavirus Disease.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs does not create travel advice because of the risk of infection. It is the Public Health Institute that provides health advice. You can find more information and guidance from Norwegian health authorities on the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

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Norwegian citizens should familiarize themselves with local conditions and take the necessary precautions before and during the journey.

In the summer months the climate is characterized by very high temperatures - up to 40-50 degrees - and very high humidity. This can cause health stress. It is important to get plenty of bag and protect yourself from direct sunlight. Drinking water is recommended purchased on a bottle.

Qatar has a functioning control system that ensures that food and eating places normally maintain good hygiene standards.

Doctors and hospitals generally have a good standard. Advance payment may be required for hospital visits.

It is a high standard in most doctors and hospitals. Prepayment may be required. Valid travel insurance is required to guard against expensive hospital stays.

Note that many travel insurance policies do not cover damage that occurs when you are intoxicated.

There are no vaccination requirements for travel to Qatar. Norwegian health authorities recommend certain vaccines for longer stays, especially outside the cities. For further information see the Public Health Institute.

Negative HIV/AIDS test is required when applying for a residence permit. This is done after arriving in Qatar.

Prescription medications: Prescription medications should be stored in the original packaging and carried in the hand luggage. Prescriptions translated into English and authorized by Norwegian health authorities must be brought along. Some medicines that are approved in Norway, such as certain morphine-based preparations and medications for psychiatric disorders, may be prohibited from taking with you into Qatar.

See more information from the Qatar Ministry of Health about the country's health services. For further information in Norwegian see the website of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.

Practical information

Qatar is a peninsula in the Persian Gulf. Doha is the capital. It is mainland connection to Saudi Arabia in the south. Bahrain is located a few miles east.

Qatar is a modern and developed country with tourist facilities readily available. Arabic is the public language, while English, Hindi and Urdu are widely used. There is a great international presence in Qatar.

Emergency Phones -
Emergency Phones: 999
UD's Operational Center: (+47) 23 95 00 00

The climate is very hot and humid in summer. In the period May to October, temperatures reach 45-50 degrees and humidity 90-100%. From November to April, however, you can expect nice Norwegian summer weather.

Currency unit and credit card - The currency unit is the Qatari riyal, which has a fixed exchange rate against the US dollar of USD 1 = QR 3.64. One riyal is 100 dirhams.

There are many ATMs, and most debit and credit cards are accepted in major stores and hotels. Visa and Mastercard are more common than Diners and Amex. Some credit cards from Norway have zone protection which means that they cannot be used without contacting their Norwegian bank to have the zone protection lifted.

Transport - Public transport is poorly developed in Qatar. It is usual to rent a car or take a taxi. Taxis can be flagged on the street.

Addresses are rarely used. Landmarks and known buildings are mainly used for orientation.

International driver's license is a prerequisite for renting a car. This can be obtained by contacting NAF before departure. The driver's license is valid for one year from the stamped date. For permanent residence in Qatar, a local driver's license must be obtained.

If you get into a traffic accident it is a requirement that you stay at the car to the police have come and made an investigation. Without this investigation, car repair shops cannot repair the damage.

Opening hours for shops, banks and public offices - The work week in Qatar is from Sunday to Thursday. Most shops are also open on weekends. Banks and public offices are normally open from 08:00 to 12:30 - 14:00.

Stores are normally open from 08:00 to 13:00 and 1600 to 23:00, and shopping malls from 10:00 to 23:00. During the fasting month of Ramadan (which is shifted about 12 days from year to year), shops and malls usually extend opening hours.

National Holidays - National Day is December 18th. Muslim holidays are moving from year to year. The weekend is Friday and Saturday.

The power supply is at 220 V voltage. British plug (three plugs). Adapter should be brought.

Good GSM coverage. Norwegian phones can be used.

Time difference to Norway - + 1 hour at summer time in Norway, + 2 hours at winter time.

Customs and rules: Qatar is a Muslim country and local laws and customs should be respected.

Dress code: You can initially dress as you like, but it is appreciated if you dress more conservatively than in the West, and cover your shoulders and knees. This is especially true during Ramadan and when traveling outside Doha.

Food & beverage: Alcohol can be enjoyed in the restaurants and bars of the major hotels, but one should not be visibly intoxicated outside the hotel area. In the event of accidents, arrests or the like, you can risk fines and, in the worst case, jail, if it turns out that you have alcohol in your blood. This also applies to traffic accidents that are not your own fault.

With a valid residence permit (not a tourist visa), you can apply for an alcohol license that can be used at selected alcohol outlets.

Public behavior - Some Western behaviors may be perceived as offensive to religion or culture. One should act with respect and familiarize oneself with local conditions. Cursing and abusive gestures are considered obscene and may result in imprisonment or deportation. This is especially true in the face of police and other government officials.

Showing love or affection in public should be avoided. Married couples can hold hands, but there are several examples of arrests for kissing (and more performing activities) in public.

Non-marital relationships - It is forbidden to stay with, or share a hotel room with, a person of the opposite sex if you are not married or have a close relationship with them. This is more strictly practiced in Qatar than in other Gulf countries (except Saudi Arabia). You run the risk of imprisonment and/or fines and deportation.

There is also a risk of prosecution for extramarital sex, which is illegal. Furthermore, doctors are obliged to report to the authorities if they are sought by unmarried, pregnant women. This is true regardless of the reason why the woman goes to a doctor.

Ramadan: During the fasting month of Ramadan, one should pay particular attention to the local rules of conduct. Non-Muslims are expected to show respect for the fasting. You should avoid eating, drinking, chewing gum and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. Furthermore, one should be extra careful about wearing decent clothes.

The working hours and opening hours of restaurants and malls change during Ramadan.

The entertainment offer is very limited.

In 2016, Ramadan is expected to last from June 6 to July 5, but the date is first set in what one sees the new moon. The fasting month comes approx. 12 days earlier each year on the Gregorian calendar.

Homosexuality: Homosexuality and transvestitism are illegal, and gay partnerships are not recognized.

Drugs: The authorities have zero tolerance for drug-related offenses. The possession, use or smuggling of illegal drugs, even in small quantities, is prohibited and can result in severe penalties. This also applies to certain drugs classified as narcotic drugs. If in doubt one should investigate further.

Public censorship exists and freedom of expression is curtailed by the demonstrations in North Africa and the Middle East in 2011. The World Cup 2022 is a very sensitive topic.

Passports are used as credentials at many hotels and checkpoints on various routes in Qatar. Therefore, take your passport both on shorter and longer trips.

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