FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do I need a visa to get into Qatar?
Citizens of 33 nations can obtain a one month visit visa on arrival at Doha International Airport. Among the nationals who can obtain visit visa on arrival are Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Japan, Luxemburg, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Mario, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, USA and Vatican.
However, visitors from other nations who are not included among these 33 nations will have to obtain a visa prior to their arrival in Doha.
Visas are not required for nationals of UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Sultanate of Oman, Saudi Arabia and residents 0f GCC or Arab States who hold prestigious positions including medical doctors, businessmen, engineers and people in such other authorized professions.
Confirm with your airline if you are valid for the visa on arrival, before paying for your airline ticket.
Are there many places to eat a variety of foods?
Qatar boasts a remarkable variety of dining possibilities. Many restaurants offer an authentic taste of Arabia and the Middle East, but all the major cuisines of the world are well represented. Options range from formal fine dining to relaxed fast food outlets and coffee shops. Many top restaurants are to be found in Qatar’s hotels, as well as at The Pearl-Qatar, Souq Waqif and Katara Cultural Village, amongst numerous other culinary corners of the city. Well-known international culinary names include Gordon Ramsay, Alain Ducasse, Nobu, Jean-Georges and Antonio Carluccio, amongst others.
Qatar is an Islamic country but other religions are respected and Qatar’s cosmopolitan population supports many places of worship from Hindu temples to Christian churches. The timing of Islamic festivals and holidays depends on the lunar calendar, moving about eleven days earlier each year.
Is there a dress code that needs to be adhered to?
The attitude to dress in Qatar is quite relaxed, but visitors (men as well as women) should show respect for local culture and customs in public places by avoiding excessively revealing clothing. Context is important. Bikinis and beachwear are acceptable by the hotel pool but not in public places in the city.
What is the airport tax at the airport?
Airport, including transit passengers, will be charged 35 riyals ($9.61) for using airport facilities, according to a statement by the airport.
What languages do they use in Qatar?
The official language is Arabic. English is widely spoken and understood. A wide range of other languages are spoken within the hospitality industry.
What are the medical centres like and should I get Travel Insurance?
There are no major health risks and no special inoculations required by visitors. The quality of healthcare is generally very high. There are many well-stocked pharmacies, with English speaking staff, throughout Doha city, including some open 24 hours. If you are travelling to Qatar from outside the Middle East we recommend you take out Travel Insurance to minimize any costs incurred, should you need medical Care.
Am I safe as a tourist walking around the city?
Qatar has among the lowest crime rates in the world. It is a safe destination with religious and political stability. While normal precautions should be observed, visitors need have little concern walking in any part of the city.
Do the hotels and shops have good Disabled facilities?
Leading hotels, the airports, shopping malls, larger banks and other new or recently-restored public buildings offer wheelchair access, disabled toilets and allocated parking, but visitors with special requirements are advised to check the situation at other locations.
Important telephone numbers
Directory Assistance: 180
Hamad International Airport: +974 4010 6666
Qatar Tourism Call Centre: +974 4444 4106
What is the area code for Qatar?
The country code for Qatar is +974. Telecom providers Ooredoo and Vodafone offer pre-paid and post-paid mobile services.
Is Internet available in most places and is it free in the hotels?
Wi-fi broadband hotspots are available across the country and are easily accessible at hotels and public parks. Please note that internet is part of our hotel packages but is not always complimentary in every hotel.
Electricity – What adaptor do I need?
220/240 volts AC 50Hz. Socket type is square three-pin 13 amp (as used in the UK) You will need a UK adaptor if you are travelling from Europe or the US.
Is the water safe to drink or do I need to purchase bottled water?
Tap water is generally safe to drink in Doha and other urban areas.
What is the time difference?
Local time is GMT/UCT + 3 hours. There are no daylight savings adjustments from the UK. Here is a useful link for the rest of the world https://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/difference.html?p1=8
What is the climate like?
Qatar has a desert climate with year-round sunshine, hot summers and mild winters. Mean monthly temperatures range from 17°C in January to 36°C in July, sometimes reaching highs of 40°C+ during the summer. Rain is infrequent, falling in brief showers mainly in winter.
What are the business hours of shops in Qatar?
Major shopping malls open from 10am to 10pm, while majority of them close on Friday mornings. The timings for independent shops vary, but are generally from 8am to 12.30pm, and then from 4pm to 9pm. Several shops are closed on Fridays. During Ramadan, the commercial shops shut down during breaking of the fast, just after sunset, and open late in the evening.
The government offices work between 6am and 2pm, while commercial offices work in two shifts – the first from 7.30am to 12noon, and next from 3.30am to 7.30pm, although this may vary. A change in timings is likely during the holy month of Ramadan, particularly in government offices, with lesser work hours. Banks are open from 7.30am to 1pm, although few branches, particularly those located in shopping centres open in the evenings.
What is the currency in Qatar?
The monetary unit of Qatar is the riyal (abbreviated to QR or QAR).
There are no foreign exchange controls. ATMs can be found in many locations and most shops and restaurants accept major credit cards. There are 5 ATM machines at the event centre located in the concourse area.
Where can I drink alcohol in Qatar and what is the age restriction?
Alcohol consumption in Qatar involves several restrictions. Luxury 4* and 5* international hotels can sell alcohol to their adult non-Muslim customers. You have to be over the age of 19 to drink alcohol.
Can I smoke in a public place?
Smoking is prohibited in covered public places such as malls and coffee shops.
Women in Qatar may vote and run for public office. Women in Qatar hold leadership positions in several ministries / supreme councils. Although, Qatari women wear the abaya, there are no formal restrictions for expat women, although dressing modestly is a must.
Intimacy – Can I hold hands with my partner in public?
Intimacy in public between men and women, including teenagers, can lead to arrest.
Is there public transport and is it easy to get a taxi?
There is a steadily improving bus system in Doha, and between Doha and a government-run taxi service that is modern but can be oversubscribed at peak times.
All airport taxis are operated by Mowasalat; a Qatari state-owned company. The vehicles are clean, well-maintained and staffed by trained drivers.
You can choose between sedans and vans depending on your seating and luggage requirements. Special taxis are also available for larger families or for passengers travelling with lots of baggage. For your convenience the taxi coordinators will assist you with loading your luggage and boarding your taxi The Taxi Pavilion is located just outside the passenger terminal, a short walk to your left as you exit the Arrivals hall. Please follow the signs, ask at an information desk or use our airport map to find your way.
For the safety and convenience of our customers, we advise to only hire & board airport taxis at the taxi pavilion. Only Taxi’s operating from this location are authorized to do business at the airport. All taxi drivers and vehicles available at the taxi pavilion are subject to high quality & performance standards and a robust lost and found policy.
There are no train, tram or metro systems in operation in any cities in Qatar. A Metro is planned for Doha, but is not set for completion for several years.