Want to drive in Qatar? Before you get behind the wheel, read our guide to driving in Qatar using a foreign driver’s license or applying for a Qatar driving license.
Driving in Qatar: General Conditions
Motorists in Qatar drive on the right side of the road (similar to the US roads). Almost all the roads are well maintained. Traffic lights and roundabouts are common throughout Qatar. Traffic signs are mostly in Arabic and English.
Speed limit signs are everywhere and should be followed strictly. The speed limit is generally between 60-100 kilometres per hour on most city roads. The maximum speed on highways is 120 kilometres per hour.
Traffic radars and cameras are installed at regular intervals, especially on highways. Plain-clothed police officers may also observe traffic at roundabouts and on highways.
Important Points to Note While Driving in Qatar
First and foremost, for driving in Qatar, it is a legal requirement to hold a valid driving license.
Car owners are also required to register their vehicles and renew the registration annually. For renewing the registration card (known as Istimara), cars older than three years should undergo a technical inspection (called Fahes testing). In addition, car insurance should be renewed every year before renewing the registration.
- Seat belts are mandatory for all passengers.
- Children under 12 are not allowed to sit in the front seat.
- Using mobile phones while driving is against the law.
- Make sure not to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Some drivers can be unpredictable and aggressive, so keep your calm and make sure to keep a safe distance.
How Visitors Can Drive in Qatar
Visit visa, business visa and tourist visa holders from some countries are allowed to drive in Qatar with restrictions. Below are the various options depending on the length of stay:
1. Driving with another country’s license
Visitors can drive for one week (7 days from arrival) on approved licences from some countries. Visit the Traffic Department at Madinat Khalifa to check the validity of your home country licence.
Citizens of GCC countries can drive in Qatar with their GCC driving license for unlimited period. However expatriates who hold GCC licenses can drive for only 7 days.
Proof of the date of entry to Qatar must be provided on demand. So make sure to carry your passport or entry visa at all times while driving in Qatar.
2. Temporary Driving License
If you wish to drive for longer than a week you can apply in person for a Temporary License which is valid for 3 months. It is possible to extend the license when it expires.
How to apply for a temporary driving license in Qatar
Fill in the application form and submit it along with the following documents to the Traffic Department within seven days of your arrival in Qatar:
- Original license from an approved country
- Passport – original and copies
- Three colour photos – passport size, white background. If you need to wear glasses while driving you must be wearing glasses in the photos.
- Fees: QR 10 for the card, QR 150 for the application.
3. International Driving License
A valid international driving license can be used for up to six months from the date you enter the country. To use an international driving permit issued by your country of origin, you must also hold a valid driving license that is recognised by the State of Qatar.
In general, temporary and international license holders are restricted to driving rental vehicles as insurance companies require drivers of privately-owned vehicles to hold a full license.
How Residents Can Drive in Qatar
Citizens and expatriate residents need a valid and full Qatari driving license for driving in Qatar.
Getting A Qatar Driving License
Eligibility: Minimum age to apply for a driving license is 18 years for light vehicles and 21 years for heavy vehicles.
Expatriates with some specific professions (mainly blue-collar jobs) are not eligible to apply for driving license. Here you can see our list of ineligible professions:
Qatar Driving License Fee: The driving license fee for Qatari citizens is QR 500 (valid for 10 years) and QR 250 for non-Qataris (valid for 5 years). Additional fees apply for driving courses, tests and vision tests. Here is our detailed guide of the process of getting Qatar Driving License:
Qatar Traffic Department
The Traffic Department of the Ministry of Interior handles all matters concerning licensing and traffic violations. The Traffic Department is located on Khalifa Street, Madinat Khalifa and is open from 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 7 pm.
Qatar government is committed to reducing traffic violations and road accidents. Common traffic violations include:
- Driving an unregistered vehicle.
- Driving a vehicle without a valid driving license.
- Using a mobile phone while driving.
- Driving over the speed limit.
- Not wearing a seatbelt.
- Running a red light.
- Driving on the wrong side of the road.
- Allowing children under 10 years old to occupy the front seat.
- Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Not maintaining a distance of at least 50 meters from emergency vehicles.
- Putting a load on a vehicle without adjusting it for safety.
- Transporting a greater number of people in a vehicle than there are available seat belts.
- Obstructing parking spots reserved for taxis or persons with disabilities.
- Fleeing the scene after an accident.
- Parking illegally.
Traffic fines in Qatar vary in price from QR 300 to QR 6,000.
Driving Without Licence
Driving without a valid licence is a criminal offence with harsh penalties for non-compliance. If you are involved in a car accident, your insurance will be void and you may face imprisonment and deportation. Make sure you plan in advance and are holding an appropriate, valid license at all times.
Drivers may accumulate a certain number of points for each infraction. License suspension occurs after a driver reaches 14 points in traffic violations.
The suspension period is three months during which driving in Qatar is prohibited. Repeat offenders risk facing lower point thresholds, longer suspension periods and ultimately, permanent cancellation of their driving licenses.
There are certain serious traffic violations that can lead to hefty fines, imprisonment or even deportation. You can learn more about such serious traffic violations here.
Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has a mobile application called Metrash which enables a wide range of services online. The following traffic services are available on Metrash2 mobile app:
- Traffic Violations
- Renew Driving Licenses
- NOC for Driving License Application
- Issuing Replacement Card for damaged driving license
- Vehicle Exit Permit
- Vehicle / Fancy Number Plate exit Permit
- Fancy Number Auction
- Release Vehicle Mortgage
- Inquiry with Chasis No.
- Traffic Certificates
- Traffic Violation Images
- You can learn more about the app on our Metrash2 Registration and User Guide.
Checking and Settling Traffic Violations
You can check the traffic violations online on the MOI website or using Metrash2 app. Minor traffic violations can be settled by paying the fine amount in person or online.
In cases where you feel you have been wrongly issued a traffic ticket, you can appeal online within 14 days of the ticket. You can also report any traffic violation using the Metrash2 application. Here is our detailed guide:
What to do in case of an accident
Accident procedures are straight-forward. In the case of minor accidents with no injuries, you have to report via Metrash2 to get a police report and proceed with the insurance claim. In case of a major accident or an accident with injury, call 999 for police and ambulance. You can read our detailed guide here:
Driving License Renewal
Citizens and residents can renew their driving licenses directly at the Traffic Department or online through the Ministry of Interior website or Metrash2 mobile app. Here is our step by step guide on driving license renewal:
Get an International Driving License in Qatar
If you are a Qatar resident with Qatar driving license you can get an international driving license which lets you drive in more than 150 countries. We have prepared an easy guide on how to get an international driving permit, which you can read here:
Wishing you all safe driving in Qatar!
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