If you are traveling internationally and have a layover at Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, you may be wondering whether or not you need a transit visa. The answer depends on several factors like which airline you have chosen, the type of tickets you have purchased, and whether you plan to leave the airport.
This article will answer the question of whether you need a transit visa for Qatar or not. We will also see some of the situations where a visa will be required for transit passengers.
Do I Need Transit Visa For Qatar Airport?
The broad answer to this question is no, you do not need a transit visa as long as you do not leave the airport. Unlike some other countries, Qatar does not require transit passengers to hold any type of Qatar visa if they are staying within the transit area.
However there may be some situations where you will need a visa even if you are a transit passenger. By understanding the visa requirements and applying for your visa in advance, you can ensure a smooth and stress-free layover in Qatar.
Let’s discuss them in detail.
Are You Visiting The City?
The first question you need to ask is if you are planning to leave the airport and visit the city. If you have a layover for a few hours and you plan to spend time sight-seeing or meeting-up with some friends in Doha, you will need a visa. This can be any type of visa such as a Transit Visa, Visa On Arrival, Family Visit Visa, Hayya Visa, etc.
If you do not plan to visit the city, let’s move on to the next question.
How Did You Book Your Flights?
The next question is how your flights were booked. Let’s explain this through an example where you are travelling from London to Singapore through Doha.
(1) The first possible scenario is that you have made a single reservation (London to Singapore) through Airline X’s website, and paid only once. In spite of this, the airline assigned two flights with the same airline: London to Doha on Airline X, and Doha to Singapore on Airline X.
In the above scenario, Airline X is responsible for your transit. You do not have to collect your checked-in baggage, as it will be handled by the airline. You will not be exiting through immigration counters and hence do not need a transit visa for Qatar.
(2) The second scenario is that you have booked a single flight (London to Singapore) through Airline X’s website, and paid only once. But the airline assigned two flights with different airlines: London to Doha on Airline X, and Doha to Singapore on Airline Y (which has a code sharing agreement with Airline X).
In the above scenario, airlines are responsible for your transit. You do not have to collect your checked-in baggage, as it will be handled by the airlines. You will not be exiting through immigration counters and hence do not need a transit visa for Qatar.
(3) The third scenario is that you have booked two flights through different airlines (Airline X and Airline Y) or made two different bookings on the same airline’s website (Airline X). In this scenario, you are responsible for collecting your checked-in baggage.
You will need to pass through immigration to collect checked-in baggage from conveyor belts outside immigration counters. This means you will need a visa even if you are not leaving the airport. You will have to meet all requirements for a visitor visa such as health insurance (for all visitor visas) and hotel booking (in some cases).
You will have to collect the baggage from the Arrivals area and check-in again through the Departures area. Luckily, at Hamad International Airport, both areas are in the same building (on different floors) and there is only one terminal. But make sure you have enough time between the flights. In such cases, we recommend having at least four hours in between the flights.
Citizens of 90+ countries are eligible for visa-free entry into Qatar, which means they can stay in the country for up to 60 or 90 days without a visa.
In general, the requirements for a Visa On Arrival include a passport with 6 months validity, a confirmed onward ticket, hotel reservation, and health insurance. It may also be necessary to book a hotel through Discover Qatar for some nationalities (India, Pakistan, Iran, Thailand & Ukraine).
Some of the countries that are eligible for visa-free entry into Qatar include the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and many European countries. However, it is imperative to note that the list of eligible countries can change, so it is always an excellent idea to double-check the latest requirements before you travel.
You can see the list of nationalities and read more about Qatar Visa On Arrival here.
Since 2016, Qatar was offering a complimentary transit visa for up to 96 hours. Passengers could apply for this visa in advance through the Qatar Airways website. However this service is currently suspended.
According to Qatar Government Helpline, eligible passengers can get a Transit Visa subject to Immigration Official’s discretion. However, the eligibility criteria are not clearly defined. So it is better to have a plan in place.
Qatar Airways Transit Accommodation
Travellers can also benefit from a Qatar Airways complimentary transit accommodation package. This service is for passengers who have a transit time of 8 to 24 hours, with no immediate connections, and applicable on select routes only for tickets issued until 31 March 2023.
The package includes hotel room, airport transfer, and entry visa. You can find more details here.
Please note that you should always check the latest visa requirements and regulations before traveling, as they can change frequently.
If you have questions about Qatar Visa, please contact the Qatar Government Helpline at +974-44069999 or [email protected].
NEXT: Check Our Guide On Qatar Airport Transit Procedure
Frequently Asked Questions
What should I do if my nationality is not eligible for Visa On Arrival?
If you are a citizen of a country that is not eligible for visa-free entry into Qatar, you should check with your airline on how to get a transit visa. You can also contact the Qatar Government Helpline at +974-44069999 or [email protected].
I have a US Green Card / EU / UK / Canada / Australia Permanent Residence. But my nationality is not eligible. Can I get Visa On Arrival?
Qatar Visa On Arrival is only based on your nationality (passport). Having a permanent residence in another country doesn’t make you eligible for Visa On Arrival.
Where can I store my baggage if I want to leave the airport for a city tour?
You can find more about luggage storage at Hamad International Airport here.
- Qatar Visa On Arrival Guide
- How Hayya Card Holders Can Visit Qatar in 2023
- Qatar Visitor Visa For Filipino
- Doha Airport Transit Guide
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