In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, most GCC countries have banned direct flights from South Asian countries like India, Pakistan, Srilanka etc. The ban that has been in place for several weeks is being extended until the pandemic situation is under control.
However, the State of Qatar has been allowing its residents to enter under certain conditions. Since the mid of July 2021, Qatar has also resumed visa on arrival services to citizens of 90+ countries. This article explains how GCC residents can travel via Qatar using this visa on arrival service.
07 OCTOBER 2021 UPDATE: Qatar has announced a new travel and quarantine policy which came into force on October 6, 2021. This article has been updated with the new travel policy.
- Requirements To Get Qatar Visa On Arrival
- Documents Required To Travel Via Qatar
- Steps To Travel Via Qatar
- Step 1: Ensure you are eligible
- Step 2: Book your two-way flight tickets
- Step 3: Book your hotel in Doha
- Step 4: Register on the Ehteraz website for pre-travel approval
- Step 5: Do the RT-PCR Test 72 hours before reaching Qatar
- Step 6: Travel to Qatar with all the documents
- Step 7: Arrival in Qatar
- Step 8: Stay in Doha for minimum days before leaving to the next country
Since travellers from countries like India are not allowed to directly enter many GCC countries (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and UAE), they have to stay in a third country like Qatar for 10-14 days. Travellers to other countries with travel restrictions (like Canada) can also use this facility.
Requirements To Get Qatar Visa On Arrival
Below are the current requirements in place:
- The traveller should be fully vaccinated with a vaccine approved by Qatar MOPH and 14 days have passed after the last vaccine dose. Currently the approved vaccines are:
- Pfizer BioNTech
- Janssen/Johnson & Johson
- Sinopharm (conditionally approved)*
- Sinovac (conditionally approved)*
- Sputnik V (conditionally approved)*
- Covaxin (conditionally approved)*
- The traveller should have a negative RT-PCR test result within 72 hours of travel.
- The traveller must be citizen of a country eligible for visa on arrival. Currently 90+ countries like India, Pakistan, UK, US, and Canada are eligible for this. You can see the full list of countries here.
- The passport must be valid for 6 months.
* Serology Antibody test with a positive result is mandatory before travelling to Qatar for people with two doses of conditionally approved vaccines and 14 days after the second dose, in which case only the traveller will be considered fully immune. People who have received two doses of a conditionally approved vaccine followed by one dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccine and after 14 days from the last dose will be considered fully immune.
Documents Required To Travel Via Qatar
- Two-way flight ticket
- Ehteraz pre-travel approval
- Vaccination certificate
- Negative RT-PCR test result
- Hotel booking confirmation
- QR 5000 in cash or International Credit / Debit card under your name with at least QR 5000 balance (for some nationalities)
All passengers must sign an Undertaking and Acknowledgement Form before arriving in Qatar. The form is available on the Ministry of Public Health website, pre-registration platform website (www.ehteraz.gov.qa) and airline online booking form.
In addition to this, if you are travelling to another GCC country, make sure you meet their entry requirements like valid Visa/Residence Permit/National ID, Special Entry Permit if required etc.
Steps To Travel Via Qatar
Step 1: Ensure you are eligible
Make sure you are fully vaccinated and meet the eligibility requirements given above. The vaccination certificate should have the following information:
- Name of the passenger and it must match the passport
- Dose dates according to type of the vaccine
- Type/name of the vaccine
- Serial number of the vaccine batch (if any)
Step 2: Book your two-way flight tickets
Either you can book a ticket back to your country of departure or you can book an onward ticket from Qatar to the next GCC country.
Step 3: Book your hotel in Doha
For travellers from Red list and Exceptional Red list countries like Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka etc. should be hotel quarantined for the two days (from 6th October 2021) using the Discover Qatar website. Travellers from other countries can make normal bookings at any hotel.
Step 4: Register on the Ehteraz website for pre-travel approval
The pre-travel registration is compulsory for visitors and should be done at least 3 days before arrival to Qatar. All the required documents should be scanned and uploaded to the Ehteraz website.
Make sure to check our detailed guide on how to do the Ehteraz pre-registration
After the registration is done, you will get approval within 1-3 days.
Step 5: Do the RT-PCR Test 72 hours before reaching Qatar
This can be done from any laboratory / medical centre accredited by the local Ministry of Health in the country of departure. The test result should have your name and other details as per your passport.
Step 6: Travel to Qatar with all the documents
Make sure to carry printouts of all the above documents including Ehteraz approval. You will not be allowed to board the flight without Ehteraz approval.
Step 7: Arrival in Qatar
- Download and register for the Ehteraz mobile app.
- The staff at Hamad International Airport would assist you if required.
- There would be a designated fast-track line for travellers with Ehteraz permit.
- At the immigration counter, your passport will be stamped with a visa sticker.
- You can collect your baggage and leave the airport. For travellers on hotel quarantine there would be special shuttle bus to the hotel. Others can use a taxi, metro service or hotel shuttle if available.
Step 8: Stay in Doha for minimum days before leaving to the next country
The minimum number of days to stay may be 10, 12 or 14 (different rules for different countries). Please check the requirement with your destination country.
If your test results are negative you can stay anywhere in Doha for up to 30 days. Before going out of your hotel/residence, make sure your Ehteraz app is showing a green QR code. This QR code is required for entry to all shops, malls, restaurants etc.
Please make sure to check the MOPH travel guidelines from time to time.
READ NEXT: Complete Guide To Qatar Visa On Arrival
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