Hayya To Family Visa Changing Process via Abu Samra (2024)

Doha Guides Team regularly reviews this article to ensure the content is up-to-date and accurate. The last editorial review and update were on 03 February 2024.

Abu Samra Land Border is the entry and exit point for those travelling between Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Those who need to change their visa status from Hayya to RP or Visit Visa to Hayya can cross through this border and easily change their visa status without spending on air tickets. However, the process can be a bit confusing for those doing it the first time.

So here is a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the visa changing process via Abu Samra Land Border. We have also included the visa change process by Air Arabia.

UPDATE: Since October 2023, the restrictions for visitors to Saudi Arabia have been eased. Many Qatar residents were recently able to change their Qatar visa (from Hayya to Family RP) through the Abu Samra land border.

Option 1: Visa Change By Land Border

Below are the steps for changing visa by Saudi land border:

1. Visa For Saudi Arabia

Earlier it was possible to exit the Qatar land border and take a U-turn without entering the Saudi Arabia border. In this case, a Saudi visa was not required. However, this may not be possible now as Qatar border officials are asking for an exit stamp from the Saudi border.

In this situation, you will need to get a Saudi visa before exiting Qatar. GCC residents can get Saudi multi-entry visas by applying online. Here is our detailed guide on how Qatar residents can apply for Saudi visas online.

Some visitors have successfully received a Saudi visa by selecting the GCC resident option and uploading the relative’s (sponsor’s) Qatar ID in place of the visa. They have also entered Saudi through land border. However, we cannot confirm if this approach will work always.

Another option for visitors is to apply for a Saudi Tourist Visa through any travel agent or Tasheer Saudi Visa Center in Qatar. For more information on Saudi visas, you can contact the official helpline for Saudi Tourism in Qatar at 00800101091.

It is also important that the visitor has a Qatar Family Visa or Hayya Entry Permit approved and printed.

Once both Saudi and Qatar visas have been issued, you can proceed with your visa change trip as below:

2. Exit At Qatar Border

When you arrive at the Qatar border, everything will be done in your car. You don’t need to come out of your car.

  • Go to the immigration counter where they will put an exit stamp on your passport.
  • At the next counter, a car exit permit will be issued.
  • The last counter is for verification, and you need to keep all the papers that need to be handed over in this counter.

NOTE: In the case that the vehicle owner is not travelling, a Car Exit Permit is required. It can be obtained from the Metrash app on the car owner’s phone. In the Metrash app, select “Traffic”, then “Vehicle Service”, then “Car Exit Permit”, and fill out the required information. You will need to pay QR 10 for the service.

Visa Changing Process via Abu Samra Land Border

3. Entry At Saudi Border

Once you reach the Saudi border, go to the Fingerprint Building. You can follow the signage board to direct you to the fingerprint building. Building # 2 on the right is for ladies, and Building # 3 on the left is for gents. Children can accompany either parent.

If you are a lady who obtained a visa using your husband’s Qatar ID, keep a copy of the Qatar ID so that you can show it at the office.

For adults, fingerprints and photos will be taken. For children, only a photo will be taken.

You need to hand over your original passport for this process. After the fingerprint and photo, they will give you a paper that you have to show at the immigration counter.

Note that all first-time members have to undergo this procedure irrespective of age.

  • Once the fingerprint is done, go to the immigration lane by car. There, they will put a Saudi entry stamp.
  • Once immigration is cleared, go to customs where they will check your car.
  • After immigration verification, go to the counter where they will check the stamp on your passport and car entry permit slip.
  • After clearing all the counters, go to the insurance counter (uninsured car line). There, tell them that you came for a visa change, and you will take a U-turn and go back to Qatar. They will not ask you to take insurance.

4. Exit At Saudi Border

  • At counter one, they will give you a car entry permit.
  • At the second counter, they will put an exit stamp on your passport.
  • At the third counter, they will verify the exit stamp and take the car entry permit paper.

5. Entry At Qatar Border

  • At the first counter, they will give you a car entry permit.
  • The second counter is the immigration counter where you have to tell them that you need to enter with RP, not Hayya.
  • Then, they will check only the QID holder, and the remaining people have to go to the Biometric counter.
  • The Biometric counter is on the right side, and you have to get out of the car for this process. Parking is available.
  • Once the immigration process is completed, you will receive a Metrash entry message.
  • After immigration, go to customs where they will check your car and give you a customs paper. Keep this paper.
  • The last counter is the verification counter where they will collect the customs and car entry paper.

In conclusion, visa changing process via Abu Samra Land Border is a straightforward process if you follow these steps.

Remember to keep all your papers in order and be patient throughout the process. It is essential to have all the necessary documents and permits to avoid any complications during the visa-changing process.

Bonus Tip: Live Stream Camera

This is a live online streaming from a camera in the Saudi border area before immigration at Salwa. You can refer to this before going there to see if it’s crowded or not.

Option 2: Visa Change By Air Arabia

Visitors can change their visa type using an Air Arabia flight to Sharjah (without taking a UAE visa).

  • The process requires 3 hours of transit at Sharjah. Visitors will enter Sharjah airport and return by the next flight to Qatar.
  • The approximate cost is QR 800 to QR 1000 per adult. This can vary depending on the demand.
  • According to the Air Arabia website, passengers travelling for visa change purposes must visit the Air Arabia office or any of the partner travel agents to update their status in the booking. Passengers not meeting the condition will not be allowed to board the flight.
  • You will get a special ticket which mentions “for visa changing purposes”. You may be required to pay QR 2000 as a security deposit with the travel agent. You will get this amount back once the traveller is back in Qatar.
  • Book your Air Arabia tickets from the Air Arabia office or Air Arabia-authorized travel agent. Note that some travel agencies don’t have an agreement with Air Arabia.
Air Arabia Doha - Sharjah Flights
Air Arabia Doha – Sharjah Flights
  • As per the experience of recent travellers, it is better to book a 9:55 (Qatar Time) departing flight and return from Sharjah at 17:50 or 19:30 than 15:05 (UAE Time). This is because you may face issues at Qatar Immigration if your exit and re-entry are within a few hours.

Check Metrash Message

After you re-enter Qatar, make sure the sponsor gets a Metrash SMS like this: “An entry transaction to the country is registered for Visa Number: (3620230*****) FA*****”. If you don’t get this SMS that means the entry is marked on Hayya. Take extra care at Qatar Airport Immigration if the person has both Hayya and RP visas at the same time.

If coming by land border and you don’t receive a message, go to the Biometric and Visas Building, which is exactly on the right side. Explain your problem to the captain, and he will change the entry to RP. Only leave from there when you receive a message, or if you don’t receive a message, check the MOI website as the status should change from “VISA IS VALID TO USE” to “USED INSIDE COUNTRY.”

If anyone changed their visit visa to Hayya before, they didn’t have to take a biometric, and this is where the problem occurs.

NOTE: The guide has been prepared based on the experience of recent travellers. If you have anything to add or change, please comment below.

Special thanks to Mr. Faris Ahmed, Mr. Siraj and others for sharing these tips with us.

Related Articles:

  1. Hayya With Me: How To Bring Family On Hayya Visa
  2. Qatar Family Residence Visa: Requirements and Procedure
  3. Medical Test For Family Residence Visa
  4. Qatar Family Visit Visa: Requirements and Application Guide
  5. Procedure To Change Job in Qatar
  6. How To Transfer Wife To Husband Sponsorship

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106 thoughts on “Hayya To Family Visa Changing Process via Abu Samra (2024)”

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  1. Hi, appreciate the detailed process, I’m sure this has helped thousands.
    My wife is a GCC resident and doesn’t have QID, I have a Qatar-registered car and I am a Qatar resident. I am looking for her to drive the car to GCC country and back, without me being there. When applying for a Car exit permit, it asks for the driver’s QID.
    Q – Will my wife need a car exit permit if the car is registered in my name?
    Q – How can I get a car exit permit when my wife doesn’t have QID?

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi RR, A car exit permit is needed for your wife (since she is not the registered owner). On Metrash you can only issue an exit permit to someone with a QID. Please call the helpline on 109 and check if there is any other option. We are not sure if you can get an exit permit directly from the Traffic Department.

  2. Hi Team,

    I would like to bring my wife in A1 visa a can I change later to visit visa while using Abu Samra border ?

    1. Hi Sheikh, Yes, your wife can exit and come back on a visit visa (after approval). Just so you know, sometimes MOI rejects a visit visa application if the visitor is already inside the country (this happens in some cases only).

  3. Hi
    If changing hayya to family visit, is it true that they need to have an immediate family with them when they exit to saudi border? Example is mother/father need to have the daughter or son with them

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Arianne, If you are taking a Saudi visa by uploading the Qatar ID of a family member (GCC Resident Visa option), then that person (Qatar resident) should be travelling in the same car.

  4. Hi DG,
    We will change our hayya visa to Family Visit visa via Abu Samra, do we need to show a flight booking for family visit visa once entered Qatar? because I believed for RP do not need a flight booking but I am confused if for Family Visit visa it is required because it is a short stay only. Please enlighten us. Thank you.

    1. Doha Guides Team

      Hi Maria, Flight ticket is not needed for land border crossing. But you will need it during the family visit visa application. It is not required if your visa has been approved.

  5. Celestine Andrada

    My brother needs to exit Qatar for changing hayya visa to family visit visa and we’re planning via abu samra border and I will be driving the car. Do I also need to get a saudi visa?

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