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All persons driving in Qatar are required to carry a valid Driving License. The Ministry of Interior's Traffic Department regulates the issuance of licenses.
Not all driving licenses from foreign countries are recognized as valid in Qatar. Visitors who wish to drive in the country are recommended to visit the Traffic Department within 15 days of arrival to verify the validity of their permits.
Those who carry approved licenses may drive in Qatar for one week. Drivers may also apply for a temporary Qatari Driving License, which is valid for three months and can be extended.
International Driving License
If you have an International Driving Permit, you can drive a rental car in Qatar for up to six months, or until your visa status is changed from Visitor to Resident.
Qatari Driving License
Citizens of some foreign countries may convert their licenses from home to a Qatari Driving License without taking a road test. For most expatriates, though, a driving test is mandatory.
Those who are applying for a driving license for the first time should register with one of the driving schools for lessons. So-called "half courses" are also available for foreign drivers who need to re-take their test as a result of their licenses not being recognized in Qatar.
The validity period of a Driving License is normally five years for residents and ten years for citizens.
The driving test comprises the following:
The Driving License is issued immediately after passing the test.
Traffic Department Location
The Traffic Department is located in Madinat Khalifa, between Burger King roundabout and D-Ring Road.
Non-Qatari or GCC citizens entering Qatar are required to carry visas. Some visas are issued upon arrival, while others must be applied for ahead of time.
Visas upon arrival are generally restricted to residents of selected countries. The 33 approved countries are:
The United States, Britain, France, Italy, Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Austria, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Ireland, Greece , Finland, Spain, Monaco, the Vatican, Iceland, Andorra, San Marino, Lichtenstein, Brunei, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Korea.
Residents of the 33 approved countries may obtain a one-month Tourist Visa upon arrival. The visa can also be issued online instantly. It is valid for one month and cannot be extended.
Travelers from countries outside the list may obtain a Tourist Visa through Qatari embassies abroad or through booking with a hotel in Qatar.
Joint Tourist Visa
Residents of the 33 approved countries may opt for a Joint Tourist Visa upon arrival that will allow them to travel freely between Qatar and Oman. This one-month visa can be issued online, and is extendable for another month.
Business visas allow non-Qataris to conduct business and work in the country on a temporary basis. There are two types of business visas - one that can be issued upon arrival while the other requires application ahead of time.
Those who wish to embark on a short business trip may opt for the 72-hour business visa, which can be issued upon arrival. The visa is extendable for another 72 hours. Applicants are required to carry proper documentation proving the purpose of their trip.
Longer business visas are available for new expatriate workers and persons conducting short-term contractual work in Qatar. The visa is valid for a maximum of three months, and must be arranged in advance by an approved company or institution operating in Qatar.
GCC Resident Visit Visa
GCC residents of approved professions may obtain a one-month visa upon arrival. The visa is renewable for an additional two months. Applicants should carry proper documentation proving their profession.
Family Visit Visa
Expatriate workers may bring their family members to Qatar on a Family Visit Visa. The visa is valid for one month, and can be extended for up to six months for immediate family members and three months for other relatives. Visa holders who wish to apply for an extension must undergo a medical check.
The Transit Visa is valid for up to 48 hours.
Seamen and truck drivers passing through Qatar are required to carry appropriate transit visas, some of which can be issued online.
Qatar is centrally located on the globe, close to Europe, Africa and Asia. Airplanes from around the world touch down on Doha International Airport every day, making Qatar the perfect place for layovers and visits.
Qatar is also an important business hub, most notably for its robust oil and gas industry. Many trade shows and business conferences take place in Doha throughout the year.
In planning a trip to Qatar, it is important to acquire a valid visa. Visa types include tourist, business and resident.
The local currency is the Qatari Riyal, which is pegged to the US dollar at QR3.64 = $1. Banks and ATMs across the country take major international credit cards and debit cards.
Local Customs and Tips
Qatar is a very tolerant and welcoming society. However, visitors are asked to respect some of its local customs.
Women are not required to wear the hijab or veil their heads in public. However, Qatar is an Islamic country, so it's simply more respectful to dress modestly.
Summer in Qatar can get very hot, sometimes approaching 50C in July and August. It's important to wear sunblock, cover yourself and drink plenty of water when going outside. Temperatures are mild and comfortable from November to April.
Most shops and offices change their hours during Ramadan. Visitors should refrain from eating and drinking in public, except in hotels, during the hours between sunrise and sunset.
Alcohol is strictly regulated in Qatar. Visitors arriving in Doha are not allowed to bring alcohol out of the airport.
Qatar is surrounded by natural and man-made wonders. There is plenty to see and do in the country. Pleasant surprises await visitors of all ages in and out of Doha.
The Desert and Inland Sea
Make a trip into the desert to experience the peaceful beauty of gold-colored sand dunes and the inland sea. Adventurous types may get their thrills from extreme driving over the sand dunes, which can feel like going on a rollercoaster.
One of the most beautiful areas of Doha is the Corniche, its seafront. There is a sidewalk along the bay decorated with statues, flower beds and fountains. Dhows take visitors around the bay on boats daily.
Katara Cultural Village
Located in the West Bay Lagoon, the Katara Cultural Village is a microcosm of the Middle East and North Africa region. Observe the various Arab and Islamic architectural styles and taste the culinary differences between the countries. Katara is also home to an opera house, an all-marble amphitheater, art galleries, shops and various community clubs' headquarters.
Entertainment City will be a massive complex offering a hotel, shopping, entertainment and residences. It will feature a snow dome, canals, a rainforest and water taxis connecting to different parts of the city.
Souq Waqif's history dates back to ancient times when Doha was just a small village. The original market place has been rebuilt to replicate the original. It is now a cultural oasis that has retained the charm of the old souq. Try haggling in this colorful souq that has everything from spices to jewelery and clothing.
Qatar offers a range of museums with fascinating artifacts that shed light on the region's past and present. Notable museums include the Museum of Islamic Art, Waqif Art Center in Souq Waqif and Mathaf Arab Museum of Modern Art.
Al Zubara Fort
This fort was used until recently as a police post and is now a heritage site. Prisoners used to be kept in cells on a ledge accessible only by a rickety ladder. One cell remains open to the public.
Al Thakira is a small village that is perfect for nature lovers. It is famous for its mangrove swamps, in which it is possible to go snorkelling. Fish and exotic sea slugs live in the swamps.
Umm Salal Mohammed
This village's streets display old Qatari architecture.It is also home to the famous Barzan Towers which were built at the start of the 20th century. Barzan means high place and the story goes that pearl divers could see the Barzan Towers when they returned from pearling expeditions.