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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Qatar rolls out free entry for tourists of 80 nationalities


Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Visit Qatar/Twitter

Nationals of 80 countries, including India, Russia and China, can now visit Qatar for free for up to 90 days at a time, officials have announced.

The landmark move to throw Qatar’s doors open to visitors comes amid an ongoing Gulf dispute that has hit the country’s tourism and hospitality industry.

In a statement, Chief Tourism Development Officer at the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) Hassan Al Ibrahim said:

“With 80 countries eligible for a visa waiver, Qatar is now the most open country in the region and we are delighted to invite visitors to discover our renowned hospitality, cultural heritage and natural treasures.”

A senior Ministry of Interior official added that “further enhancements” to Qatar’s visa policies are under study and would be announced “in due course.”

How it works

Qatar first opened up its visa on arrival system to more nationalities in June, including visitors from South Africa, Lebanon and Indonesia.

At that time, authorities launched a portal to allow more than 30 new nationalities to buy visas on arrival to the country.

Photo for illustrative purposes only. Credit: Sanjiban Ghosh/Flickr

One-month tourists visas used to be single-entry and cost QR100/person.

But effective immediately, tourists can visit visa-free multiple times for 30 to 90 days, officials said.

For nationals of the following 33 nations, the free visit is valid for 180 days from the date of issuance. They can spend up to 90 days in Qatar during either a single trip or multiple trip:

Nationalities that can stay up to 90 days. Credit: QTA

Meanwhile, for nationals of these 47 countries, the multi-entry visit is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and can be extended for a further 30 days:

Nationalities that can stay 30 days. Credit: QTA

Upcoming changes

The new visa changes come after the country has already made four-day transit visas free and available to Qatar Airways passengers transiting through the country, regardless of nationality.

It also now grants free visa on arrival to cruise tourists who dock at its ports.

Tourist arriving at Doha Port. Credit: QTA

In the coming months, officials said they are considering waiving visa requirements for those who have a residence permit or a valid visa from GCC nations.

They are also looking into granting visas on arrival for people who have valid residence in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Schengen countries.

These visitors would be granted a waiver when completing an online application at least 48 hours prior to travel.


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