The initiative, which is effective immediately, makes Qatar one of the most open countries in the region and is expected to boost tourism in a big way.
Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI), Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar Airways announced on Wednesday [August 9] that Qatar will allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, effective immediately.
Citizens of those countries wishing to visit Qatar will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa; instead, a multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.
This means, citizens of India, Lebanon, China, South Africa and 76 other countries will only require a valid passport to enter Qatar.
However, the duration of the visit will be dictated.
This means, citizens from countries such as India -who have been known to account for a majority of Qatar’s total population of 2.7m -will be allowed to stay for 30 days; meanwhile, citizens from Austria, Denmark and Germany can stay for a period of 180 days.
In a press conference in Doha, Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development officer at Qatar Tourism Authority told the media: “The visa exemption scheme will make Qatar the most open country in the region.”
Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days, from the date of issue, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar (multiple-entry waiver); or it will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar with the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days (multiple-entry waiver).
Earlier, in May 2017, QTA and Qatar Airways launched +Qatar, a package that includes a free night’s stay in a five or four star hotels in Doha, alongside a complimentary transit visa.
Nationals of the following 33 countries will not require prior visa arrangements and can obtain a visa waiver upon arrival in Qatar. The waiver will be valid for 180 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips.
7. Czech Republic
Nationals of the following 47 countries will not require prior visa arrangements and can obtain a visa waiver upon arrival in Qatar. The waiver will be valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitle its holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, during either a single trip or on multiple trips. This waiver may be extended for a further 30 days.
14. Costa Rica
17. Hong Kong
31. New Zealand
35. San Marino
37. South Africa
38. South Korea
43. United Kingdom
44. United States
46. Vatican City