Qatar Is Introducing Visa-Free Entry For 80 Nationalities

Last year Qatar eased their visa requirements a bit, allowing travelers from select countries visiting for 5-96 hours to receive a free transit visa. I remember prior to that having to pay a significant amount to enter Qatar, even if just entering the city for one night on a transit.

To me that policy seemed backwards. Qatar has the highest GDP per capita in the world, and they’re using their national airline as a way of putting the country on the map otherwise. So you’d think they’d want to do everything they can to encourage you to visit and spend money there, rather than penalizing you for the privilege.


Qatar Airways A380

So while they eased restrictions last year, it looks like Qatar is taking it a step further in welcoming visitors, and I suspect it’s not unrelated to the current issues they’re having with their neighbors.

Per Gulf Times, Qatar has introduced visa-free entry for nationals of 80 countries with immediate effect. Eligible travelers will be issued a multi-entry visa waiver 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.

The exact policy varies by country:

  • For nationals of 47 countries (including Australia, the United Kingdom, the United States, etc.), a visa waiver can be obtained on arrival, and will be valid for 30 days from when it’s issued, and for multiple entries if needed
  • For nationals of 33 countries (including most EU countries), a visa waiver can be obtained on arrival, and will be valid for 180 days when it’s issued, and allows people to spend up to 90 days in Qatar


View from the St. Regis Doha

The Chairman of Qatar’s Tourism Authority said that “with 80 nationalities eligible for a free visa waiver upon arrival, 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.”

While I won’t personally benefit from this (I don’t see myself spending more than 96 hours in Qatar, so last year’s change had me covered), this is a positive development.

Comments

  1. This might benefit you Lucky; the free transit visa doesn’t apply if you’re not on a QR ticket. This would’ve saved my wife and I $50 when we visited Doha for a few hours in transit on an AA award ticket.

  2. makes Doha a competitive tourist destination for Indians, especially as UAE announced a similar policy earlier this year.

  3. I have never been to Qatar, but I would have assumed this to be the case, they are trying to be one of the top places in the world to change planes and they didn’t allow people to check into a hotel in town without purchasing a visa? The short sightedness of that sort of boggles the mind.

  4. The Qatar visa upon arrival was only $30, so not exactly a crushing cost.

    When they changed the rules last year to get the free visa you had to send in a bunch of crap ahead of time to apply, so is this one different in that you don’t have to apply ahead of time and can literally just show up and get free entry? Hopefully they did it that way or else it’s pointless, I’ll spend the $30 and save myself a bunch of paperwork time.

  5. @RCB if you only want to spend just a few hours in QR on a long layover, the $30 can be a ridiculously high fee to pay not to mention the ridiculous paperwork.

    One workaround has been the free city tour but it does not always work if your arrival time would miss the enrollment start time for the first 3 daytime tours which open to enrollment at the same time, but your departure time would make the evening tour time not workable.

    Qatar should have lessened up its visa policy like UAE which has had Visa on Arrival since last year even for the Chinese from mainland China, whose spending power could not be ignored and should not be confined at the airport duty free shops!

  6. Great news. Have a one week conference/project to attend in October and now can avoid the entire visa hastle.

  7. Qatar as usual is so ass backwards. Their policies don’t make any sense. Why do so many of the eastern EU countries get a 180 day visa while some of the richest countries on the list only get a 30 day visa?

    Also the 180 day visa only allows the person to stay a max of 90 days. Lolwtf?! Then why not just have a 90 day visa, what are the extra days for, just to take up space in your passport? Can anyone make any sense of this retarded policy by Qatar?

  8. Adam – you’re being the idiot here, not Qatar!

    The 90 days in 180 days visa is perfectly normal and allows you to come and go whenever you want within that period. Many countries do that. Extra days also don’t take up extra space in a passport – you think the stamp size is proportional to duration!?

    As to differing amounts by country, visa policy isn’t solely to do with how rich people are… I’d imagine the countries restricted to 30 days would have stricter conditions on Qataris getting visas there.

  9. Seriously you are thinking about going to Doha and get trapped when this Golf war star. Qatar trying to be smart by making his airline hotels and restaurants survive the ban! That’s the only reason why they’re opening for free entry! The country is empty now. Don’t get foul

  10. You couldve included a link so we can see the full list of nationalities exempt from the Visa, lucky. Now I have to open a new tab urgh

  11. It’s a money maker for Qatar and they know it. Why set up obstacles for people who want to enter your country and spend their cash?

    I’d been wanting to visit Belarus but refused to pay their exorbitant visa fee. They dropped it earlier this year and I spent a few days – and lots of money – there. I’d like to visit Russia again but won’t pay for the visa. Why should I? Or anyone else? If they drop it I will go, and so will many others. They’re just shooting themselves in the foot with these archaic visa fees. The cash they bring in with the fee doesn’t compare to the cash they would otherwise get from all the tourist dollars.

    Qatar has the right idea. Time for the remaining countries with high visa fees to smarten up.

  12. Nationals of the 33 countries listed below do 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.
    1. Austria
    2. Bahamas
    3. Belgium
    4. Bulgaria
    5. Croatia
    6. Cyprus
    7. Czech Republic
    8. Denmark
    9. Estonia
    10. Finland
    11. France 12. Germany
    13. Greece
    14. Hungary
    15. Iceland
    16. Italy
    17. Latvia
    18. Liechtenstein
    19. Lithuania
    20. Luxembourg
    21. Malta
    22. Netherlands
    23. Norway
    24. Poland
    25. Portugal
    26. Romania
    27. Seychelles
    28. Slovakia
    29. Slovenia
    30. Spain
    31. Sweden
    32. Switzerland
    33. Turkey
    Nationals of the 47 countries listed below do 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.
    1. Andorra
    2. Argentina
    3. Australia
    4. Azerbaijan
    5. Belarus
    6. Bolivia
    7. Brazil
    8. Brunei
    9. Canada
    10. Chile
    11. China
    12. Colombia
    13. Costa Rica
    14. Cuba
    15. Ecuador
    16. Georgia
    17. Guyana
    18. Hong Kong
    19. India
    20. Indonesia
    21. Ireland
    22. Japan
    23. Kazakhstan
    24. Lebanon
    25. Macedonia
    26. Malaysia
    27. Maldives
    28. Mexico
    29. Moldova
    30. Monaco
    31. New Zealand
    32. Panama
    33. Paraguay
    34. Peru
    35. Russia
    36. San Marino
    37. Singapore
    38. South Africa
    39. South Korea
    40. Suriname
    41. Thailand
    42. Ukraine
    43. United Kingdom
    44. United States
    45. Uruguay
    46. Vatican City
    47. Venezuela

  13. Please how long Can I stay in Australia if I go with arrangement I’m intrested in Australia n is there any Charges I really wanna know

  14. Plz I’m from marocco and I wanna go to Qatar I have baccalaureate and 2 years In economic uncertainty what I need to do

  15. Amazing, even after military support and 15 years LNG expensive contract Pakistan is not in the list. This show’s how weak the foreign affairs & credibility of Pakistan. Really shameful

  16. Hi everyone! Is it necessary to travel in qatar airways to confirm your visit visa on arrival? Plz leave a reply.
    Thanks

  17. i would like and guide to somebodys that pakistan is not exempt from qatari visa this is very critical situation because india has exempation from travel visa this is very crutial behavour with pakistan by the qatar government immigration policy and we should think about this seriously friends

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