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QATAR - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Qatar. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to demonstrations and the threat of terrorist attacks.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
There is a constant and high terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula. From time to time, reports emerge that terrorists plan to attack specific locations in one of these countries. Targets could include government buildings, public areas, tourist sites and Western interests. Heightened security measures are currently in place and may be reinforced on short notice. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times. Exercise caution in areas known to be frequented by foreigners (commercial, public and tourist areas), monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities. You should also register and keep in contact with the Embassy of Canada in Kuwait City, Kuwait, and carefully follow messages issued through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Demonstrations occur and have the potential to suddenly turn violent. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare. Petty crime could occur, including banking and credit card fraud. Do not show signs of affluence and ensure that personal belongings, passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
There have been reports of physical and verbal harassment toward women. Women should not travel alone, especially after dark. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
Accidents are common. Unsafe driving practices, poor lighting, fast driving and roaming animals create hazards. The main international routes from Saudi Arabia are often impassable during the rainy season (December-January).
Off-road driving can be hazardous and should only be undertaken in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles with an experienced guide. Leave a travel itinerary with a relative or friend. Be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food and a cell phone.
In the event of an accident, do not attempt to move the vehicle, even if it is impeding traffic. Call 999 and wait for the police to arrive. If the accident resulted in injuries or deaths, the driver must not leave until permitted to do so by the police; to do otherwise is considered a criminal offence.
Use only officially marked taxis or reputable limousine services.
Consult our Transportation Safety page in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Exercise caution if travelling by sea, including for recreational purposes, in the Persian Gulf, particularly around the islands of Abu Masa and the Tunbs. Iran and the United Arab Emirates each claims sovereignty over these islands.
General safety information
Carry identification documents at all times. Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.
Dial 999 in case of an emergency.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Qatari authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the State of Qatar for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Qatar, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country.
Canadian temporary passports are not recognized by Qatar. If you are travelling on a Canadian temporary passport, you will not be permitted to enter Qatar and will be deported to the last country you transited on your way to Qatar.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa, along with a round-trip or onward ticket, to enter Qatar. Until further notice, you can obtain a visa upon arrival in the country. However, you should apply for a visa before leaving Canada. Consult Qatari authorities for detailed information on visa requirements. Those overstaying the length of their visa can expect heavy penalties.
Do not import pork products, alcohol or pornographic material. Videos are subject to scrutiny and may be censored.
Canadians have been denied entry into Qatar because their passports bore: (a) an Israeli visa; (b) an Israeli border stamp; or (c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel.
If you are travelling in the Middle East, your passport could come under increased scrutiny by immigration authorities, and the authenticity of your passport could be questioned due to incidents of possible misuse. Contact the nearest Canadian government office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa for advice and assistance.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. Please consult our Children page for more information.
The Agency strongly recommends that you consult with a travel medicine clinic or health care provider preferably six weeks before departure.
The Agency publishes travel health advice for Qatar.
Modern medical care is available in main cities but could be inadequate in remote areas. Immediate cash payment is required.
Dehydration is a serious risk during the summer months due to very high temperatures. Ensure that you are protected from the sun and drink plenty of water.
Laws & Culture
Laws & Culture
You are subject to local laws. Consult our Arrest and Detention FAQ for more information.
An International Driving Permit is required
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Illegal or restricted activities
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Common-law relationships, homosexual relations, adultery and prostitution are illegal and are subject to severe punishment.
Avoid physical contact, such as holding hands, in public.
The use of drugs and alcohol is prohibited. Transgressions could be punished by detention or other penalties. Penalties for using or trafficking drugs, as well as for drunk driving and other related offences, are severe. There is a zero tolerance policy regarding drinking and driving.
Do not drink alcohol outside licensed hotels. Also, you should not be intoxicated in public.
It is forbidden to photograph government buildings and military installations. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
If you are marrying a Qatari citizen, the Qatari government may retain your Canadian passport and inform you that you have lost your Canadian citizenship. However, governments do not have the authority to annul citizenships of other countries. If such an event occurs, contact the nearest Canadian government office as soon as possible. For more information, consult our Marriage Overseas FAQ.
Children of a Qatari father automatically acquire Qatari citizenship at birth and must enter and leave the country on a Qatari passport. Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. It is difficult for a Western woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through the Qatari courts. Minor children of a Qatari-national father must have his permission to leave the country.
Suspects as well as witnesses to incidents may be held for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials. If access is granted, it may be severely limited by the Qatari authorities. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in legal processes, pending resolution of the case. This could result in the delay of a planned departure.
Dress and behaviour
The country's customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly, and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
It is uncommon for Western women to cover their head. Dresses and skirts are permitted, provided they cover the shoulders and knees. Shorts and short skirts are considered inappropriate.
Exercise particular care in your behaviour with others, especially officials, to avoid offending local sensitivities. Verbal insults and obscene gestures may be considered a criminal act and, if found guilty, you could face deportation, fines and/or a prison sentence.
The currency is the Qatar riyal (QAR). Credit cards and traveller's cheques in U. S. dollars are widely accepted. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, take traveller’s cheques in U. S. dollars or pounds sterling.
Natural Disasters & Climate
Natural Disasters & Climate
The rainy season extends from December to January and often results in flooding.
High levels of humidity and severe heat occur from June to September.
Sand and dust storms also occur.
The Embassy of Canada in Kuwait City, Kuwait has consular responsibility for Qatar.
Kuwait City - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Kuwait City, Kuwait, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.