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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 the regional threat of terrorist attacks and when travelling by road.
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 terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula, where reports of planned terrorist attacks occasionally emerge. 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. Register with and carefully follow messages issued through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
On September 21, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released a statement threatening retaliation for the American-led coalition campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The statement encouraged opportunistic and indiscriminate attacks against citizens and interests of countries supporting the coalition, which includes Canada. Individuals and terrorist groups in the region may be inspired to carry out attacks in a show of solidarity with ISIL. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare. Petty crime could occur, including banking and credit card fraud. Ensure that personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Although it is rare, 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.
Exercise increased caution when travelling by car, due to recent attacks against foreigners in the region.
Accidents are common. Unsafe driving practices, including use of excessive speed, and poor lighting create hazards.
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 case of accidents without injury, move the vehicle to the nearest parking area (or you may receive a fine for blocking traffic), call 999 and wait for the police to arrive. If the accident caused injuries or deaths, do not move the vehicle, call 999 and wait for the police to arrive. The driver must not leave until permitted by the police to do so, as leaving the scene is considered a criminal offence.
Use only officially marked taxis or reputable limousine services, and avoid shared taxis.
See Transportation Safety 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 both claim 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. Make copies of your visa or residence permit and keep it in a safe place.
Dial 999 in case of an emergency.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. 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. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
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 possess a visa to visit Qatar. Visas, valid for 30 days, can be obtained upon arrival in the country. Overstaying the length of your visa can result in heavy penalties.
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Canadians must possess residence and work permits to work in Qatar. To receive these permits, you must be sponsored by an employer, who then controls the issuance of exit permits for the employee, even for personal travel and emergencies. Canadians working in Qatar should request a multiple entry/exit permit from their employer. If you subsequently break your employment contract, you may be subject to substantial penalties before being allowed to leave the country. In the event of a contract or employment dispute, Qatari authorities refer to the Arabic language of a contract. Transferring employment in Qatar also requires the permission of the current sponsor.
Canadians have been denied entry into Qatar because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - March 20, 2015 14:56 EDT
- Measles: Global Update - March 13, 2015 13:54 EDT
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available in main cities.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
New residents may use an International driving permit for a maximum of six months. In that period, you can convert it into a valid Qatari driving licence without any additional driving test.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
Illegal or restricted activities
Religious proselytizing is not permitted.
Avoid public displays of affection, including holding hands and kissing.
Drunk driving, public intoxication and other alcohol-related offenses, possession and/or use or trafficking in illegal drugs are illegal in Qatar.
Common-law relationships, adultery, prostitution and possession of pornographic material are illegal and are subject to severe punishment.
The laws of Qatar prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. Other related offences include being in a same-sex marriage and promoting homosexuality. Convicted offenders can face up to life imprisonment or the death penalty. LGBT travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Qatar. See Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender travel for more information.
Do not drink alcohol outside licensed hotels.
It is forbidden to photograph government buildings and military installations. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Do not import pork products, alcohol or pornographic material. Videos are subject to scrutiny and may be censored.
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. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
If you marry a Qatari citizen, the Qatari government may inform you that you have lost your Canadian citizenship. Note, however, that 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 Marriage Overseas.
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 and witnesses to incidents may be held for a few days without access to legal counsel or consular officials. If access is granted, it may be severely limited by the Qatari authorities. The Embassy of Canada to the State of Qatar is usually not notified by the authorities when a Canadian citizen is arrested. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in legal processes, including labour dispute, or issue a travel ban, pending resolution of the case. These processes can last up to several years.
Dress and behaviour
The country’s customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Exercise common sense and discretion in dress and behaviour, and dress conservatively. Western women do not usually cover their head. Western women may wear dresses and skirts, provided they cover the shoulders and knees; shorts, short skirts and tight and revealing clothing are considered inappropriate.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around June 18, 2015.
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 and pounds sterling 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 may result in flooding.
High levels of humidity and severe heat occur from June to September.
Sand and dust storms also occur.
Doha - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Doha, Qatar, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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