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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.
- Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) - July 24, 2014 13:03 EDT
- Measles: Global Update - May 7, 2014 10:20 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, acupucture or 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.
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. Consult our Arrest and detention page 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.
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 28, 2014.
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.
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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