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Qatar - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Qatar.
Safety and security
On January 3, 2020, an Iranian military commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport. This incident has led to increased tensions in the region.
The security situation could worsen with little warning. There is an increased threat of attacks in general.
Remain extremely cautious if you are in the affected area.
There is a constant terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula, where reports of planned terrorist attacks occasionally emerge. Terrorist attacks could occur at any time. Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare. Petty crime can occur, including banking and credit card fraud. Ensure that personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times.
Physical and verbal harassment toward women occurs, though rarely. Women should take extra care when travelling alone at night.
Learn more on travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
On June 5, 2017, the governments of Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen announced the severing of diplomatic relations with Qatar. Some airlines suspended flights to and from Qatar. Further measures could affect international transportation. If you are planning to travel between Qatar and one of these countries or to transit through Qatar, verify your travel plans with your airline or travel agent. Monitor local media for the latest development. See Entry/exit requirements for more information.
The border between Saudi Arabia and Qatar is closed.
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. In either case, the driver must remain until the police arrive, as leaving the scene is considered a criminal offence.
Use only officially marked taxis or reputable limousine services. Avoid taking shared taxis.
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
General information about foreign domestic airlines
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre
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.
In an attempt to limit the spread of a novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which originated in China, some governments have implemented special entry restrictions for their territory. Before travelling, verify if your destination’s local authorities have implemented any specific entry and exit restrictions related to this situation.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Outbreak update – Public Health Agency of Canada
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.
We have obtained the information on this page from the Qatari authorities. It can, however, change at any time.
Verify this information with foreign diplomatic missions and consulates in Canada.
Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.
Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.
Regular Canadian passport
Your passport must be valid at least 6 months beyond the date you expect to leave Qatar.
Passport for official travel
Different entry rules may apply.
Other travel documents
Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest diplomatic mission for your destination.
Canadians must have a visa to visit Qatar, which they can obtain when they arrive. Visas are valid for 30 days
Tourist visa: Required
Business visa: Required
Student visa: Required
Residence and work permits
You must have both a residence and work permit to work in Qatar. To receive these permits, you must be sponsored by an employer.
While most employees are free to leave and enter Qatar, the employer controls the issuance of exit permits for essential employees. The employer may designate up to 5% of its employees as “essential”. If you are identified as an “essential employee”, you will need your employer’s permission to exit Qatar, even for personal or emergency travel.
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.
The governments of the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) and Bahrain have implemented measures restricting the entry of Qatari citizens and foreign residents of Qatar into these countries. These measures should not affect Canadians travelling to or transiting through the U.A.E. and Bahrain from Qatar.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
Children and travel
Learn about travel with children.
- Global Measles Notice - July 23, 2019
Be sure that your routine vaccines, as per your province or territory, are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Some of these vaccines include: measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health professional 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. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.
Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.
Yellow Fever - Country Entry Requirements
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.
- There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.
Country Entry Requirement*
- Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
About Yellow Fever
Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada
* 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.
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 children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.
Travellers visiting regions with a risk typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care professional 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 currently a risk of chikungunya in this country. Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.
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.
Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS)
Cases of locally-acquired Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) have been reported in this country.
MERS is a viral respiratory disease caused by the Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV).Some people infected with MERS-CoV experience no symptoms, while others may experience mild flu-like or more severe pneumonia-like symptoms. Some cases can result in death.
Eat and drink safely, and avoid close contact with animals, especially camels. If you must visit a farm or market, make sure you practise good hygiene and wash your hands before and after contact with animals. There is currently no vaccine to protect against MERS.
Crowded conditions can increase your risk of certain illnesses. Remember to wash your hands often and practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette to avoid colds, the flu and other illnesses.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV are spread through blood and bodily fluids; practise safer sex.
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 and culture
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
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. LGBTQ2 travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Qatar.
General safety information and advice for LGBTQ2 travellers abroad
Illegal or restricted activities
Religious proselytizing is illegal.
Avoid public displays of affection, including holding hands and kissing.
Common-law relationships, adultery, prostitution and possession of pornographic material are illegal and are subject to severe punishment.
Do not drink alcohol outside licensed hotels.
It is forbidden to photograph government buildings and military installations. Do not photograph people without their permission.
It is illegal to litter in public spaces and common areas of public buildings. If you are caught littering, you may face heavy fines and up to 6 months in prison. Spitting in public places, including on beaches, is also illegal and punishable by fines.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Qatar.
If local authorities consider you a citizen of Qatar, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services. This will prevent us from providing you with those services.
General information for travellers with dual citizenship
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.
Drunk driving, public intoxication and other alcohol-related offenses, possession and use or trafficking in illegal drugs are illegal in Qatar.
If you marry a Qatari citizen, the Qatari government may inform you that you have lost your Canadian citizenship. Foreign governments do not have the authority to strip you of your Canadian citizenship . If this occurs, contact the nearest Canadian government office as soon as possible.
Learn more about 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. Hire a lawyer in Qatar who can advise you of your rights according to your case. Typically, the parent who is paying child support receives the right to keep the passports of a child even if custody remains with the other parent.
Suspects and witnesses to incidents may be held for a few days with limited or no access to legal counsel or consular officials. Authorities do not usually notify the Embassy of Canada to Qatar when they arrest a Canadian citizen. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in legal processes, including labour disputes. They may also 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 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 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. In 2020, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around April 23.
To avoid offending local sensitivities, exercise particular care in your behaviour with others, especially officials. 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.
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.
The currency is the Qatar riyal (QAR). Credit cards are widely accepted.
Natural disasters and 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.
Dial 999 for emergency assistance.
Doha - Embassy of Canada
For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada in Doha and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.
The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. The Government of Canada takes the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provides credible and timely information in its Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad. In the event of a large-scale emergency, every effort will be made to provide assistance. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
See Large-scale emergencies abroad for more information.
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