Qatar travel advice
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- Safety and security
- Entry and exit requirements
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- Natural disasters and climate
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Qatar - Take normal security precautions
Take normal security precautions in Qatar
Safety and security
Conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region could affect Qatar. Regional tensions can flare up at any time, resulting in an unpredictable and volatile security situation.
- Monitor the security situation
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
There is a constant terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Reports of planned terrorist attacks occasionally emerge. Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Qatar.
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.
Be particularly vigilant during:
- sporting events
- religious holidays
- public celebrations
- major political events, such as elections
Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare. However, credit card fraud does take place. Ensure that personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Although rare, women travellers may be subject to some forms of harassment, verbal abuse, or physical assaults. Local authorities’ response to reports of sexual violence may differ substantially from the Canadian context. Foreign women have been detained and accused of extramarital sex after reporting sexual assault.
- Avoid travelling alone after dark
- Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
- If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should report it immediately to the nearest Government of Canada office
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Desert excursions can be hazardous. Off-road driving should only be undertaken in a convoy of four-wheel drive vehicles with an experienced guide.
If engaging in desert expeditions or trekking:
- never do so alone
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- travel in a 4 x 4 vehicle
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you're properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- carry sufficient water supply and pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, both of which can be fatal
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
- obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out
Road conditions can vary greatly throughout the country. While the roads in Doha are generally in good condition, they are often over-crowded and commonly under construction. Outside of Doha, poorly lit roads and wandering livestock may pose a risk. Roads can be muddy during the winter rain season.
Traffic drives on the right.
Accidents causing fatalities are common and one of Qatar's leading causes of death. Drivers don't generally drive safely. They often drive at excessive speeds, are extremely aggressive and reckless. They don't respect traffic laws.
In case of an accident:
- move the vehicle to the nearest parking area if you can so do safely; you can be fined for blocking traffic
- call 999 and wait for the police to arrive
Leaving the scene is considered a criminal offence.
A public bus system is available, though, it runs limited routes.
Officially marked taxis are metered.
- Use officially marked taxis only
- Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter
- Avoid taking shared taxis
- Never enter a cab if it already has one or more passengers
Private car services
Ridesharing application and limousine services are available and a popular method of transportation.
- Be vigilant when travelling in a private car
- Take note of the driver and vehicles' information
Iran and the United Arab Emirates both claim sovereignty over the islands of:
- Abu Masa
Some vessels entering these areas have been reported detained.
Exercise caution if travelling by sea in the Gulf. Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships have also occurred in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report - International Maritime Bureau
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Entry and exit requirements
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 the Foreign Representatives 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.
Passport with “X” gender identifier
While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.
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 foreign representative for your destination.
Tourist visa: required
Business visa: required
Student visa: required
Work permit: required
Residence permit: required
Visas – Qatar Tourism
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 must obtain 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.
You could be denied entry into Qatar if your passport bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel.
Local authorities may prevent you from leaving Qatar if you have incurred loans and debts with a Qatari institution. You must be free of loans and debts to leave the country.
Similarly, a pending legal proceeding may cause authorities to issue a travel ban that would prevent you from leaving Qatar.
You must obtain a health insurance policy recognised by the Qatari Ministry of Public Health to enter Qatar. You can find the list of recognised insurance providers and purchase the insurance policy online.
- Mandatory Health Insurance Scheme – Ministry of Public Health of Qatar
- List of registered insurance providers – Ministry of Public Health of Qatar
Children and travel
Learn more about travelling with children.
Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).
This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.
Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.
Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.
Pre-travel vaccines and medications
You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary.
There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.
Practise safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.
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.
Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus. Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.
Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.
The flu occurs worldwide.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to April.
- In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and October.
- In the tropics, there is flu activity year round.
The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.
The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.
It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.
Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.
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 required if you are coming from a country where yellow fever occurs.
- Vaccination is not recommended.
- Discuss travel plans, activities, and destinations with a health care professional.
- Contact a designated Yellow Fever Vaccination Centre well in advance of your trip to arrange for vaccination.
* 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.
In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions, including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.
If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination.
Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals).
Safe food and water precautions
Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.
- Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
- Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs.
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 of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.
Insect bite prevention
Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:
- Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
- Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
- Minimize exposure to insects
- Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed
To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.
Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.
There is a risk of chikungunya in this country. The risk may vary between regions of a 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.
Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.
Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with 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. About one-third of reported cases have resulted 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 licensed vaccine to protect against MERS.
Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette, which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:
- washing your hands often
- avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
- avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV, and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.
Medical services and facilities
Health care is very good in Qatar.
The country has a strong public healthcare system. Private institutions are also accessible and provide good healthcare.
Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.
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
Qatari and Canadian criminal law systems are significantly different. Laws, penalties and legal procedures may vary.
You must abide by local laws.
Learn about what you should do and how we can help if you are arrested or detained abroad.
Suspects and witnesses to incidents may be detained with limited or no access to legal counsel or consular officials for 3-5 days.
Qatari officials may issue a travel ban pending the resolution of the case. These processes can last up to several years.
Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect heavy fines and lengthy jail sentences.
The consumption of alcohol in public is illegal. Avoid drinking alcohol outside licensed premises.
Qatari law criminalizes sexual acts and relationships between persons of the same sex.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers could also be discriminated against or detained based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or sex characteristics.
Those convicted can face up to ten years in prison.
2SLGBTQI+ travellers should carefully consider the risks of travelling to Qatar.
In 2024, the lunar month of Ramadan is expected to begin on or around March 10.
In public, between sunrise and sunset, refrain from:
Religious proselytism is illegal.
Avoid engaging in religious activities that contradict or challenge Islamic teachings and values. This includes preaching, possessing, or distributing religious literature or material.
Dress and behaviour
Qatar customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs.
Public displays of affection, including holding hands and kissing, is not well socially accepted.
Foreign female travellers are not typically expected to wear head covers. However, revealing clothing is considered inappropriate.
To avoid offending local sensitivities:
- dress conservatively
- behave discreetly
- respect religious and social traditions
- seek permission from locals before photographing them
Common law partnership is illegal in Qatar. Men and women are not permitted to share a home unless they are legally married or are related to one another.
If you marry a Qatari citizen, the Qatari government may inform you that you have lost your Canadian citizenship. Foreign governments don't have the authority to strip you of your Canadian citizenship. If this occurs, contact the nearest Canadian government office as soon as possible.
Sexual relations outside of marriage are a criminal offence.
Qatar family law is different from Canadian family law. Decisions are based on Islamic law.
Children of a Qatari father automatically acquire Qatari citizenship at birth. They must enter and leave the country on a Qatari passport.
If you are involved in a custody dispute in Qatar, consult a Qatari lawyer for advice and assistance regarding your own specific situation.
International Child Abduction
The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. It does not apply between Canada and Qatar.
If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Qatar by an abducting parent:
- act as quickly as you can
- consult a lawyer in Canada and in Qatar to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
- report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children’s Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre.
If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.
Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country’s judicial affairs.
- International Child Abduction: A Guidebook for Left-Behind Parents
- Travelling with children
- Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
- Emergency Watch and Response Centre
Other illegal activities
The following activities are illegal in Qatar and punishable by heavy fines or jail time:
- photographing government buildings and military installations
- littering in public spaces and common areas of public buildings
- trafficking or eating pork
- issuing bounced checks
- engaging in prostitution
- possessing pornographic material
- spitting in public places, including on beaches
- cutting, uprooting, burning and damaging trees, shrubs, and weeds, as well as stripping them of their leaves or bark
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.
Local authorities may ask you to show identification at any time.
- Carry photo identification at all times.
- Keep a photocopy of your passport and visa or residence permit in a safe place, in case they are lost or confiscated.
You can drive in Qatar with your Canadian driver's license for up to 7 days.
You must carry an international driving permit if you plan to drive beyond 7 days in the country. 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.
Driving laws are severe in Qatar. Local authorities strictly enforce them.
The country has a zero tolerance policy for drinking and driving.
The currency is the Qatar riyal (QAR). Credit cards are widely accepted.
If you are carrying more than QAR50,000, or the equivalent in other currencies, you must complete a declaration form when you enter or leave the country.
Items to be declared include, but are not limited to:
- currency, the Qatari riyal and foreign currencies
- travellers cheques, money orders and cheques
- precious metals
- precious stones
You can expect fines, imprisonment or seizure of such funds if you fail to comply with these rules.
Natural disasters and climate
High levels of humidity and severe heat occur from June to September.
Sand and dust storms pose a risk as they reduce visibility and can cause respiratory illness. These storms can also disrupt air travel and road traffic.
Drought and flooding
Qatar has been facing a water crisis in recent years, leading to drought and desertification. While infrequent, torrential rains and heavy flooding also occur in coastal areas.
In the event of flooding:
- avoid the affected area
- stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
- follow the instructions of local authorities
The rainy season extends from December to January. Seasonal flooding can hamper overland travel and reduce the provision of essential services. Roads may become impassable and bridges damaged.
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. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.
The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.
If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.
Learn more about consular services.
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