Most GCC countries have now banned direct flights from South Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, and Srilanka, in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The ban, which has been in effect for several weeks, is being extended to ensure that the pandemic situation does not escalate.
Qatar allows its citizens to enter the country under certain conditions. Qatar has resumed visa-on-arrival services for citizens of more than 90 countries since the middle of July 2021. This article will explain how GCC citizens can travel to Qatar via this visa-on-arrival service.
Travellers from India cannot enter the GCC countries of Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain directly. They must stay for between 10-14 days in Qatar. This facility is also available to travellers who are traveling to countries that have travel restrictions, such as Canada.
GCC Residents Can Travel Via Qatar
Requirements To Get Qatar Visa On Arrival
Here are the current requirements:
Travellers should have been fully vaccinated against the vaccine approved by Qatar MOPH. This must be done 14 days after their last vaccination. The following vaccines are currently approved:
- Pfizer BioNTech
- Janssen/Johnson & Johson
- *Sinopharm is conditionally approved
- *Sinovac (conditionally approved).
- Sputnik V (conditionally accepted)*
- *Covaxin (conditionally accepted)
Within 72 hours of departure, the traveller must have a negative RTPCR test.
Travellers must be citizens of countries that are eligible for visa-on-arrival. This is currently available for 90+ countries, including Canada, India, Pakistan, the UK, USA, and Canada. The complete list can be viewed here.
Passports must be valid for at least 6 months.
For people who have received two doses of conditionally-approved vaccines, and within 14 days of the second dose, a serology antibody test is required before traveling to Qatar. In this case, only the traveller will be considered fully immunized. Two doses of a conditionally-approved vaccine, followed by one dose Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, will make you fully immune.
Documents Required To Travel Via Qatar
- Two-way ticket
- Ehteraz pre-travel approval
- Vaccination certificate
- Negative RTPCR test results
- Hotel booking confirmation
- QR 5000 cash, International Credit / Debit Card under your name with at minimum QR 5000 balance (for certain nationalities).
Before arriving in Qatar, all passengers must sign an Acknowledgement and Undertaking Form. This form can be found on the Ministry of Public Health website as well as pre-registration platforms website (www.ehteraz.gov.qa). You can also use it to book your flight online.
You should also ensure that you have a valid Visa/Residence Permit/National ID and a Special Entry Permit, if necessary, when you travel to other GCC countries.
Steps to Travel via Qatar
Step 1: Verify that you are eligible
You must ensure that you have been fully vaccinated. These are the details you should include on your vaccination certificate:
- Name of the passenger.
- Dates for vaccination depend on the type.
- Type/name of Vaccine
- If applicable, serial number of vaccine batch
Step 2: Book your 2-way flights
You can either book a return ticket to your country of origin or book an onward ticket to Qatar from the next GCC country.
Step 3: Book your hotel at Doha
Red and Exceptional Red List countries such as Bangladesh, India (Nepal), Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Pakistani, Nepal, Pakistan and the Philippines. You must be quarantined at the hotel for two days starting on 6 October 2021. This can be done via the Discover Qatar website. Tourists from other countries are allowed to make regular bookings at any hotel.
Step 4: Register on Ehteraz to get pre-travel approval
Visitors must register for pre-travel at least three days prior to their arrival in Qatar. All required documents must be scanned and uploaded on the Ehteraz website.
Within 1-3 days of registering, approval will be given.
Step 5: Perform the RTPCR Test 72 hours prior to reaching Qatar
This can be done at any accredited laboratory or medical centre by the Ministry of Health of the country of departure. Your name and other details should be included in the test results, as per your passport.
Step 6: Take all documents with you to Qatar
You should keep a copy of all documents, including Ehteraz approval. Without Ehteraz approval, you will not be permitted to board the flight.
Step 7: Arrival to Qatar
- Register for the Ehteraz mobile application.
- If you have any questions, the staff at Hamad International Airport will be happy to assist.
- Travellers with Ehteraz permits would have a designated fast track line.
- Your passport will be stamped at the immigration counter with a visa sticker
- You can take your luggage and leave the airport. A shuttle bus would take you to your hotel for those who are in hotel quarantine. If you are not able to use the hotel shuttle, a taxi or metro service is available.
Step 8: Minimum of 7 days in Doha before you leave for the next country.
You can stay for as little as 10 days, 12 or 14 days (different rules apply to different countries). Check the requirements with your destination country.
Negative test results can be used to stay in Doha for as long as 30 days. Make sure that your Ehteraz app has a green QR code before you leave your hotel/residence. This code is needed to gain entry into all shops, malls, restaurants, etc.
You should always refer to the MOPH travel guidelines.