Travel.State.Gov > International Travel > Country Information > Qatar International Travel Information
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Qatar. For the most up to date guidance on Qatar's COVID-19 policies, please see the Qatar Ministry of Public Health's Travel and Return Policy website.
Tourist visas: When traveling on a U.S. tourist passport, travelers may obtain a free visa upon arrival, if they have six-months validity in their passport and a return or onward ticket. The visa is valid for 30 days from the date of issuance and entitles the holder to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, or multiple entries during the 30-day validity. It may be extended for a further 30 days. See the Government of Qatar’s website for visa information.
Former Residency Permit Holders: Former resident permit holders seeking to return to Qatar should carry a “no objection letter” issued by their former sponsor.
Qatar does not recognize dual nationality. If you hold Qatari citizenship, Qatari law requires that you enter and exit on your Qatari passport. Qatari authorities may confiscate your U.S. passport if you hold Qatari/U.S. dual nationality. Should this happen, contact the U.S. Embassy. The seizure does not constitute loss of U.S. citizenship.
Military Personnel should consult the Department of Defense Foreign Clearance Guide before traveling, since different entry/exit requirements may apply. For further information, call the Host Nation Coordination Cell of the 379th Air Expeditionary Wing at 011-974-5551-0815.
Some restrictions exist for foreign residents of Qatar who test positive for certain communicable diseases, including HIV/AIDs. Medical exams are required for individuals seeking residency in Qatar, but not for transit passengers or short-term visitors. Qatari authorities will not bar HIV-positive temporary visitors from entry to Qatar based on their health status. However, Qatar denies residency and employment to HIV or tuberculosis-positive applicants (among other communicable diseases). Short-term visitors to Qatar with medications on their person are advised to carry a copy of their prescriptions. Please verify this information with the Embassy of Qatar before you travel.
Customs regulations prohibit the import of alcohol over the duty-free cap, narcotics, pork products, weapons or weapons-related articles (hand cuffs, laser pointers, etc.), drones, professional photography equipment to include telescopic lenses, as well as pornographic or sexually-related materials.
See Qatar’s website for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Terrorism: Terrorist groups and those inspired by such organizations are intent on attacking U.S. citizens abroad. Terrorists are increasingly using less sophisticated methods of attack – including knives, firearms, and vehicles – to target crowds more effectively target crowds. Frequently, their aim is unprotected or vulnerable targets, such as:
For more information, see our Terrorism page.
Exercise normal precautions in Qatar. See our Travel Advisory for more information.
Areas to Avoid:
Crime: The crime rate in Qatar is generally low. Incidents of violence and petty theft are rare but do occur. There is a large police presence throughout the country.
Victims of Crime: Report crimes to the local police at 999 and contact the U.S. Embassy at + (974) 4496-6000. Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crime.
Victims of Sexual Assault: Sexual relations outside of marriage are illegal in Qatar and subject to criminal prosecution. Instances can result in arrest, fines, imprisonment, and deportation. If a U.S. citizen is a victim of sexual assault in Qatar, we strongly encourage you to contact the U.S. Embassy immediately, prior to contacting the local authorities.
Domestic Violence: U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are strongly urged to contact the Embassy immediately at + (974) 4496-6000 for assistance. Victims may also seek medical care through Hamad Hospital emergency room at 16060 or +(974) 4439-5777 if you are calling from overseas.
See our webpage on help for U.S. victims of crime overseas.
Information on local resources and assistance can be found on the Protection and Social Rehabilitation Centre website and through their hotline: 6693-3999, 6693-3108, or 6693-3919.
Tourism: The tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur. Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field. In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in/near major cities. First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities and to provide urgent medical treatment. U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage.
Exit bans prevent those faced with legal proceedings from leaving Qatar until their case is abandoned or resolved. This can take months or years. The Government of Qatar does not offer any social support for individuals under exit bans.
Reasons for exit bans can include:
U.S. citizens have been subjected to exit bans and/or placed in prison pending payment of debts.
Always carry a copy of your passport for proof of identity, or authorities may detain you for questioning.
Criminal Penalties: You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be arrested, deported, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities, prior to practicing or operating a business.
Criminal penalties for certain offenses are much harsher than those in the U.S.:
Arrest Notification: Qatari authorities do not routinely notify the U.S. Embassy of a U.S. citizen’s arrest. If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy immediately. If you are not allowed to do so, ask a friend or family member to contact the U.S. Embassy. See our webpage for further information.
For more serious crimes, Qatari authorities may not allow U.S. Embassy officials to visit until the initial interrogation is completed.
Qatari police sometimes arrest U.S. citizens without providing access to legal counsel. You could be arrested for being a:
If arrested—regardless of the charge—you may spend 1-2 nights in jail before a hearing takes place. Once arrested, only the Qatari Public Prosecution and Courts have the authority to grant a release.
See our webpage for further information.
Qatari law favors employers over employees. In the event of a contract or employment dispute, Qatari authorities refer to the Arabic language of a contract. Employees have limited recourse if their employer terminates a contract early. If a sponsor files a complaint against an employee who departed Qatar, the employee may be barred from returning to Qatar, even on a tourist or airport visa. Many terminated U.S. citizens have been barred from departing Qatar because of pre-existing debt.
Despite recent legal changes, transferring employment prior to the end of a contract often requires the permission of the previous employer and is subject to approval by the Ministry of the Interior. Additional mechanisms for transferring employers exist through the Ministry of Interior in cases such as bankruptcy, abuse, or repeated failure to pay an employee on time.
Drug Use: Most drugs that are illegal in the United States are also illegal in Qatar, including marijuana/THC, CBD products, and vape products. The potential consequences for use or possession may be harsh.
Clothing: Many public areas in Qatar have dress codes that require both men and women cover shoulders, chests, stomachs, and knees, and that tight leggings be covered by a long shirt or dress. Attire standards can vary between neighborhoods and facilities.
Faith-Based Travelers: Religion is a very sensitive issue in Qatar; treat any discussions on religion with care and caution. The law provides for a prison sentence of up to seven years for defaming, desecrating, or committing blasphemy against Islam, Christianity, or Judaism. Public worship by non-Islamic faiths and atheism are illegal and subject to prosecution.
Proselytizing is against the law. Attempts to covert a member of another religion or even “share your faith” can be considered “proselytizing.” Penalties cancan include deportation or imprisonment.
While you may import religious material for personal use, bringing religious materials into the country for proselytizing purposes is prohibited.
Charitable activities, both religious and non-religious, must be approved in advance by the Ministry of Social Affairs.
See our following webpages for details:
LGBTQI+ Travelers: Same-sex sexual relations between men are illegal, even if consensual. Penalties include lashing, lengthy prison sentences and/or deportation.
There is no law criminalizing same-sex sexual relations between women, though cultural norms are conservative.
Businesses are prohibited from selling and individuals are prohibited from distributing rainbow colored merchandise.
Travelers with Disabilities: The law in Qatar prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities, the law is not enforced. Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the in the United States. Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure.
Women Travelers: Unaccompanied expatriate women may be verbally and/or physically harassed. In deference to Islamic culture, avoid wearing sleeveless shirts, halter-tops, or shorts. Only wear athletic clothing in public when engaged in sports activities.
See our travel tips for Women Travelers.
Journalists: Journalists, including independent content creators and vloggers, need specific visas and permissions to use photography and videography equipment, or to conduct interviews or reporting within Qatar. There is no legal guarantee of press freedom or freedom of expression in Qatar.
Photography: Photographing local people in Qatar, particularly women, is illegal without permission.
Please visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Qatar.
Modern medical facilities and Western-style pharmacies are available. Doctors and hospitals expect immediate cash payment for health services.
For information on the Qatari national healthcare system, see their Qatar Ministry of Health website.
For emergency services in Qatar, dial 999.
Ambulance services are widely available.
We do not pay medical bills. Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas. Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.
Medical Insurance: Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas. Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See our webpage for more information on insurance providers for overseas coverage. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas.
We strongly recommend supplemental insurance to cover medical evacuation.
Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription. Some prescription medications from the United States are unavailable or restricted in Qatar, for example, stimulants, strong pain medications, and some medications used by HIV+ patients. Check with the Qatari customs authority on proper travel procedures and the Ministry of Public Health to ensure the medication is legal in Qatar. Discuss a health care plan with your doctor before you travel.
Contraceptives, Pregnancy, and Prenatal Care: Sexual intercourse outside of marriage is illegal in Qatar. As such, pregnant women must present a marriage certificate to receive prenatal care at medical facilities in Qatar. Unmarried pregnant women should consult the U.S. Embassy prior to pursuing prenatal care in Qatar. Contraceptives are available over the counter, no prescription required, although common brands available in the United States may not be available at pharmacies in Qatar. Emergency contraceptives are not available. We advise all travelers to plan accordingly.
Vaccinations: Be up-to-date on all vaccinations recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Further Health Information:
Air Quality: Air quality is poor in Qatar, with frequent dust and particle pollution. Members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects. Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.
The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals. We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic.
Road Conditions and Safety: For current traffic regulations, see the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Police website.
Driving: The legal minimum driving age is 18. Holders of a U.S. issued driver’s license can drive in Qatar for two weeks, but most car rental agencies require an international driver’s license. Three-month Temporary Licenses are available. International Driving Licenses are valid in Qatar for six months from the date of arrival. Resident expatriates should apply for a full Qatari license. If you are caught operating a vehicle without a valid license, penalties can be severe. For more information, see the Qatari Traffic Services website.
Traffic accidents are one of the leading causes of death in Qatar. The extensive use of roundabouts, numerous road construction projects, and high-speed driving can be challenging. In rural areas, poor lighting, wandering camels, and roads without shoulders create hazards. If you are in an accident without a license, any insurance may be held invalid, and you could be left with extensive bills and legal charges.
Avoid arguments over traffic incidents. Qatari citizens who feel insulted can file a police complaint that can result in your arrest and overnight detention. Drivers are liable for persons injured in a traffic accident. Local police have held U.S. citizens overnight while ascertaining the extent of injuries.
Traffic Fines: Please be aware that traffic offenses are easily captured via well-placed cameras and the fines can be expensive. Unpaid traffic fines can result in an exit ban until reconciled.
Public Transportation: Regulated and registered taxi services (Uber, Karwa, Fox Transportation, and Careem) are widely available and generally safe to use. The Embassy recommends you avoid use unlicensed taxi operators or drivers who approach you and attempt to solicit business. Do not allow the driver to pick up additional passengers along the way. To avoid cultural misunderstandings, females traveling alone should always sit in the back (never the front) seat.
Qatar Rail: The Doha Metro is safe, modern, and inexpensive.
Mowasalat Public Bus: Laborers and construction workers predominantly use this mode of public transportation. The front seats in the buses are generally reserved for women and children. The U.S. Embassy recommends the use of regulated taxi services rather than public buses.
See our Road Safety page for more information.
Aviation Safety Oversight: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government of Qatar’s Civil Aviation Authority as being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Qatar’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the FAA’s safety assessment page.
Maritime Travel: Mariners planning travel to Qatar should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts. Information may also be posted to the U.S. Coast Guard homeport website, and the NGA broadcast warnings.