Good To Know - Qatar
Nationals of the following countries can apply for an entry visa upon arrival to Qatar or at the Embassy. The cost of a visa for a month is QR100 per person, and an additional 50 QR per companion registered on your visa.
Nationals of other countries can apply for a visa by contacting the Ministry of Interior in Doha, through a relative or a friend. You need to send them copies of your passport. This process takes from three to seven business days. For additional information, contact the Embassy of Qatar in your country. Please note that on arrival passengers at Doha Airport may be requested by Qatar immigration, to provide proof of confirmed hotel reservation, confirmed return or onward air ticket and sufficient funds of at least 1370 USD or equivalent or a valid major international credit card. Entry into the country will be at the discretion of Qatar Immigration.
For more information on Passport, Visa & Health travel document requirements please check:
Note: If your country is not listed above, please check with your nearest Qatar Embassy/Consulate for any updates or go to Visa to apply for a tourist visa.
Please note that visa, transit and entry requirements vary from country to country, and can change with little or no notice. The resources listed on this page are intended as a guide, but please refer to the relevant embassy or consulate of all the countries on your itinerary as well as your destination country for the most up-to-date information.
Alcohol is only available in bars attached to international hotels such as the Ramada, W Hotel, Grand Hyatt, the Ritz-Carlton, etc. Bars are now required that patrons show identification at the door, so tourists will need to keep their passport on them when visiting these establishments. To purchase alcohol outside these bars, you must have a Residence Permit and apply for a alcohol license. When you have that, you can purchase a certain amount of alcohol each month (equaling 10% of your salary) from one bottle shop on the outskirts of town know as a Qatar Distribution Company (QDC). It is not permitted to bring alcohol into the country and customs at Doha airport will confiscate any alcohol they find - all bags are X-rayed and a receipt is issued for you to reclaim your goods when you leave the country.
Banking hours are from 8.00 to 12.00, from Sunday till Thursday.
General shop hours are from 08.30 to 12.30 and 16.00 to 22.00, from Saturday till Thursday.
Shopping malls are open from 09.00 to 22.00, from Saturday till Thursday and 14.00 to 22:00 on Fridays.
The weekend is Friday and Saturday.
Qatar has a desert climate of hot summer and relatively warm winter. In summer, the temperature ranges between 25°C and 46°C. Rainfall in the winter is minimal and on average does not exceed 75.2 mm per year. The best time to visit Qatar is between October and April, when the temperature dips. The coolest months are December, January and February.
Men and women should dress modestly as a courtesy to both Qataris and Muslims. Swimsuits and beachwear are accepted at the hotel beaches (don’t forget sunscreen), but it is not appropriate to show too much skin in other public areas. Tops should cover the shoulders and upper arms, and skirts or shorts should fall to or below the knee. Women are not obliged to cover their hair. Visitors should be thoughtful of their clothing, particularly in the Holy Month of Ramadan. The extreme heat and high humidity of summertime means light-weight fibres are advisable; covering up susceptible parts of your body whilst outside they will also prevent sunburn. However a jumper or wrap may be needed inside malls, cinemas and restaurants, as the air conditioning can be fierce. Wintertime can be chilly, especially in the evenings, and there is also a chance of rain, so coats and closed shoes will be useful.
American Express, Diners Club, Visa and Master Card are generally accepted in all major restaurants, hotels and shops.
The official currency is the Qatari Riyal (QR), which is divided into 100 Dirhams. The exchange parity has been set at the fixed rate of USD = 3.65 QR's.
Most hotels require credit card or cash deposit at check-in for incidental charges.
Tap water is desalinated sea water; therefore it is advisable to purchase bottled water. Most of the hotels are providing complimentary bottles of water every day in the rooms.
Arabic is the official and main language, but English is widely spoken in every part of the country. Despite the fact that most Qatari people speak fluently English, they feel honoured to see their guests speaking a few words in Arabic.
GMT + 3 hours
The Islamic calendar goes along with the moon. The Islamic year is called Hijri, which has 354 or 355 days and 12 Lunar months. Therefore, a large number of Public Holidays are not fixed and are confirmed only 24 hours in advance.
Pride and Loyalty Day: 18 December in every year.
Eid Al-Fitr: 4 days from 1st to 4th of Shawwal of al-Hijrah.
Eid Al-Adha: 5 days from 10th to 15th of Zilhijjah of al-Hijrah.
Friday and Saturday as a weekend.
Taking photographs of government and military buildings, palaces and police stations are forbidden. Ask local people before taking a photograph of them. It is forbidden to take pictures of local women.
Postal services in Qatar are managed by Q-Post. Postal services offered include regular letters and parcel postage, along with bill payments and money transfer. There are over 200 post boxes around the country, including a few in prominent tourist destinations like Katara and the museums.
Ramadan is the name of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, it follows Shaban (the eighth month), and is followed by the month of Shawwal. It is an important period of religious significance for Muslims who observe the period with daytime fasting, worship and spiritual contemplation.Ramadan is regarded as the holiest month in the Islamic calendar because Muslims believe that the Qur'an (Koran) was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) during the month of Ramadan on the night of Laylat al Qadr. During the holy month of Ramadan it is strictly prohibited to eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours. Also chewing gum is not allowed. The tourists will experience some limitations in daily life and in the hotels. Hotels will have only limited options for dining, but alcohol won't be served until after Iftar.Supermarkets and service stations are open with food and drink available for purchase but consuming in public is not allowed. Food courts will be closed during the day, except in some of the Dubai free zones and at Dubai International Airport. Ramadan in 2015 is dated for: start on 19 June, ending 17 July.
Islam is the official religion of Qatar, but other religions are respected.
Shopping is serious fun in Qatar. Your holiday in Qatar would not be complete without a visit to SouqhWaqif. The traditional labyrinth of narrow streets has been renovated honouring the traditional Qatari architecture. Here you can find all the ancient handicrafts, haggle over the price of a carpet or buy anything from incense to gold jewellery. In addition, this is the perfect place to taste some of the local dishes in one of the many cafés and restaurants.
Qatar’s shopping malls have achieved international fame and for many visitors a day spent at one of the spacious malls is a must have feature of their holiday in Qatar. Many famous Western department stores have a branch in Doha, such as Debenhams, Marks &Spencers and Virgin, while every mall hosts a large number of luxury and designer brand stores. From modern shopping malls to traditional souks, it's all here. List of Qatar Shopping Centre: Villagio, Souq Waqif, Royal Plaza and City Center Doha.
The national transport company Mowasalat operates the bus, taxi and limousine service Karwa. Taxi fares around Doha will be between 20 QR (5.50 USD) and 40 QR (10.95 USD). The meter starts running at 4 QR (1.09 USD) then 1.20 QR (0.32 USD) per kilometre inside Doha and 1.80 QR (0.49 USD) outside Doha. The taxi fare from the airport to any destination in Doha should not exceed 25 QR (7 USD). Limousines are also available with a fixed starting charge of 20 QR (5.40 USD).