Traveling Luck for Qatar

Qatar is located in Middle East, peninsula bordering the Persian Gulf and Saudi Arabia.

Qatar has borders with Saudi Arabia for 60km.

Land in Qatar is mostly flat and barren desert covered with loose sand and gravel.

Qatari land covers an area of 11437 square kilometers which is slightly smaller than Connecticut

As for the Qatari climate; arid; mild, pleasant winters; very hot, humid summers.

Qatari(s) speak Arabic (official), English commonly used as a second language.

Qatari National Map

Qatari Map

Regions of Qatar

Ruled by the al-Thani family since the mid-1800s, Qatar transformed itself from a poor British protectorate noted mainly for pearling into an independent state with significant oil and natural gas revenues. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Qatari economy was crippled by a continuous siphoning off of petroleum revenues by the amir, who had ruled the country since 1972. His son, the current Amir HAMAD bin Khalifa al-Thani, overthrew him in a bloodless coup in 1995. In 2001, Qatar resolved its longstanding border disputes with both Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Oil and natural gas revenues enable Qatar to have one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.


Qatar Country Profile

Oil and gas account for more than 60% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have given Qatar a per capita GDP about 80% of that of the leading West European industrial countries. Proved oil reserves of 16 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 23 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 25 trillion cubic meters, more than 5% of the world total and third largest in the world. Qatar has permitted substantial foreign investment in the development of its gas fields during the last decade and is expected to become the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by 2007. In recent years, Qatar has consistently posted trade surpluses largely because of high oil prices and increased natural gas exports, becoming one of the world's fastest growing and highest per-capita income countries.

Qatari natural resources include petroleum, natural gas, fish

strategic location in central Persian Gulf near major petroleum deposits

Qatari religion is Muslim 95%.

Natural hazards in Qatar include haze, dust storms, sandstorms common.

Travel Advice on Qatar

Qatar

This advice has been reviewed and reissued with an amendment to the Summary (Asian Games reference removed).  The overall level of the advice has not changed.

SUMMARY

  • You should be aware of the threat from terrorism in Qatar.  Al Qa’ida continues to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region.  These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.

  • A suicide-bomb attack occurred on 19 March 2005, outside a theatre in Doha.  One British national was killed and at least 12 other people were injured.

  • You should review your security arrangements carefully.  You should remain vigilant, particularly in public places.  You should avoid any large gatherings or demonstrations.

  • Around 30,000 British tourists visit Qatar every year.  The main type of incident for which British nationals require consular assistance in Qatar are driving or drink related incidents.

  • We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see: Travel Insurance.


SAFETY AND SECURITY

Crime

Some 4,500 British nationals live in Qatar, and approximately 30,000 visit annually.  Most visits are trouble-free.  Although incidents are not common, female visitors should take care when travelling alone at night and are advised to use one of the reputable limousine companies.

Political Situation

Qatar Country Profile.

Developments in Iraq and on the Middle East Peace Process continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region.  You should be aware of local sensitivities on these issues.  You should follow news reports and be alert to regional developments.  You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.

Road Safety

Driving in Qatar is of a lower standard than in the UK.  Road discipline is very poor, speeds are high and minor accidents commonplace.  This is especially true in Doha.
If you have a motor accident, remain with your vehicle.  It is an offence to leave the scene of the accident or move your vehicle before the police have arrived.  Even minor expressions of ‘road rage’, such as rude gestures, can attract significant penalties.  It is strongly in your own interests to display calm at all times.

Excursions to the desert can be hazardous unless undertaken in an adequately equipped 4 x 4 vehicle.  Always travel in convoy with other cars, take a supply of water and a mobile telephone if you have one and leave travel plans with friends or relatives.

Driving is permitted on a valid UK licence for 7 days only.  For longer periods you should obtain a temporary permit from the local traffic department.  Once you obtain a residency permit, you must contact the local traffic department to obtain a full Qatar driving licence, as you will no longer be permitted to drive on a UK or temporary licence.  Driving on an International driver’s licence is not permitted.

It is an offence in Qatar to drink and drive.  There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving.  Depending on the circumstances, offenders may incur detention, a substantial fine, a prison sentence and deportation.  In cases that result in injury or death, punishment is severe.

You should note that any incident that results in a police case file being opened against you in respect if a driving or drinking related incident automatically results on a ban on your departure from Qatar until your case has been resolved.  Most cases are straightforward and dealt with by the Public Prosecutor.  However more serious cases can take up to six months to be heard.  If a local lawyer is required, the fee will be around QR30,000 (£5000) to initially consider your case.

Sea Safety

Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf.   Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected; and there have been occasional arrests.   Mariners should make careful enquiries before entering these waters or considering visiting ports.

On 30 March 2006, a Dhow capsized in Bahrain.  There were 58 fatalities, including 12 British nationals.  You should exercise care when travelling by Dhow, as the safety of these vessels may not be up to UK standards.  You should also ensure that life jackets are available.


LOCAL LAWS AND CUSTOMS

The importation of narcotics, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material is forbidden.  DVDs and videos are subject to scrutiny and may be censored.  In particular, the penalties for possession of or trade in drugs are severe, often resulting in prison sentences.  It is a punishable offence to drink alcohol or be drunk in public.  Offenders may incur a prison sentence or deportation.  Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system.  You should not carry alcohol with you, including in your car (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home).

You should dress modestly, behave courteously and respect local customs and sensitivities.

Any intimacy in public between men and women (including teenagers) can lead to arrest.

Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar.


ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

British visitors can obtain single entry short stay visas (valid for 21 days) at the airport on arrival, the cost is Qatari Riyals 55, which can only be paid by credit card. Once in Qatar you may extend your stay through the Immigration Authorities for a further 14 days. Cost is Qatari Riyals 55. Longer-term visitors must obtain a valid visa from their nearest Qatari Embassy before travelling.  Qatari Representation in London.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country, or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.  For further information on exactly what will be required at immigration please contact the Qatari Embassy in London:  Qatari Representation in London.


HEALTH

We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling.  You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.  Please see:  Travel Insurance
Medical treatment is adequate but can be expensive.
For further information on health, check the Department of Health’s website at:  www.dh.gov.uk, or consult your GP for up to date information.


GENERAL

If things go wrong when overseas, please see:  What We Can Do To Help
There is no need for short-term visitors to register.  If you intend to live in Qatar, you should register at the British Embassy in Doha.  This can now be done on line at:  http://www.britishembassy.gov.uk/qatar, or in person by completion of a registration card.
Potential job seekers should be aware that those testing HIV positive whilst applying for their residence permit are detained then deported.  There is no appeal process.  Taking a blood test shortly before travelling to Qatar to take up work would therefore be advisable.