Those wishing to drive in Qatar will need a Qatari driving licence. The procedure now is simpler than before; go to one of the registered driving schools in Doha and there you can complete all the paperwork and receive instruction, if necessary, in the same place.
Many national driving licences are recognised as valid by Qatar and you need only take an eye test before you are issued with a valid Qatari licence and you are set to go.
In an effort to reduce traffic congestion, certain professions will preclude you from gaining a licence. However, if you have the personal sponsorship of a Qatari national, or your spouse, then your profession is not important.
The police have offices in all the driving schools and you can even take your eye test there.
You are allowed to drive with your national driving licence (if it is recognised by the State of Qatar) for one week, or alternatively you may use an international driving licence for up to six months, after which it is compulsory to have a valid Qatari licence. To use an international driving permit issued by your country of origin, you must also hold a valid driving licence that is recognised by the State of Qatar.
If your ‘home’ licence is not considered valid by the authorities you will have to take a driving test.
For those applying for a driving licence for the first time, as well as those who have to take a test:
- The minimum age for learning to drive in Qatar is 18.
- You will need: five passport-size photos (with a white background), your Qatari ID and a copy of your sponsor company ID, plus a letter of permission from your sponsor. This includes female applicants sponsored by their husbands, and men sponsored by their wives. Please check current requirements upon application.
- Complete an application form at a driving school
- If you are learning to drive for the first time, enrolling for a full driving course will cost in the region of QAR3,350. These courses include 40 hours of driving lessons and six of theory.
- Drivers who have licences which cannot be directly changed to a Qatari licence can choose from a ‘half course’ (25 hours, QAR2,800) or a ‘short course’ (12 hours, QAR1,950).
- There are separate courses for heavy duty vehicles, and for motorcycles.
- There is a charge of QAR50 per test.
- You can hire one of the driving school’s cars for QAR150 to take the driving test. If you are taking lessons, the test is included in the price.
- Licences are for manual or automatic cars. If you hold a manual licence you may drive an automatic, but not vice versa
THE DRIVING TEST
To get your driving licence, you will have to pass the following tests:
- Theory test: The test is taken digitally and applicants need to score at least 18 out of 20. The test comprises 20 multiple-choice questions, many of which deal with traffic laws.
- L parking: The first test you do in the yard. Here you’ll make a right turn up the slope.
- Box or perpendicular parking: The box parking is the second test done in the yard. It’s akin to parking in a regular parking lot.
- Road test: If you pass your oral and parking tests, your examiner will take you out of the testing grounds on to the road to test your proficiency. You may also be asked to do a hill-start before leaving the grounds.
Once you have passed your driving test, your driving licence will be issued while you wait. The licence will cost you QAR250 and is valid for five years.
Please note that all transactions at the Traffic Department must be paid for using either a credit or debit card, or by using the Ministry of Interior eCASH card.