Traveling to or from Qatar requires one to take many things into consideration. All visitors to Qatar require a visa, and certain passengers are eligible for visas on arrival. When travelling from Qatar, some expatriate residents and visitors must have exit permits. New less restrictive rules are being implemented. For your own convenience and comfort, it’s best to confirm these requirements before starting your journey.

Hamad International Airport (HIA) is Qatar’s gateway to the world, and the home and hub of Qatar Airways, Qatar’s five-star airline. HIA serves over 360,000 flights and 30 mn passengers every year. Since its opening in May 2014, HIA has welcomed over 120 mn passengers. In the third quarter of 2019, HIA served a record-high total of 10.7 mn passengers, making it the busiest quarter the airport has ever seen. In addition, HIA witnessed a record of 60,135 aircraft movements. HIA aims to welcome more than 50 mn passengers by 2022.

*Though information is updated every issue, details can change. It is always advisable to check with the airline well in advance for up to date information.  

Visas

Citizens from at least 80 countries (see below) can get a tourist visa on arrival in Qatar. They can also choose to apply for a pre-approved visa using the new online service. Nationals of 243 countries can apply via this online visa service. qatarvisaservice.com

Other visas include business visit, an official visit and a work visa. Eligible Qatari companies may apply for these visas in advance of your visit. Visit the Ministry of Interior (MOI) or the Metrash 2 website at moi.gov.qa or the e-Government Hukoomi website at gov.qa for details.

Regardless of the Qatar blockade by GCC countries Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain, citizens of the GCC can get a one month visa on arrival. Residents requiring a visa are subject to conditions, one being that the applicant’s profession is one of those approved by the MOI. The visa will only be issued if your Residence Permit (RP) is valid for at least six months and if your profession (as mentioned on your RP) appears on the approved list. 

All expatriates living and working in Qatar must have a residence permit or a visit-to-work visa. Requirements can change, so it is always prudent to check with the Qatari Embassy or airline well in advance of your visit.

Things to consider

When paying your visa fee, the passport control counters will only accept credit and debit cards. Use the designated bank counter for cash payment.

Don’t commence your journey before confirming visa requirements and checking the expiry date on your passport. This will help minimise any inconvenience or delays during travel.

If for any reason you’re denied entry into Qatar, then the MOI and your airline will provide assistance. 

Hamad Airport

Visas on Arrival

• Andorra • Argentina • Australia • Austria • Azerbaijan • Bahamas • Belarus • Belgium • Bolivia • Brazil • Brunei •  Bulgaria • Canada • Chile • China • Colombia • Costa Rica • Croatia • Cuba • Cyprus • Czech Republic • Denmark • Ecuador • Estonia • Finland • France • French Guiana • Germany • Georgia • Greece • Guyana • Hong Kong • Hungary • Iceland • India • Indonesia • Ireland • Italy • Japan • Kazakhstan • Latvia • Lebanon • Liechtenstein • Lithuania • Luxembourg • Macedonia • Malaysia • Maldives • Malta • Mexico • Moldova • Monaco • Netherlands • New Zealand • Norway • Pakistan • Panama •  Paraguay • Peru • Poland • Portugal • Romania • Russia • San Marino • Seychelles • Singapore • Slovakia • Slovenia • South Africa • South Korea • Spain • Suriname • Sweden • Switzerland • Thailand • Turkey • UK • Ukraine • Uruguay • USA • Vatican City • Venezuela 

eCash cards

If you’re eligible for a visa on arrival visit the Immigration desk and pay any appropriate fees using your credit or debit card. If you would like to pay in cash, visit the designated bank counter before approaching Immigration. The bank will charge a fee (QAR25) to process your payment.

Entry visas

Tourist entry visa: One month – QAR100 plus QAR50 for each c* (companion registered on the passport).
Tourist entry visa (sponsored): One month – QAR100.
GCC residents visit visa: One month with an extension period of three months – QAR100 plus QAR50 for each c* per month, subject to conditions.
Joint tourist visa for Qatar and Oman: One month costs QAR100 with an extension period of a month.
Business entry visa: For one month and a maximum of three months – QAR200 plus QAR50 for each c*
Family visit visa: One month to a maximum of six months – QAR200 plus QAR50 for each c* per month. Expatriates with family status can bring parents and siblings on a visit of up to six months (up to three months for other relatives). A Medical Commission check-up is necessary to extend the visa beyond one month (within 72 hours of arrival). Conversion of entry visa to visit/work/residence visas: QAR500 (without leaving the country).
Visit gov.qa to ensure you get the latest information and fees as they do change from time to time.
When flying with Qatar Airways, a transit visa is free of cost when you add a short transit or stopover between five and 96 hours in Doha to your itinerary without any additional fare charges. Use the multi-city booking option to include the stop when booking your flight on qatarairways.com or through a travel agent.

Priority processing

All Al Maha customers, special assistance travellers and unaccompanied minors receive priority processing on arrival at HIA.

Airlines (local agency in brackets)

Air India, Air India Express (DTB) 4441 8424

Air France & KLM 4036 0583

American Airlines   4499 5736

Biman Bangladesh 4441 3054

British Airways 4432 1434

Cathay Pacific (TOT) 4445 8318

Cebu Pacific (DTB) 4435 3774

IndiGo 4036 7777

Iran Air 4432 3666

Kuwait Airways 4441 2653

Middle East Airlines MEA 4434 2978

Nepal Airlines 4431 7070

Oman Air 4444 0456

Pakistan Int’l Airlines 4442 6422

Pegasus 4442 1807

Philippine Airlines (ST) 4422 7302

Qantas (DTB) 4445 2276

Qatar Airways 4023 0000

Qatar Airways Holidays 4423 7937

Royal Air Maroc (ABA) 4444 1161

Royal Jordanian 4442 3888

Singapore Airlines 4499 5740

SriLankan Airlines (ABA) 4444 1217

SyrianAir 4443 3712

Turkish Airlines         4443 3028

Wataniya Airways 4444 4400

Travel Agencies 

Ali Bin Ali Travel (ABA) 4444 1161

Darwish Travel Bureau (DTB) 4441 8666

Mannai Air Travel 4428 2666

Regency Travel & Tours 4434 4444

Space Travel (ST) 4422 7333

Trans Orient Travel (TOT) 4445 8458 

HIA (airport code: DOH) is classified as a five-star airport by Skytrax. It has been ranked the Fourth Best Airport in the World at the Skytrax World Airport Awards 2019, ranked as a five-star airport, honoured with the title of ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ for the fifth year in a row, and ‘Best Staff Service in the Middle East’ for the fourth year in a row. HIA is also the first airport in the MENA region to be available on Google Street View, with Google launching 360-degree imagery of the airport. The world-class facility has recently been voted as the ‘Best Airport in the Middle East’ at the Global Traveler’s GT Tested Reader Survey Awards in Los Angeles. The architectural masterpiece combines innovation and beauty, and consists of a shopping emporium, five-star hotel and world-class art installations. 

HIA Call Centre 4010 6666

Passport Department 4465 6490

Security  4010 9555

Lost luggage services 4462 6531

Airport Arrivals/Departures 

Meet and Assist Airport Service: 4465 6672
Al Maha Services offers a personalised Meet and Assist Service for customers arriving, departing or transiting through HIA.

Bookings for Al Maha Services can be made at their designated desk in the arrivals and departures terminals 24/7 and online. Al Maha can handle the visit visa arrangements for your guests.  

Qatar_Airport_iris_ID.591c6471aebac

eGate: The MOI has activated free eGate service for expatriate passengers at the arrivals and departures terminals of HIA. 

Expatriates and their children above 18 years of age can avail of the service using their residence cards or passports after registration at the airport. HIA currently has 40 e-gates installed – 21 at the departures terminal and 19 at the arrivals terminal. 

At least 2 mn people use the e-gates each year. The service comes under the ‘smart passengers’ project inaugurated by the Prime Minister and Interior Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani in early 2017. Twenty new e-gates with 10 each at the departure and arrivals terminals were installed in 2018.

Self-service kiosks: Qatar Airways is installing additional self-service check-in kiosks at HIA to make the check-in experience faster and more convenient for passengers. Rows 5 and 6 currently have self-service check-in kiosks. The kiosks enable more passengers to perform self check-in and print their boarding pass, avoiding long queues at check-in counters and providing a faster and hassle-free experience. 

The kiosks will also feature a self bag-drop facility. Rows 4 and 5 are used for Economy Class check-in to enable the installation of the additional kiosks.

Parking: The Short Term Car Park (STCP) is located near the passenger terminal. It offers covered spaces and easy access via dedicated walkways. The East STCP is more convenient for passengers flying with Qatar Airways, while the West STCP is better suited for passengers travelling with other airlines. Valet parking is available in both the Long Term (LTCP) and STCP.

HIA revised car parking charges in December 2017. The STCP is free for the first 10 minutes, thereafter charges QAR6 per hour. A lost ticket will cost QAR35.

The LTCP rate is QAR55 per day (or for every completed 24 hours) or QAR2 per hour (or any part thereof). A lost ticket will cost QAR35 in addition to the actual tariff for the duration of parking.

HIA’s parking fees remain one of the lowest in the world. HIA is currently working on adding premium parking services with a valet service.

Bus: Doha’s bus network connects HIA to various destinations across the city. Your bus fare can only be paid with a Karwa Smartcard. If you don’t already have one, purchase a disposable Karwa Smartcard from the Mowasalat Information Desk near Baggage Claim Belts 5 and 6.

QAR10 Card (USD3): two inner-city trips within a 24 hour period

QAR20 Card (USD5): unlimited trips across Qatar within a 24 hour period

Regular Karwa Smartcard QAR30 (USD8): QAR10 for the card with QAR20 value, available to be topped up for future journeys 

All buses depart from the Bus Pavilion located to the right of the passenger terminal. Exit the Arrivals hall by following the signs to the Bus Pavilion or ask at an information desk for assistance. Each bus offers a cargo area for stowing your baggage during the journey. For bus routes, visit dohahamadairport.com

Taxis: Taxis are a convenient way to get to and from HIA. With a base fare of QAR25, taxis only accept cash payments in Qatari Riyals. Karwa Taxis are the bright turquoise taxis. They are regulated by the government, and are safe and metered. Call 4458 8888. Some other options are Alijarah Taxis (800 4488) and Al Million Taxis (800 8294). 

Booking a PRM taxi: If you need to book special taxis for passengers with reduced mobility (PRM) call Mowasalat directly on 4458 8888, providing as much advance notice as possible.

Limousines: Chauffeur-driven limousines are available to take you from HIA to anywhere in Qatar. 

To pre-book call Mowasalat Limousine on
800 5466. Use Exits 2 or 3 to leave the Arrivals area and you will find your limousine parked there. 

For on-arrival booking simply approach the Mowasalat Limousine kiosk located in the Arrivals hall. For more information, visit mowasalat.com

Arrivals

Up to 360,000 aircraft per year can be handled at HIA. The eastern runway is 4,850 metres long, making it one of the longest commercial runways in the world.

Immigration: Prior to departure from their point of origin, Doha passengers must ensure they have a valid passport, and a Residence Card, before making their way to Immigration. Citizens and residents may also use the provided eGate facilities. After immigration, passengers will proceed to the baggage reclaim area. Check moi.gov.qa and dohahamadairport.com for specific requirements. 

Customs regulations: After you’ve collected your checked baggage, exit the airport by passing through Customs. There are two Customs channels to choose from, depending on whether you have something to declare or not. Personal items are not usually subject to tax though luggage is inspected upon arrival. Travellers coming into Qatar must have prescriptions for medicines carried. Refer to the IATA website for specific customs regulations. The import of firearms, alcohol, e-cigarettes and pork in any form is strictly forbidden. iata.org

Departures

Exit Permit: Some expatriate residents of Qatar are required to obtain an exit permit from their sponsor when exiting the country. The Amir, HH Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani signed Law No 13 of 2018 (Amending Law) in September 2018, amending certain provisions of Law No 21 of 2015 that required all migrant workers getting permission from their employers before leaving Qatar.
The amended law, which came into effect on 28 October 2018, allows most migrant workers covered by the Labour Law to leave the country without having to obtain an exit permit. However, this amended law does not cover all workers, including domestic workers and those working in the military. Qatar already has a law on domestic workers and is working closely on getting a ministerial decree to grant them the same rights. Employers in Qatar can still submit names of workers for whom a No-Objection Certificate (NOC) would be required before granting them permission to leave the country, according to justifications based on the nature of the work. 

Exit Tax: QAR35, HIA’s exit tax, will automatically be added to an individual’s ticket price. The tax also applies to transit passengers.

Regulations for hand luggage: When departing from HIA, worldwide regulations apply regarding all liquids, gels, pastes, aerosols, and electronic devices. 

In February 2018, HIA and Qatar Airways successfully completed the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) Electronic Bag Tag (EBT) readability tests, making HIA the first airport in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region confirmed ready to accept EBTs. The programme aims to provide a more seamless travel experience for passengers, including reduced time spent in queues, a simplified baggage drop process and increased relaxation time at the airport, as well as providing greater operating and carbon efficiency. In the future customers will have a permanent electronic bag tag removing the need to print and apply traditional bag tags.

Check-in: Online check-in is available for most airlines, and on Qatar Airways’ website at qatarairways.com, 36 hours to 90 minutes prior to the flight departure time to most countries. Passengers can choose a seat, print a boarding pass or have a bar-coded boarding pass sent to a mobile phone in simple and convenient easy-to-use steps. 

Check-in usually opens three hours before your flight’s departure time, and closes 60 minutes before your flight takes off. Make sure you’re carrying all the required travel documents with you. These include your ticket, passport, exit permit, Residence Card, and destination visas.

Clearing passport control: Present your boarding pass to staff standing just before the passport control area. They will scan it, and fast-track you (through passport control and security check) if your flight is nearing its departure time. Dedicated lanes are available for First and Business Class passengers.

Lounges

The Oryx Lounge offers a comfortable atmosphere to sit, relax and enjoy the superior hospitality provided by the Oryx Lounge staff. The lounge offers food and beverage services, a smoking room, business centre, lockers, a quiet zone, internet facility and a gaming room for kids. All airlines’ premium passengers and select card holders (AMEX, HSBC and Barwa Bank) are eligible for complimentary access to the Oryx Lounge. Economy passengers will be able to gain access to the lounge for a nominal fee of QAR200 (USD55) for six hours. 

Designed to mirror a resort-like experience,
Al Mourjan Business Lounge takes inspiration from sunlight, water and nature – a celebration of serenity and rejuvenation. This lounge is open to Business Class passengers on all airlines.

Al Safwa Lounge is in a class of its own. It encapsulates every aspect of the ‘First Class’ experience. Here you can enjoy state-of-the-art facilities, delicious à la carte dining, luxury spa and treatment facilities, a full business centre, a cinematic media room and an exclusive family area.

Al Maha Lounges Customers of Al Maha Meet and Assist Services can access Al Maha Lounges which are spread across the terminal. Facilities include unlimited high-speed Wi-Fi, shower facilities, conference rooms, a smoking room, family rooms, a business centre and a nursery. Diner’s Club card holders are welcome for free. 

Also available are the First Class Lounge, Business Class Lounge, First and Business Class Arrivals Lounges, Unaccompanied Minors Lounge, and Special Assistance Travellers’ Lounge.

The Airport Hotel

Transferring customers are catered for with the very best in convenience, comfort and choice.    For convenience, there’s no need to leave the terminal to avail yourself of the hotel’s services. The rooms and facilities, including the adjoining wellbeing and fitness centre, provide the ultimate in comfort. And there’s excellent choice, with six room types and a range of packages and rates on offer. hiahotel.com

Connectivity
In February 2018, HIA achieved ISO/IEC 20000:2011 certification, the international gold standard for excellence in IT Service Management. 

To provide a solid foundation for its Smart Airport Vision, HIA developed and implemented a comprehensive IT Service Delivery Management framework that was a rigorously audited by the British Standards Institute (BSI) in November 2017.

Attainment of ISO/IEC 20000:2011 demonstrates that HIA has established necessary controls and procedures to consistently deliver cost-effective and high-quality IT services, ultimately enabling a world-class experience to more than 30 mn passengers transiting through the airport on a yearly basis as well as its airport stakeholders and staff.

Free wireless internet: Enjoy free wireless internet access throughout the passenger terminal. Just search for ‘Free Internet by HIA’ on your device.

Free internet kiosks and desks: Equipped with screens, keyboards and mice, the internet kiosks and desks offer you free web browsing. The kiosks are located throughout the passenger terminal (including the boarding gate areas). Meanwhile, the desks are available at each of five activity nodes. Just follow the signs, ask at an information desk or use the airport map to find one nearest you.

Telephone booths: You can call anywhere in the world by purchasing a prepaid calling card from Qatar Duty Free (QDF). Telephone booths are located throughout the passenger terminal (including the boarding gate areas).

Medical and fire emergencies

Fully-equipped and well-staffed medical centres are operational 24/7. There are two medical centres serving the passenger terminal. One is located in Arrivals just before the Passport Control area, while the other is in Departures near the Check-in area.

Just follow the signs, ask at an information desk or use an airport map to find your way. In case of an emergency, you can also call 4010 9222 to directly contact the medical team.

Travellers with animals

The earlier you get in touch with your airline when you’re planning your travels, the smoother the journey will be for both you and your animal. Your airline and vet will advise you on the latest rules and regulations and the necessary documentation. This includes medical certificates, vaccination records and test results. Your airline won’t be able to accept your animal for travel if the required documentation and suitable carriers are not available.

Duty free

Qatar Duty Free (QDF) offers passengers an array of selected designer labels, high street fashions, electronics, gourmet foods and much more. With bespoke QDF concepts as well as an impressive array of boutiques from international brands, the retail proposition at HIA has pushed the boundaries of innovation, redefining travel shopping to create an enriching experience for its passengers.

Passengers at HIA can shop at boutiques and stores such as Bally, Bvlgari, Burberry, The Boulevard, Coach, Chanel Watches, Chopard, Esquire, Giorgio Armani, Harrods, Hermès, Hugo Boss, Michael Kors, Mont Blanc, Rolex, Tag Heuer, Tiffany, Swarovski, Virgin Megastore, and WH Smith. 4010 4167, qatardutyfree.com.qa

Food and beverage

Located in the departures terminal, passengers can choose from a range of different outlets – HIA offers a taste of everything, from gourmet to on-the-go! 

Finding your check-in counter at HIA

For Qatar Airways First or Business Class passengers: If you’re flying with Qatar Airways as a First or Business Class passenger, proceed to the Departure hall through Entry Gate 1 and, if required, use the East Short Term Car Park (STCP). For Qatar Airways First Class passengers, proceed to Al Safwa First in Row 1, which offers private seated check-in desks, a concierge, bellhops and other exclusive facilities. If travelling in Qatar Airways Business Class, proceed to Al Mourjan Business in Row 2.

For Qatar Airways Privilege Club members: If you are a Qatar Airways Privilege Club member or a oneworld customer, your check-in counter is located in Row 4 and if required, use the West STCP.

For Qatar Airways Economy Class passengers: If you’re flying with Qatar Airways as an Economy Class passenger, then enter the Departure hall through Entry Gates 2 and 3. Check-in counters are located in Rows 4 to 6 and all other airline counters are from Rows 7 to 10. If required, use the West STCP.

For other airlines: If you’re flying with any airline other than Qatar Airways, then you will find it easiest to enter the Departure hall through Entry Gate 4, and, if required, use the West STCP.

Art Installations

The works of art you can see at HIA are a mix of acquired pieces and others created especially for their spaces. The latter include works by local artists – for example, Qatari artist Faraj Duham was commissioned to create large-scale murals, while Qatari artist Ali Hassan produced the ‘Desert Horse’ sculpture. 

The most popular art installation at HIA is ‘Lamp Bear’ by Swiss artist Urs Fischer, which sits prominently at the heart of the airport. In the Arrivals Hall stand a series of sculptures of the oryx, an antelope native to the Arabian Peninsula, called ‘Oryx’ created by Dutch artist Tom Claassen, as well as ‘Untitled’ by Italian artist Rudolf Stingel. Stingel’s work at HIA is one of his famous large-scale interactive pieces. He covered three surfaces of the piece with reflective, aluminium-faced insulation panels, before inviting the construction team at HIA to draw on the soft walls at the time of the airport’s construction. The walls were then cast in copper and electroplated with gold, before a number of pieces were selected for permanent display at HIA. 

‘Other Worlds’ by American sculptor Tom Otterness is a series of eight large-scale, interactive, bronze sculptures spread throughout the activity nodes in Concourse C at HIA. With slides and seats for limbs and play-pen-like chambers for torsos, these figures invite both children and adults to engage, interact and find recreational enjoyment in the sculptures. 

Marc Quinn’s mesmerising work ‘The Nurseries of El Dorado’ graces the airport’s expansive check-in hall, and is a representation of an almost mythical world. Comprising a number of bronze sculptures, Quinn creates a series of hybrid plants by taking elements from different vegetation and carefully piecing them together, before casting them in bronze. 

The latest art piece at HIA is ‘COSMOS’ by contemporary French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel. It represents a colossal celestial globe echoing the trajectories of travellers from around the world. The striking piece resembles bright calligraphy drawn in space when observed side-on or from below, and appears in the shape of a blooming rose when observed from the front. COSMOS joined the latest artwork ‘Small Lie’, which was unveiled along with Qatar Museums (QM) in March 2018 at Concourse E. The large-scale figure, which is approximately 30 feet tall, was made by American pop artist and designer KAWS in collaboration with QM. 

More pieces will be installed over time, from international artists including Adel Abdessemed, Maurizio Cattelan, Don Gummer, Keith Haring, Damien Hirst, Jenny Holzer, Anselm Reyle and Bill Viola.

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