The World Cup in Qatar is around the corner and many football fans might be looking for information on what the requirements are to enter the country. Qatari authorities have put in place a number measures related to the pandemic and require visitors who want to enter the country to install the Etheraz app. This is the official contact tracing app in Qatar and is run by the Ministry of Health. With the World Cup starting already on November 20th, here are some important points to keep in mind.
1. Vaccination and PCR testing
The organizing committee clarified in late September that all visitors over the age of 6, regardless of covid-19 vaccination status, must present a PCR test certificate with a negative result valid for 48 hours or a negative antigen test certificate valid for 24 hours, prior to the scheduled departure time of the flight to Qatar. A rapid antigen self-test is not considered valid for entry into the country.
2. Visa requirements
In 2017, the Doha Government announced an easing of restrictions on foreigners visiting Qatar from 95 countries, which means a visa is not required from nationals of any of those countries. Otherwise, a visa must be shown upon entry. The exemption from the visa requirement will be valid for 180 days from the date the document is issued and allows its holder to spend up to 90 days in Qatar, either for one or several trips.
The authorities require the presentation of a passport valid for at least six months from the date of entry and it is mandatory to indicate the date of departure from Qatar. Upon presentation of the passport with the required conditions, the authorization is given free of charge, the validity varying according to nationality.
3. Etheraz app and insurance requirements
For those over the age of 18, it is also mandatory to install Etheraz, an application that will also be required to be able to enter any enclosed public space. Access will only be allowed with green Etheraz status, which indicates whether the user has tested positive or not. It is advised to check the official website of the Qatari Ministry of Health for monitoring any possible changes regarding prevention measures against Covid-19.
The Qatari authorities also require visitors to have a travel insurance policy that covers health expenses. It is in any case advisable as emergency medical treatment in Qatar is very expensive.
4. Hayya app
Citizens who intend to travel to Qatar between November 1, 2022 and January 23, 2023 must also install the Hayya app on their cell phone. This is another requirement to enter the country, even for those who do not intend to attend the World Cup.
The Hayya application also gives access to free public transportation on match days and the indication is to be installed in advance. It is advised to consult the official website of Hayya for additional and updated information.
5. Accommodation requirements during the World Cup
It is mandatory to secure accommodation for the period of stay before traveling to Qatar. There are rules in place for the World Cup period, regardless of whether or not the visitor intends to attend World Cup matches.
The official website of the World Cup accommodation agency is the main booking platform, but other alternatives are available. If you plan to stay in Qatar for more than 24 hours, you will need to have your accommodation booking validated to be able to install the Hayya application. If you plan to stay with friends or family in Qatar during the World Cup, your host must register your accommodation on the Hayya portal.
6. Local rules and customs
While visiting a mosque or other area of worship, men and women must wear clothing that covers the shoulders. If they wear shorts or skirts, they must be below the knee. Women cannot wear low-cut tops, ripped jeans or tight pants, and must cover their hair.
Alcoholic beverages are available to visitors in licensed restaurants and hotel bars. The legal drinking age is 21 and outside of those locations it is not allowed. According to the laws of Qatar, drinking alcohol or being drunk in a public place is considered a crime.
Displays of intimacy in public places can be considered offensive, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or intent.