Qatar is allowing visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries with immediate effect, according to a joint statement from the Ministry of Interior, Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar Airways.
A multi-entry waiver will be issued free-of-charge at the port of entry, upon presentation of a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.
Announcing the waiver, (from left) Qatar Tourism Authority's Hassan Al Ibrahim, Qatar Airways' Akbar Al Baker and Ministry of Interior's Muhammad Rashid Al Mazroui
Depending on the nationality of the visitor, the waiver will either be valid for 180 days (from the date of issue) and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar; or 30 days and for a stay period of 30 days in Qatar with the possibility of an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days. The full list is appended**.
The former applies to countries such as Turkey, Seychelles, Iceland, Austria, Spain, Greece and Italy; and the latter to Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Japan, the US and UK, among others.
Hassan Al Ibrahim, chief tourism development officer at QTA, said: “With 80 countries eligible for a visa waiver, Qatar is now the most open country in the region.”
Qatar is also considering waiving visa requirements for holders of a residence permit or a valid visa from GCC nations, the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Schengen countries. This would allow eligible visitors to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorisation by completing an online application at least 48 hours prior to travel.
Recent measures taken to facilitate visitor access to Qatar include the launch of an e-visa platform (www.qatarvisaservice.com) last month; +Qatar, an initiative to promote the country as a stopover destination in May; and enhancements for transit passengers last November.
The latest move comes amid a two-month boycott imposed on Qatar by its Gulf neighbours, as the oil-rich state seeks to build up its trade and diplomatic ties beyond the region.