After Visa Waiver, Qatar Once Again Welcomes the World with New Electronic Travel Authorization

Qatar has liberalizing its visa regime for tourists aggressively. The new system of Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system announced at during the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) general assembly at Chengdu, China is the latest measure taken by the country in recent times and follows the visa waiver for visitors from 80 countries last month. It is evident that Qatar places a very high premium on tourism sector in its efforts to diversify the economy.

Tourism is identified as a priority sector in Qatar National Vision 2030 and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) projects that the sector’s contribution to the economy will reach 5.2% by that year. According to UNWTO, Qatar is one of the fastest growing destinations in the world, with tourism arrivals averaging 11.5 percent annual growth between 2010 and 2015. Over the next five years, QTA targets an increase of visitors by 20 percent. Visa facilitation is a critical component in this strategy. Let’s take look at the measures QTA has adopted in this direction. 


Electronic Travel Authorization

The newly announced ETA, which will take effect from 27 September 2017, is available for those visitors from any country who hold a valid residence permits or visas of following countries: the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Schengen countries and the GCC countries. It is valid for 30 days and can be extended for an additional 30 days for a single stay. One can easily apply for ETA through prior to travel with submitting following documents: 

• Proof of accommodation (e.g. hotel booking) 

• Details of their return or onward travel

• A copy of passport with a minimum validity of six months 

• A copy of their residence permit or visa to the above mentioned countries, with a minimum validity of 30 days. 

The ETA holders will be issued a visa-on-arrival when they reach the country. It will be valid only for single entry. So, if you leave the country within the stipulated period and then have to come back again, you need to apply again.  

Visa Waiver

The visa waiver announced on August 9 was perhaps the most revolutionary step taken by Qatar to promote tourism. Nationals of 80 countries are now stand exempted from getting a visa to enter the country, making it the most open country in the region. The duration of stay can be either 90 days or 30 days depending on the country of the visitor. The nationals of 33 countries will get a waiver for 180 days and can spend a maximum of 90 days, during either on a single trip or multiple trips. The nationals of 47 countries will get a waiver for 30 days and can spend up to 30 days, during either on a single trip or multiple trips. This waiver may be extended for additional 30 days.

Citizens of these countries will be issued a multi-entry visa waiver free of charge at the port of entry if they are holding a valid passport with a minimum validity of six months and a confirmed onward or return ticket.


If you are not covered by either of the previous schemes, you can avail the e-visa facility to obtain a visit visa to Qatar.  Nationals of 242 countries can apply for a visa through this service through online. The main attraction of this facility is that you do not have to find a local sponsor in Qatar. You can apply for a visa a maximum of 90 days and a minimum of 4 working days before you travel.

Another feature of this service is that individuals arriving Qatar aboard any airline can avail this service, not just those with a booking with Qatar Airways. You only need a valid and confirmed ticketed booking for Qatar and hotel confirmation voucher or relevant documents for place of stay in Qatar. A valid passport with a minimum validity of six months is a must to enter Qatar in any case. 

Transit Visa

Transit visa is a unique feature that aims to increase tourism activity in the country. Even if you are travelling somewhere through Doha on some other purpose, it gives you an opportunity to double up as a tourist.  The free or cost service will allow you to explore Doha if you add a short transit or stopover between five and 96 hours (4 days) in Doha to your itinerary. You have to book through Qatar Airways, the national carrier, to avail this service.   

Source: qatarday

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