Qatar (قطر "kat-ir") is a peninsula jutting into the Persian Gulf, to the north of Saudi Arabia, East of Bahrain and West of the Emirates.
Major cities and tourist attractions
- Doha - capital
- Al-Khor - northern municipality with a population of some 36,000, close to Ras Laffan LNG (liquified natural gas) terminal
- Rayyan - second largest city with a population of some 275,000
- Wakra - Southern municipality.
When going by plane to Qatar, you will most probably enter the country at Doha's airport. Local carrier Qatar Airways is building a growing worldwide network with flights from there.
Qatar issues a visa on arrival at Doha's airport to passengers who are citizens of Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxemburg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA and Vatican City. The price is QR 105.00 (US$ 28), payment by credit card is accepted, and grants a 30 day stay.
Citizens of GCC countries: Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and United Arab Emirates do not need a visa to enter Qatar.
For other nationalities, visa procedures can be complicated, as you will need a guarantor on the Qatari side, either a company or a government entity. Also Qatari embassies, unlike those of most other countries, are not entitled to issue visas, so someone in Qatar will have to file the application for you. 4/5-star hotels offer full visa service, for a price, if you book a room with them for the duration of your stay. Qatar Airways can arrange the hotel and visa for you, tel. +974 44496980. In this case, there also seems to also be a new regulation in place (2008) to either present a credit card or QAR 5000 at the point of entry - which should generally not be a problem, if you can afford the room. When booking with other hotels, you'll need a guarantor in Qatar.
For longer stays, visas must be arranged by having a sponsor. Unmarried women under the age of 35 will have a hard time in procuring a visa for a lengthy stay, as the country seems to fear that their safety and well being cannot be guaranteed.