I’m in the midst of a trip report that included two stops in Doha. Despite over a dozen trips through Doha over the years, I have never stepped out of the airport? Why? The honest reason is I did not feel like paying the visa fee. But with increasing economic and political pressure, Qatar has scrapped visa requirements for 80 nations effective immediately.
The Washington Post reports—
Under the new policy announced by Qatar Airways and authorities on Wednesday, citizens of 33 mostly European countries can enter without a visa for 90 days in single or multiple trips during a 180-day period.
Americans, Britons, Canadians and citizens of 44 other countries can enter visa-free for an initial 30 days on single or multiple trips, and can extend that for a further 30 days.
30 days should be more than enough time in Qatar. This program comes on the heel of a new transit program jointly initiated by the State of Qatar and Qatar Airways that includes free visas and hotels for passengers on Qatar Airways with long layovers.
The new rule is especially welcome because you can now fly on any airline to/from Doha and still receive a free visa.
Remember that Qatar is in the midst of an ongoing diplomatic dispute with Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates over alleged ties to terrorism. It’s probably a safe assumption that this relaxed visa policy is evidence of plummeting demand to visit Qatar. Qatar cities the 2022 World Cup as a reason for this…but that’s five years away.
In any case, I’m much more likely to visit Qatar now.