With the rise of the pandemic comes the myriad of safety protocols and health procedures that every country has to abide by in order to adapt to the challenges posed by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Not only does the State of Qatar have to ensure that its citizens are safe and protected from widespread sickness, but it also has to make sure that businesses stay afloat in order to maintain the flow of commerce throughout the country.
In addition to community rules, there are also many economic policies that need to be implemented properly, especially when it comes to travelers who venture in and out of Qatar. It’s important to follow the State’s travel and return policy during the pandemic to make sure that the virus is contained despite the freedom to travel.
What is Qatar’s Travel and Return Policy during the pandemic?
All citizens who will be traveling abroad—this includes both residents and citizens—are allowed to leave the country as long as the rules are strictly followed. It’s important to know about the countries that are listed in the COVID-19 Green List, because those who wish to travel to countries that are not stated in the aforementioned list are required to book a hotel quarantine package from the listed hotels HERE.
At the moment, only Qatari nationals and citizens, along with their children and spouses, are allowed to enter into Qatar. This also includes permanent resident permit holders and GCC citizens. Those who possess regular resident permits may also be allowed provided that re-entry is approved. As such, Transit Visa applications will automatically be rejected at the moment.
For those who have pre-approved QID resident permits, you will be required to submit an ‘Exceptional Entry Permit’ approval. To obtain this, visit the Qatar Portal or check this guide HERE.
What is the travel policy for travelers to the Green List?
The Green List from the Ministry of Public Health includes countries like Oman, Brunei, Thailand, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), Vietnam, Malaysia, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Myanmar, Maldives “Safe Travel Bubble” Package only, Australia
New Zealand, Mexico, Cuba, Mauritius, Iceland, and Ireland.
If you will be returning from one of the countries listed above, then you are eligible for home quarantine for at least seven days following your return. On the 6th day of your home quarantine, you will be tested at an accredited health center.
Keep in mind that for your home quarantine, your housing conditions must be suitable with your own room and a connecting bathroom. The public health team will regularly contact you, so you must ensure that you follow proper protocols during quarantine. Every 2 to 3 days, you will also be visited by the public health team, which is why you should sign an undertaking to follow the home quarantine rules. Should you develop any symptoms of COVID-19 such as body aches, fever, lack of taste or smell, and cough, you need to inform the public health team right away.
Download the Ehteraz app on your phone for health status updates—do note that your health status, upon arrival, will indicate the color Yellow for home quarantine. This will change only once you have completed the full quarantine course. For Qatari and Permanent Residency holders (including their families), a Health Assessment Form must be signed and completed upon arrival at Hamad International Airport, which will then be duly submitted to the Medical team.
What is the travel policy for travelers from countries that ARE NOT on the Green List?
For all travelers who wish to return to Qatar from countries in the red zone, you will be required to quarantine at Discover Qatar’s list of “Welcome Home” hotel packages for a full week at your own expense. On the 6th day of the quarantine, you will be tested and will subsequently be released on the 7th day once the health status on your Ehteraz turns green.
Keep in mind that the 7-night self-funded quarantine packages can come in 3, 4, or 5-star hotels. Apart from travelers arriving into Doha from a red zone country via air, these protocols also include those who will be arriving in Qatar on land through the Abu Samra Land border.
However, if you have already received both doses of your COVID-19 vaccine (a fully vaccinated adult who is 18 years of age or over) from an accredited medical facility in Qatar, you may be exempted from quarantine, provided that the second dose was received at least 14 days before entering into Qatar. Given this condition, if you have a child up to the age of 16 with you, he or she will also be exempted from hotel quarantine—the child will only be required to be home quarantined for a full week.
An exception, however, is if the said parent has a minor aged 16-18 who is not yet fully vaccinated. Despite the parent being fully vaccinated, they will still need to book a “Welcome Home Package” for hotel quarantine.
What about for domestic staff and company-sponsored workers?
For Mekaines/Mukaynis Quarantine Permit Holders, it is required to book a 14-night quarantine package in a shared motel accommodation. For employers, take note: you can make a group booking for 10 or more people as long as you have obtained approval for your staff to make a return. You may inform the necessary authorities at DQMekainesGroups@qatarairways.com.qa.
The reason why the required hotel quarantine is for 14 days (as opposed to the 7 days for other categories) is because this applies to staff who normally live in shared accommodations and, as such, cannot perform their own home quarantine of 7 days after the hotel quarantine. This is why the hotel package is required for the full 14 days. The package includes (apart from the accommodation itself) a transfer from the airport and full board meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner). This will also include a non-refundable mobile phone that is already supplied with a SIM card. This will be duly received at Qatar Duty Free once an individual has cleared customs.
Should the MOPH mandate an additional stay due to a positive test for COVID-19, the package will also include the extra accommodation for up to 14 nights. All of the inclusions are mandatory and cannot be removed from the package at will.
As for group bookings by an employer, kindly provide the company name, the lead person booking (as well as his or her email address and phone number), along with the lead person traveling (don’t forget the email adress and phone number as well). You should clearly indicate the number of individuals, as well as each person’s full name according to the details on their passport. Include the flight details for each person with the flight number and the time of arrival. Finally, indicate the nationality, gender, religion, and dietary requirements for each person.
Note that the booking must be paid in full in advance, with accommodation options including male only single rooms, female only single rooms, male only shared rooms, and female only shared rooms. There should only be 3 people per booking at a maximum, and for those on the same booking, they must all be in the same room type and on the same arrival flight.
It’s very important to remember that all bookings are final, so be sure to double-check all details before booking because no amendments will be allowed. For cancellations, you will be allowed to cancel up to 21 days before arrival; otherwise, there will be a 50% cancellation fee.
A few final points to remember:
Whether you are an individual employer or a company, you are required to obtain “Exceptional Entry Permit” for residents and family members abroad. This will allow them to come home to Qatar properly. Note that the permit has a validity period of one month from date of issuance. Should the EEP not be used in that span of time, then it can also be renewed.
For everyone who is doing home quarantine, the re-testing on the 6th day is a strict requirement. As a reminder, you will receive an SMS telling you to pay a visit to one of the PHCC healthcare centers; a phone call follow-up from the Healthcare team will be conducted for a no-show, and finally, failing to appear at the appointment is non-compliance punishable in accordance to the Decree-Law no.17 for the year 1990.
Should a Qatar resident wish to travel abroad, he or she will automatically receive an “Exceptional Entry Permit”, printable from the Ministry of Interior or the “Metrash2” app. It is important for you to stay updated with all of the latest developments regarding COVID-19 protocols and travel policies, as these restrictions may change regularly. The condition of the pandemic right now is still unstable, and the whole world is constantly adapting to the rapid shift in how global operations work. Staying on top of all the latest announcements for traveling will ensure that your trip to and from the State of Qatar will be smooth-sailing without any hitch.
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