Friday, August 11, 2017, 12:59
Qatar is considering further enhancements to visa policy, including waivers for holders of visa/residence permits for GCC and Schengen countries, including Hungary, as well as the U.K., U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand, according to a press release published by Qatar Airways and forwarded to the BBJ.
Qatar’s Ministry of Interior, the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) and Qatar Airways today announced that Qatar will allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, effective immediately.
Citizens of these countries wishing to visit Qatar will no longer need to apply or pay for a visa; instead, 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.
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 (multiple-entry waiver); or it will be valid for 30 days from the date of issue and entitle the visitor to spend up to 30 days in Qatar, with the possibility of applying for an extension of the waiver for an additional 30 days (multiple-entry waiver).
These developments come as part of a series of measures that Qatar has taken to facilitate visitor access to the country. Last month, Qatar launched an e-visa platform, www.qatarvisaservice.com, through which travelers of all nationalities can apply for tourist and visitor visas with more efficiency and ease.
The country is also considering further enhancements to its visa policy, such as waiving visa requirements for holders of a residence permit or a valid visa from the nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates), the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Schengen countries. This waiver would allow eligible visitors to obtain an Electronic Travel Authorization by completing a simple online application at least 48 hours prior to travel.
In November 2016, Qatar introduced a free transit visa which allows passengers of all nationalities transiting in Qatar for a minimum of five hours to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours (four days). In May 2017, QTA launched +Qatar, an initiative to promote the country as a stopover destination, with the national carrier, Qatar Airways. These measures, along with intensified international marketing, have resulted in a 39% increase in the number of stopover visitors during the first six months of 2017, compared with the same period last year, the press release says.
The list of the 80 countries is located here.