Qatar’s Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced that Qatar will now make Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) available to visitors of all nationalities who hold valid residence permits or visas from either the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Schengen countries, or the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council.
This new system, which will take effect on 27 September 2017, will allow eligible visitors to obtain an ETA by completing a simple online application prior to travel at qatarvisaservice.com.
As part of the application, applicants will be required to provide proof of accommodation (e.g. hotel booking), details of their return (or onward) travel, a copy of their passport with a minimum validity of six months, and a copy of their residence permit or visa to the aforementioned countries, with a minimum validity of 30 days.
Once the applicant’s request has been approved* they will receive an ETA that is valid for use within 30 days. The ETA’s validity for use may be renewed for a further 30 days on qatarvisaservice.com.
The ETA allows ttravellersto obtain a visa-on-arrival to Qatar, which will permit them to stay in the country for up to 30 days during a single visit. The visa may be extended online for 30 additional days to be used during the same visit. If the visitor leaves the country and wishes to return, they will need to apply for a new ETA before travelling back to Qatar.
Brigadier Mohammed Al Ateeq, Director General of the Department of Passport and Expatriates Affairs at MoI, commented:
We are continuously reviewing Qatar’s visa policies and seek to update them in line with Qatar’s economic and social aspirations. We look forward to hosting visitors from around the world through this system, which will further streamline the visa application process. Visitors who are not eligible for an ETA are also welcome to apply for a regular tourist visa through the same e-visa platform (qatarvisaservice.com).’
This development comes as part of a series of measures that Qatar has taken to facilitate visitor access to the country. Last month, Qatar waived visa requirements for nationals of 80 countries around the world.
Qatar’s new ETA system was announced during the UNWTO’s General Assembly, which is taking place in Chengdu, China. Hassan Al Ibrahim, Chief Tourism Development Officer at QTA, remarked:
We are delighted to announce the introduction of the Electronic Travel Authorisation system in yet another step that will help us welcome the world to Qatar. This additional enhancement to our visa policy is testament to Qatar’s commitment to openness, and to championing the right to tourism for all people, in line with the UNWTO’s Global Code of Ethics for Tourism.’
He added that visa facilitation is a critical component of the national tourism sector strategy, which QTA has recently reviewed in partnership with stakeholders from the public and private sectors. With a renewed focus on the country’s leadership on diversifying the national economy, the revised strategy is set to be launched on 27 September, when Qatar hosts the official UNWTO World Tourism Day celebrations.
*Entry to Qatar is granted at the sole discretion of Qatar’s Ministry of Interior.
For more information about visa requirements for entry to Qatar, visit: https://www.visitqatar.qa/plan/visas-requirements.html
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