Qatar is about to launch Electronic Travel Authorisation system

In an initiative to boost tourist arrivals in Qatar, the Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced on Thursday that visitors of all nationalities, who hold valid residence permits or visas from either the UK, the US, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Schengen or GCC countries can enter with an Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) from September 27.The new system will allow eligible visitors to obtain an ETA by completing a simple online application prior to travel at www.qatarvisaservice.com

Hassan al-Ibrahim speaking at UNWTO’s General Assembly in Chengdu, China.

“This additional enhancement to our visa policy is a testament to my country’s commitment to openness, and to championing the right to tourism for all people, in line with the UNWTO’s (United Nations World Tourism Organisation) Global Code of Ethics for Tourism,” QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim said at the UNWTO’s General Assembly taking place in Chengdu, China. “Adopting this kind of openness and freedom of movement is surely the best way to enhance acceptance and openness between cultures,” he added.
The new system will require applicants to present their itinerary such as flight (return tickets) and proof of accommodation (like hotel bookings), passport copy (with a minimum validity of six months), and a copy of their residence permit or visa (with a minimum validity of 30 days) to the said countries. Once approved, visitors will be allowed to enter Qatar on a visa-on-arrival and can stay up to 30 days during a single visit. The visa can be extended for another 30 days in 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.
“We are continuously reviewing Qatar’s visa policies and seek to update them in line with the country’s economic and social aspirations,” Brigadier Mohamed al-Ateeq, director general of the Department of Passport and Expatriates Affairs at MoI, said in a statement. “We look forward to hosting visitors from around the world through this system, which will further streamline the visa application process,” he noted. Brigadier al-Ateeq added that ineligible applicants can apply for a regular tourist visa using the e-visa platform.
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. The 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 renewed focus by the country’s leadership on diversifying the national economy, the revised strategy is set to be launched on September 27, when Qatar hosts the official UNWTO World Tourism Day celebrations.
 “Together with our partners in the public and private sectors, we have examined all of the elements needed to create a smooth and enticing experience that can attract visitors from around the world,” al- Ibrahim said. “We have committed ourselves, over the past few months, to taking as many steps as possible to facilitate entry to Qatar for dozens of nationalities around the world,” he added.
Sources: Gulf Times, Bloomberg