Qatar Scraps Visa for India, 79 Other Countries
The move could also provide some relief from the blockade that the country faces from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.
Citizens of 80 countries, including India, will no longer require visa to enter Qatar, officials announced on Wednesday. According to the new changes, these nationals can now visit Qatar for free for up to 90 days at a time. The change, which is applicable from immediate effect, implies that citizens from these 80 countries, which include the UK, the US, Canada, South Africa, Seychelles, Australia and New Zealand, would now be able to enter Qatar “with no paperwork, no payment and no visas,” Qatar Airways Group CEO Akbar Al Baker said.
Waivers Rather Than Visas
Qatar announced that it will issue waivers rather than visas, and will not charge for the service. “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,” according to the official release.
For citizens of some nations, the waiver will be valid for 180 days, and allow the visitor to spend a total of 90 days in Qatar with multiple entry options. Visitors from India and some other countries are entitled to multi-entry visit valid for 30 days from the date of issuance that can be extended for a further 30 days.
“With 80 nationalities eligible for a free visa waiver upon arrival, Qatar is now the most open country in the region and we are delighted to invite visitors to discover our renowned hospitality, cultural heritage and natural treasures,” Hassan Al Ibrahim, acting chairman of Qatar Tourism Authority said, according to Reuters.
Most Open Country in the Region
The move makes Qatar “the most open country in the region,” officials from Qatar’s tourism and interior ministries who announced the new immigration rules said, according to media reports. Qatar’s visa change could help the Persian Gulf country reach its target of hosting 7 million tourists annually by 2030, NPR reported. The move could also provide some relief from the blockade that the country faces from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates. On June 5 this year, the Gulf countries had accused Qatar of supporting terrorism and imposed a boycott, cutting off all transport links with the country.
Qatar had earlier introduced a free transit visa in November 2016, allowing passengers from all countries transiting in Qatar for a minimum of five hours to stay in Qatar for up to 96 hours.