As the date of the much-awaited Fifa World Cup in Qatar draws nearer, ticket prices have increased manifolds. Tickets to Qatar which cost around Dh960 now will rocket to over Dh6000 in some cases during the World Cup season. Given this, many football fans who are choosing to base themselves here are considering driving to watch the Fifa World Cup matches.
However, the Qatar interior ministry has announced that only cars with Qatari registration numbers will be allowed into the country for day trips between Tuesday, November 1 and Friday, December 23. Others wishing to enter the country using their cars need to meet specific requirements and have special permissions.
Here is an explainer on the rules and regulations about driving to Qatar from Dubai.
Drivers can enter Qatar through the Abu Samra crossing located on Salwa Road. The drive from Dubai to Doha is roughly around 650 km and will take an average of 6 to 7 hours. From Abu Dhabi, the trip is only approximately 550 km and can be completed in less than 6 hours. The border crossing, which has free parking, can receive 4,000 travellers per hour and is open for visitors.
Who can enter
Earlier, only those with match tickets were permitted into the country during the sporting event. However, last week it was announced that international fans who have purchased match tickets will be able to invite up to three guests with or without tickets into Qatar to experience the fan zones. Although the ticket-holder needs to be at least 18 years old, there is no age limit to those who can be invited.
Those travelling to Qatar have been classified into four categories:
1. One day visitors: Citizens, residents and GCC nationals visiting Qatar for one day can enter with their cars only if their vehicle has a Qatari registration plate. Others must pre-reserve a border parking spot where they can park for free for 24 hours from the time they enter the country. They can then travel using shuttle buses to Doha Central Station or Al Qalayel meeting point. A service charge of QAR1,000 applies for the second day the car is parked at the border. The parking reservation will be available from November 1.
2. Fans with special permission: International visitors who have match tickets can enter Qatar with their own private vehicles if they meet a specific set of requirements. The vehicle must have a minimum of three people and a maximum of six and the ticket holder must have booked hotel accommodation in Qatar for at least five nights. The visitor can apply for entry permit, which costs Dh5043, using the Hayya to Qatar 2022 app and must purchase vehicle insurance as well.
3. Fans coming by bus: Fans arriving to watch the match can opt to take a bus that will drop them off at the border terminal. The visitor must carry a Hayya card. After entry procedures, they can take the free bus from the terminal to Al Messila Metro Station in Doha or use the shuttle bus to Al Qalayel family and friends pick-up area.
4. Special cases: Although all borders of Qatar have been shut to those not attending the World Cup, special humanitarian cases will be considered. Those wishing to enter the country can apply for the permit through the Ministry of Home Affairs website, where applications will be reviewed and answered within 6 hours.