Qatar’s Travel and Return Policy during COVID-19
As part of the State of Qatar’s plans for the gradual lifting of restrictions imposed to respond to COVID-19 pandemic, the previously announced travel and return policy was reviewed. It was agreed to continue the implementation of the same policy with minor amendments effective on, 24th January 2021 at 02:00 pm. The policy includes the following:
First: TRAVELING ABROAD POLICY:
- General Policy:
- Citizens and Residents can travel abroad at any time, provided they adhere to the travel and return policy.
- Citizens and Residents wishing to travel abroad to one of the countries not included in the COVID-19 Green List must book a hotel quarantine package from the listed hotels on the “Discover Qatar” website before traveling.
- If one of the conditions listed in the Vulnerable Groups in this policy apply, Citizens and Residents must obtain a medical certificate by login to their account on "My Health" portal that shows their health condition and entitlement for home quarantine when booking their flight before traveling abroad.
- Those wishing to travel must be aware of the precautionary measures implemented in the country they plan to visit in terms of quarantine policy, its duration, and the requirement to provide a COVID19-free certificate.
- Employees must coordinate with their employers about the dates of their travel and return to Qatar. They should consider the quarantine period when planning their trip.
Second: TRAVELERS ENTRY POLICY:
- General Policy:
Citizens, their Spouses and Children, Permanent Residency Holders, and GCC Citizens:
- The health status on Ehteraz application for all travelers coming to the State of Qatar on must be “yellow”, showing that the individual is under quarantine.
- The COVID-19 Green List countries is identified and published on the Ministry of Public Health website and announced by the Qatar Civil Aviation Authority. The list is reviewed and updated regularly.
- All Qatari and GCC citizens should travel from and to the State of Qatar using their passports and not their ID cards as a precautionary measure to control the transmission of COVID-19 infection in the country.
- Qatari and Residents returning from one of the COVID-19 Green Listed Countries must be tested upon arrival to the Port of Entry (PoE) using the approved testing method for COVID-19 and sign the Undertaking for Home Quarantine for a week. On the sixth day, the individual should visit one of the PHCC healthcare centers for re-testing.
- Citizens and Residents returning from the other countries that is not included in the COVID-19 Green List should be hotel quarantined at their own expense for a week. They should book a quarantine package from the listed hotels on the “Discover Qatar” website. They will be re-tested on day 6 and released from the hotel after their health status on Ehteraz turned green on day 7.
- If there are MOPH approved COVID-19 testing centers at the country of travel, a COVID-19-free certificate should be obtained from one of these centers to be exempted from testing at the Port of Entry (PoE). The Certificate should not exceed 48 hours before travel.
- With home quarantine, the accommodation conditions should be suitable, provided it has a separate room with its ensuite bathroom. If the accommodation is not appropriate, one of the hotel quarantine packages must be booked for 7 days through the “Discover Qatar” website before traveling to Qatar.
- Re-testing on the sixth day of quarantine is mandatory, and the individuals under home quarantine will receive SMS as a reminder to visit one of the PHCC healthcare centers for testing. If they did not show-up, it will be followed by a phone call from the Healthcare team. No answer or show-up to the appointment for a valid reason will be considered as non-compliance, and the legal action will be taken per the Decree-Law no.17 for the year 1990.
- If the traveler was a minor, their official guardian should sign the “Home Quarantine Undertaking”.
- Employers, whether individuals or companies, government or private, must obtain “Exceptional Entry Permit” for residents and their family members (QIDs holders) who are still abroad in order to allow them to return to the State of Qatar. The permit is valid for one month from its date of its issuance and can be renewed if not used.
- Residents who are currently in the State of Qatar and wish to travel and return will automatically receive an “Exceptional Entry Permit”. The resident or their employer will be able to printout the permit from the Ministry of Interior’s website or “Metrash2” application at any point after their departure. Residents currently abroad are still required to get the “Exceptional Return Permit” via the “Qatar Portal” website if they wish to return to the State of Qatar.
- It is the responsibility of individuals to ensure that they are updated with any changes in the Entry and Return policy of the State of Qatar, the COVID-19 Green Listed Countries, and the approved testing centers abroad through the official sources and the sites mentioned above before planning their trip.
- Citizens, their spouses and children, and permanent residency holders can return to the State of Qatar at any time, provided they adhere to the travel and return policy mentioned above.
- Citizens, their spouses and children, and permanent residency holders shall bear the cost of the hotel quarantine for one week, if the hotel quarantine criteria apply, provided that the booking made through “Discover Qatar” before their arrival to the State of Qatar.
- If the hotel quarantine criteria apply, the government will cover the costs of the hotel quarantine packages for patients receiving their treatment abroad at the expense of the State, along with their official escorts. The employer is responsible to cover the quarantine expenses for their employees who are on official missions.
- Citizens, their spouses and children, and permanent residents are exempted from hotel quarantine if they are among the vulnerable groups listed in this policy, knowing that this include their immediate family members and domestic helpers traveling with them and share the same national address.
- GCC Citizens can enter the State of Qatar through its air and land ports.
- Visitors to the State of Qatar from GCC should be hotel quarantined at their own expense for a week. They should book a quarantine package from the listed hotels on the “Discover Qatar” website before travelling to Qatar. The exemption policy cannot be applied because of the unavailability of their own residence where they can be home quarantined.
- Visitors traveling through the land port are allowed to go to the hotel designated for quarantine using their own cars, provided they sign a "Quarantine Undertaking", according to which individuals are obligated to follow the State of Qatar laws and policies in force to control infectious diseases.
Workers (Craftsmen and Manual Professions):
- The employer (public or private sector) may submit an “Exceptional Entry Permit” application for craftsmen and manual workers electronically via the “Qatar Portal” website. A similar process applies to domestic workers.
- The employer shall bear the costs of the quarantine in the dedicated facilities for quarantine at a nominal fee after obtaining the entry permit.
- Bookings are made through the “Discover Qatar” website, where room options are available, provided that the reservation is for 14 days.
- The health status of the workers under quarantine will be monitored, and if they showed any symptoms, they would be tested. Otherwise, they will be tested before the end of the quarantine period. If the result is negative, they will be released from the hotel quarantine after completing day-14.
Vulnerable Groups Eligible for Home Quarantine:
- Members of the Qatari diplomatic missions abroad, Cultural, and Military Attaches on annual leaves, and Foreign Missions’ Heads and their families should have a COVID-19-free Certificate from one of the testing centers approved and announced by MOPH. In the absence of MOPH approved testing centers, a certificate using RT-PCR is crucial to be exempted from testing at the Port of Entry (PoE). The COVID-19-free Certificate should not exceed 48 hours before travel. Otherwise, they will be tested at the Airport upon arrival and shall be home quarantined for a week and re-tested on day 6.
- The same process applies to the holders of administrative cards, except employees on local contracts.
- Foreign Diplomats and holders of administrative cards shall be exempted from signing the Home Quarantine Undertaking and downloading the Ehteraz app.
- The following vulnerable groups returning from travel (Qatari and Residents) and their immediate family members, including their domestic helpers who share the same national address are eligible for home quarantine:
- Aged 65 years old and above.
- Organ and Bone Marrow transplant recipients.
- Patients with conditions that require immune-suppressive treatment.
- Patients with heart failure or coronary artery disease.
- Patients with moderate-to-severe asthma.
- Cancer patients with metastasis and those on treatment (Chemotherapy or Radiotherapy).
- Pregnant females (any trimester).
- Nursing mothers with children aged 0-5 years.
- Patients with end-stage renal failure (ESRD) or on dialysis.
- Patients with CLD (Chronic Liver Disease) and decompensation.
- Patients with lower-limb amputations.
- People with disabilities where they depend on others for their activities of daily living.
- Children with disabilities and their mothers.
- Patients with epilepsy and on treatment.
- Patients with diabetic foot infections.
- People with deceased first-degree relatives in the last ten days.
- People with mental health problems on antipsychotic medications and whose condition is aggravated by staying in closed spaces
- Diabetic with neuro, nephro, retinopathy and any other complications.
- Minor travelers (below 18 years old) traveling without an accompanied guardian.
Citizens and Residents traveling with a family member who is among the vulnerable groups and returned to the country without them, should be hotel quarantined and must book a hotel quarantine package from the listed hotels on the "Discover Qatar" website before their travel abroad.
The exemption from hotel quarantine can be suspended in case the accommodation is not appropriate for home quarantine or an MOPH decision to control COVID-19 transmission in the country.
Note: The exemption from hotel quarantine is not applicable to arrivals from the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- South Africa
Third: EHTERAZ APP. POLICY:
- Travelers returning to the State of Qatar must download and activate the Ehteraz app on their mobiles upon arrival at Hamad International Airport. To achieve that:
- A Qatari SIM Card from a local telecom operator (Ooredoo and Vodafone).
- Internet access.
- A smartphone that supports either Android 6 and up or IOS 13.5 and up.
- Download the application on your mobile phone either via Google Play or Apple App Store or from any search engines on the internet.
- Diplomats, holders of MOFA issued administrative cards, and VVIP visitors are exempted.
- Health status on Ehteraz will remain YELLOW until the completion of the full quarantine course and a negative COVID-19 result is obtained as per the quarantine policy stated above.
FOURTH: COVID-19 TESTING CENTERS ABROAD APPROVAL POLICY:
- Criteria to approve COVID-19 testing centers must be shared with the Qatari embassies abroad, and the Foreign and Arab embassies in the country. The proposed testing centers should be studied against the set criteria to determine the testing centers included in the list based on the travelers’ flow arriving from those countries.
- The criteria set by MOPH focused on the laboratory accreditation, analytical methods used for testing, and the information required to be included in the certificate.
HEALTH ASSESSMENT FORM FOR RETURNING TRAVELERS