Restrictive driver’s license policy announced

4 Jan 16



What is the change? Qatar has announced a more restrictive policy on certain expatriates obtaining driver’s licenses.

What does the change mean? Expatriates holding licenses issued in certain Asian and African countries will now be required to take a driving class in Qatar and pass a test. Additionally, the Qatari Traffic Department will no longer convert licenses of expatriate residents of Gulf Cooperation Council countries into Qatari licenses. This provision does not affect citizens of GCC countries, who remain eligible to convert their domestic driver’s licenses into Qatari licenses.

  • Implementation time frame: Immediate.
  • Visas/permits affected: Qatari driver’s licenses.
  • Who is affected: Foreign nationals holding a driver’s license issued by certain countries and wishing to obtain a driver’s license in Qatar.
  • Impact on processing times: It will take longer for certain foreign nationals to obtain a license in Qatar.
  • Business impact: Expatriate employees in Qatar should be made aware of the new policy.

Background: The policy will affect foreigners living in GCC countries who wish to convert their GCC license to a Qatari license. The ability to convert a license will only be available to GCC citizens. The Qatari Traffic Department has also stopped allowing direct driving tests for foreigners holding licenses issued by the following countries:

Bangladesh China Egypt Eritrea Ethiopia
Ghana India Indonesia Kenya Mauritania
Nepal Nigeria North Korea Pakistan The Philippines
Somalia Sri Lanka Sudan  

They will be required to take a driving course and pass a test.

BAL Analysis: Affected nationals should plan ahead if they wish to obtain a Qatari driver’s license.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group and our network provider located in Qatar. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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