What is the change? Qatar has announced that it will waive visa requirements for nationals of 80 countries.

What does the change mean? Affected nationals will be able to travel to Qatar for tourism without first obtaining a visa. The list of 80 countries includes Australia, Brazil, China, India, Singapore, South Africa, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States and all EU member countries.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The waiver was announced this week, and BAL is working to confirm when it will take effect.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visa waivers issued upon arrival to nationals of 80 countries.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of 80 countries traveling to Qatar for tourism.
  • Impact on processing times: The change will save travelers the time it takes to obtain a visa before traveling to Qatar.

Background:  Officials in Qatar hope the move will spur travel to the country after the attempt by some of its neighbors – including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – to isolate it. More than a dozen countries cut or downgraded diplomatic ties with Qatar in June, claiming it supports terrorist groups and threatens to destabilize the region. Qatar denies the charges.

Under the new program, nationals of 33 countries – including most EU countries, Switzerland and Turkey – will be eligible for visa-free stays of up to 90 days. Nationals of 47 countries – including Australia, Brazil, China, India, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States – will be eligible for visa-free stays of up to 30 days and will be allowed to renew once. The visa waivers are good for single or multiple entries.

BAL Analysis: The change reflects officials’ hopes to open up Qatar to foreign travel amid a diplomatic crisis intended to isolate the country. While the waiver will allow for tourist travel, it does not cover those intending to conduct business or work activities.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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