- Normal precautions
- High degree of caution
- Avoid non-essential travel
- Do not travel
- Safety and Security
- Local Laws and Customs
- Natural Disasters and Climate
- Additional Information
- Embassy Contact
General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation
Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA (+ UK). Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’. Travel within the island of Ireland can continue as normal, subject to domestic public health restrictions as outlined on gov.ie.
Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.
On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.
In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide in due course what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions. This website will gradually provide more information as it becomes available.
Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:
All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. In line with the EU traffic lights approach, there are no entry restrictions on travellers from green regions. Currently, all passengers entering Ireland from red, orange and grey regions are requested to restrict their movements for 14 days. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government.
If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:
In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution (this includes Great Britain but not Northern Ireland). The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.
Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.
The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.
Where to go for further travel information:
- DFA Travel Advice for over 200 countries
- Follow us on Twitter
- Register with your local Irish Embassy or Consulate
- Check Embassy websites and Twitter accounts
Avoid non-essential travel.
Security Status Last Updated: 17 March 2020
There are ongoing regional tensions and, in the event of any incidents, you should monitor local media reports and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Terrorists continue to make threats to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These threats include references to attacks on western interests and places where western nationals live, work & frequent. Irish citizens should continue to maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places.
The Qatari authorities have introduced a number of measures to limit the spread of the virus. You should comply with any screening measures or additional requirements put in place by the local authorities. It is mandatory to wear a face mask in public and to have Qatar’s contact tracing app, Ehteraz, downloaded and working on a smart phone. There are severe penalties in place for non-compliance with these requirements.
From 16 March, non-Qatari citizens were not permitted to enter Qatar. This did not apply to transit passengers, who were still able to transfer through Qatar.
The Qatar authorities have announced procedures to facilitate the return of Qatar ID holders abroad from 1 August. Qatar ID holders must receive approval to travel to Qatar in advance of booking their travel. The granting of approval is at the discretion of Qatari authorities. Applications for approval must be submitted through the Qatar Portal.
Those travelling from low-risk countries, including Ireland, will be required to take a PCR test on arrival in Qatar. It will be mandatory to download the Ehteraz app and to sign a declaration to adhere to home quarantine of 7 days.
Further information on the travel requirements can be found here:
A further test will be required at the end of the quarantine period. If the results are negative, the quarantine requirement will end on day 7.
Transiting through Qatar
Transit passengers travelling on to another destination can still transfer through Qatar. You should check with your airline or travel company for the latest information if you are planning to leave or transit through Qatar.
If you are in Qatar, you should monitor developments regularly and follow the advice of local authorities. Be alert to common signs of infection: respiratory problems, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Seek medical advice if you experience these symptoms.
Additional information on COVID-19 can be found via the following links:
Passport and Consular Services
Irish citizens in Qatar who are ordinarily required to forward passport applications or documents for other consular services to the Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi should, until further notice, courier them to the Honorary Consulate of Ireland in Muscat at the address below:
Consulate of Ireland
Oman Commercial Centre
8th Floor, Suite No.807,
Sultanate of Oman
All visa applications for Ireland from Qatari nationals or other residents of Qatar should be submitted directly to the Visa Facilitation Services Global (VFS) Office in Doha.
Following the announcement of the suspension of diplomatic ties by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE & Bahrain with Qatar, flights between Qatar and these countries have been suspended until further notice.
In addition to the closure of air crossings, all marine and land border crossings between these countries and Qatar have also been closed.
As a result there is severe disruption of transport and communications between these states and Qatar. You should contact your airline or tour operator for further information.
Direct flights between European countries and Qatar are not directly affected.
The Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi, which is accredited to the State of Qatar is monitoring developments in Qatar and the wider region closely. The Embassy is actively liaising with our EU colleagues & other interlocutors with regard to these developments.
The Embassy recommends that all Irish citizens in Qatar should register themselves & their families with the Department of Foreign Affairs. It also recommends that Irish citizens in Qatar keep informed of developments through the local media.
The Department of Foreign Affairs twitter account @dfatravelwise provides the latest travel updates for Irish citizens living and traveling abroad.
The Embassy of Ireland in Abu Dhabi can be followed on twitter @IrelandEmbUAE.
The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.
There is no Irish Embassy in Qatar, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Irish Embassy in UAE if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.
EU Directive on Consular Protection
Under the EU Consular Protection Directive, Irish nationals may seek assistance from the Embassy or Consulate of any other EU member state in a country where there is no Irish Embassy or permanent representation.
Our tips for safe travels
- Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
- Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
- Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
- Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide
Safety and Security
Safety and Security
Safety and security
Be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests.
Most visits to Qatar are trouble-free and there is a relatively low incidence of crime. However, you should take the usual sensible precautions:
- Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place.
- Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home.
- Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways.
- Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places.
If you’re a victim of a crime while in Qatar, report it to the local police immediately. And you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Abu Dhabi if you need help.
If you’re planning to drive in Qatar, you should be careful. Standards of driving are low. Roaming animals and drifting sands are additional road hazards. If you want to drive:
- Bring your full Irish driving licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance
- There is a zero-tolerance policy on drink driving in Qatar. Offenders may be detained, fined and banned from driving
Off-road driving, particularly trips to the desert, can be hazardous unless you’re in a well-equipped and properly maintained 4 x 4 vehicle. Always travel in convoy with other cars, take a supply of water and a mobile telephone and leave travel plans with friends or relatives.
Hiring a vehicle
If you’re hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.
Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).
Local Laws and Customs
Local Laws and Customs
Local laws and customs
Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.
When travelling in Qatar, take care not to offend local culture or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals. Be conscious of your dress and behaviour if you intend to visit places of worship.
During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time. Guide books, local hoteliers and tour guides can be good sources of information for how to behave and dress respectfully. In 2020, the holy month of Ramadan is expected to start on 23 April.
Sharia law is an Islamic body of law and moral code. Penalties under Sharia law can be very severe, particularly for offences such as theft and adultery. If you’re travelling in an area governed by Sharia law, we advise you to respect local religious traditions and avoid offending local sensitivities. Travellers should dress conservatively and women are advised to cover their legs, arms and head.
It is against the law to drink alcohol or be drunk in public in Qatar and penalties can include a prison sentence or deportation. Alcohol is, however, available at licensed hotel restaurants and bars, and non-Muslim expatriates living in Qatar can obtain alcohol on a permit system. You should not carry alcohol with you, including in your car (except to take it on the day of collection from the warehouse to your home). The legal drinking age in Qatar is 21.
The penalties for possession of or trade in drugs are severe, often resulting in prison sentences. Some herbal remedies which can be purchased legally elsewhere, such as cannabidiol or CBD oil, may be illegal in Qatar.
If you need to bring controlled/prescription medication into Qatar, the medicine should be in its original packaging and you should carry your original prescription. Avoid carrying large quantities of controlled or prescription medication. Some medicines available on prescription or over the counter elsewhere could be considered illegal in Qatar. If in doubt, check with the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Qatar.
Photography and Social Media
Avoid filming and photographing people without their permission. You can be arrested for filming or photographing sensitive areas, such as religious, military or security sites.
Posting insulting or culturally insensitive material (including videos and photographs) or comments online may be considered a crime punishable under Qatari law.
Financial crimes, including fraud, bounced cheques and non-payment of bills (including hotel bills), can result in imprisonment and/or a fine in Qatar.
It’s forbidden to import narcotics, alcohol, pornography, pork products and religious books and material. DVDs and videos are subject to scrutiny and may be censored. Qatar law also prohibits the importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes, liquids and other similar products (eg electronic shisha pipes).
Swearing and rude gestures
Swearing and making rude gestures are considered obscene acts and offenders can be jailed or deported. Take particular care when dealing with the police and other officials.
Public displays of affection or intimacy between any couple can lead to arrest.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Qatar.
You should carry your passport at all times while in Qatar.
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural Disasters and Climate
Natural disasters and climate
The climate in Qatar is hot and dry most of the year. You should take appropriate precautions to prevent sunburn and dehydration, remembering that during Ramadan it is an offence to eat or drink in public between sunrise and sunset.
There are occasional sandstorms but although they may restrict visibility, they are not usually severe enough to affect daily life.
Entry requirements (visa/passport)
Irish citizens can get a free 30 day visa waiver on arrival in Qatar.
Information on entry visas to Qatar can be found on the Qatar Ministry of Interior website.
If you are unsure about the entry requirements for Qatar, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent/airline or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Qatar.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months from the date of entry to Qatar. A longer period of validity may be required if you plan to obtain a Qatari residency permit.
Emergency Irish travel documents are not accepted for entry to Qatar but may be accepted for transit. Please contact your travel agent/airline and/or the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Qatar for further information.
It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you when travelling to Qatar and you should carry your passport at all times during your stay.
More travel advice
Because we don’t have an Embassy or Consulate in Qatar, we can’t give you up-to-date travel advice. But you can visit these foreign ministries for more detailed information:
- UK: Foreign and Commonwealth Office
- Canada: Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
- New Zealand: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- Australia: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
- USA: Department of State
If you need emergency assistance from the Embassy, then contact us immediately. Our telephone number is: +971 (0) 2 4958200.
If you require emergency assistance at the weekend or on a public holiday, you will be asked to leave a message on the answering machine. The answering machine is monitored regularly, and the Duty Officer at the Embassy will contact you as soon as possible. When you leave a message, remember to state your name, the nature of the problem, where you are now, and the details of how the Duty Officer can contact you (e.g. leave your mobile phone number, or the phone number of the hotel/hostel where you are staying). If necessary, contact the police also. Please note that the Duty Officer will deal with emergencies only.
Embassy of Ireland
Al Yasat Street off 6th Street
P.O. Box 61581
United Arab Emirates
Sunday to Thursday, 09:00-13:00
Get travel and medical insurance
Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.