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Travel Consideration: Qatar








Contributed By RealAdventures

Qatar, a traditional emirate, is a modern, developed country, and tourist facilities are widely available. Islamic ideals and beliefs provide the conservative foundation of the country's customs, laws and practices. Qatar is not a signatory to the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations nor to any other bilateral or multilateral consular accord. The capital is Doha.

Passports and visas are required. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the State of Qatar, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Suite 200, Washington, D.C. 20016, telephone (202) 274-1600, fax (202) 237-0053, or the Consulate General of the State of Qatar, 4265 San Felipe Street, Suite 1100, Houston, TX 77027, telephone (713) 968-9840, fax (713) 968-9841.

Crime is generally not a problem for travelers in Qatar. The loss or theft of a U.S. passport abroad should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.

Basic modern medical care and medicines are available in the government-run Hamad General Hospital in Qatar. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars or more. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payments for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Qatar is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor

Travel by road in Qatar is generally safe, although safety regulations in Qatar are not consistent with U.S. standards. Roads in Doha and Qatar's highway system are well planned and engineered. Informal rules of the road and local customs, however, may prove frustrating for first-time visitors. The rate of automobile accidents due to driver error is higher than in the United States. In rural areas, poor lighting, wandering camels and horses, and high-speed driving are other areas of concern.

For specific information concerning Qatari driver's permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact either the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C. or the Consulate General of the State of Qatar in Houston, TX.

Qatari customs authorities enforce strict regulations concerning importation into Qatar of items such as alcohol, drugs, pork products, firearms, or anything deemed pornographic by Qatari authorities. While importation of religious material for personal use is acceptable, importation of religious material for the purpose of proselytizing is not. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, D.C., or the Consulate General of the State of Qatar in Houston for specific information regarding customs requirements.

U.S. citizens, particularly those of Arab descent, are encouraged to carry a copy of their U.S. passports with them at all times, so that, if questioned by local officials, proof of identity and U.S. citizenship are readily available.

Qatari employers/sponsors have customarily held on to the passports of their foreign (i.e., non-Qatari) employees during the term of their employment in Qatar. Foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, may not leave Qatar without the permission of their employer/sponsor.

For information on international adoption and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000. Qatar is not a party to any international or bilateral treaty regarding international child abduction, adoption or child support enforcement issues.

U.S. citizens living in or visiting Qatar are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Qatar and obtain updated information on travel and security within Qatar. The U.S. Embassy is located at the Al-Luqta District on 22nd February Street, P.O. Box 2399, Doha, phone (974) 884-101, fax (974) 884-176. For after-hours emergencies, American citizens may contact the duty officer at (974) 5-531-085. On the Internet, you may reach the Embassy web site at http://qatar.net.qa/usisdoha. The workweek in Qatar and for the Embassy is Saturday through Wednesday.

As there is no direct commercial service by local carriers at present between the United States and Qatar, nor economic authority to operate such service, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Qatar's civil aviation authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Qatar's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at tel. 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/iasa.pdf.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. As a result of the August 23, 2000 crash of a Gulf Air flight in the Persian Gulf, DOD has recommended that military commands use air carriers other than Gulf Air for DOD official travel, at least until investigation of the crash is complete. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.







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