Smartraveller’s warning for Aussies heading to Qatar for World Cup

Smartraveller has released a fresh warning for Aussie travellers planning to head to Qatar for this year’s FIFA World Cup.

Travellers will need a special visa to enter Qatar from 1 November 2022 to 23 January 2023, according to the DFAT-run travel advisory website.

Those planning to travel during that time will need an approved Hayya Card instead of the country’s standard visa, which means you can only enter Qatar from November through to the end of January if you have tickets to FIFA World Cup matches.

Smartraveller also warned that Qatari laws and customs are very different to those in Australia and said travellers could face serious penalties for doing something that you wouldn’t think twice about in Australia.

For instance, it’s an offence to use “obscene language” or gestures, and photographing locals, particularly women, is illegal without permission.

There are strong Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Qatar that travellers should make themselves aware of so they don’t cause offence, and public displays of affection and intimacy should be avoided.

The website also noted that homosexuality is illegal in Qatar, though host authorities have said there will be no restrictions on LGBT+ couples staying in the same room.

In May, FIFA threatened to terminate contracts if hotels featured on its list of recommended accommodations deny entry to same-sex couples after a survey found that three of its 69 listed hotels wouldn’t welcome LGBT+ guests and 20 said they would only tolerate same-sex couples if they were not open about being gay.

Read more about Qatar’s entry requirements and travel warnings HERE.

Featured image: aerial view of the Pearl, Doha (iStock/franckreporter)