Qatar prepares to impose Hayya card travel rules for World Cup 2022

There will be restrictions in place for anyone not carrying a Hayya card from Tuesday

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Fifa World Cup ticket holders staying with family or friends in Qatar have until Tuesday, November 1 to register their stay via the Hayya entry permit or face paying for official fan villages or hotels, organisers said.

The Hayya card is an entry permit into Qatar during the World Cup and a fan ID for those with match tickets.

Fans must register the accommodation where they are staying in Qatar via the connected Hayya mobile app or online portal.

The option to stay at a private residential address during the month-long tournament is being withdrawn from Tuesday to allow for processing time.

Cabins and tents in official Fifa fan villages around 8km outside of Doha remain available for around Dh800 a night and more hotel rooms were recently reissued to third-party booking websites.

Organisers on Wednesday said PCR tests will no longer be an entry requirement into Qatar from November 1.

The Qatari Ministry of Health said visitors will no longer be required to submit or present a negative PCR test result before travelling.

Extra hotels

Meanwhile, Qatar Tourism announced the opening of more than 20 new hotels, resorts and tourist destinations — accounting for an additional 30,000 rooms due to huge demand.

“We are close to 130,000 rooms per day,” said Omar Al Jaber, executive director of housing at Qatar’s Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy.

“So across the tournament, we are talking about almost 3.6 million room nights.”

So far, close to 3 million tickets have been sold by Fifa, with most demand coming from Qatar, the US, Saudi Arabia, England, Mexico, the UAE, Argentina, France, Brazil and Germany.

Around 200,000 fans are expected in Doha every day in the first weeks of the tournament.

Thousands of fans are expected to stay in the UAE and fly into Doha for matches. But with limited shuttle flights remaining, a more affordable option of driving was a popular choice.

There is still uncertainty, however, on who will be allowed to rent a vehicle in Dubai to drive to Doha.

Car rentals

Renting a car to drive from the UAE, through Saudi Arabia and into Qatar is likely to be restricted, a local operator said. The journey involves parking 90km outside of Doha and taking a bus into the city.

“It is still unclear what nationalities will be able to rent a car in Dubai and drive it to Doha, or what visas they will need,” said Soham Shah, chief executive of SelfDrive UAE, one of the few rental companies prepared to hire cars for multiple country entry.

“Currently, the guidelines are only for your own personal vehicle — but you must have a match ticket and five days of accommodation in Qatar.

“If you are going for just one match, but need to stay for five days it is not encouraging people to drive there and back.

“There is a concern that entry points into Qatar will get too congested with people who want to drive into Doha.”

The average rental costs for an SUV are around Dh500 a day, inclusive of UAE vehicle insurance.

Other fees include a Dh500 e-visa for Saudi Arabia, while extra car insurance to drive there is around Dh120 per day.

A UAE exit fee of Dh30 must be paid at the border and fuel for the 14-hour round trip is likely to cost around Dh700.

Despite those costs, Mr Shah said he has had plenty of enquires from fans considering the trip.

“It will be peak travel time as many Saudi nationals will also want to drive in and out of Qatar — but the estimated capacity is to manage 4,000 vehicles an hour,” he said.

“But with the security scanning of the vehicles at the UAE exit border, Saudi entry and exit border and the Qatar entry — there will be a lot of checks.

“The most recent information is that a solution is still being worked out to make it more of a simple process, but it is getting very late and we are getting a lot enquiries.

“It is expected to be a huge market for us, but it is difficult to co-ordinate through multiple countries and ministries.

“There are lots of security protocols to consider for such a huge event.”

Updated: October 27, 2022, 3:25 PM