Qatar has dropped the Hayya card entry requirement for Gulf citizens and residents, paving the way for thousands of fans without tickets to soak up the final leg of the World Cup.
“GCC citizens and its residents will be allowed to enter the country without the need to obtain a Hayya card for non-ticket holders as of December 6,” the Ministry of Interior said on Tuesday.
New rules will apply for the rest of the World Cup.
The decision is likely to lead to a boom in last-minute trips to Doha for fixtures such as England v France this Saturday.
Although tickets for the finals sold out months ago, many fans from Dubai, Abu Dhabi and elsewhere are expected to want to take in the atmosphere on Sunday, December 18.
Fans with tickets are still required to use the Hayya card system, which prevents fraudulent entry to stadiums.
Driving from Dubai or Abu Dhabi
GCC citizens and residents hoping to drive to Qatar will be allowed to enter without a Hayya card from December 8.
To do this, you need to apply for a vehicle entry permit through Qatar Ministry of Interior website 12 hours before crossing.
There are no fees to pay, officials said.
Fans still have an option of crossing land borders and leaving their car in a designated car park on the Saudi side, before taking buses to Doha. We have a full guide on that here.
“This step is in line with the country efforts to allow citizens and residents to enjoy the World Cup’s atmosphere,” the ministry said in a statement.
Rules for non-Gulf residents
The Hayya card acts as an entry visa to Qatar during the World Cup and is still required by those wishing to attend the matches, or people without a Gulf residency visa.
New entry rules brought in last Friday — in time for the start of the knockout stages of the competition the following day — allow fans to enter Qatar even if they do not plan to or are unable to attend a game.
For example, a tourist on holiday in Dubai would still need to apply at the Hayya website or through the Hayya to Qatar 2022 mobile app, for a Dh500 ($136) fee.
Fans without tickets must apply through the “Early December” Hayya option and must provide proof they have booked accommodation in Qatar. This can be done at qatar2022.qa/book.
Fans can collect a physical copy of their digital Hayya card at one of two Hayya service centres, at Ali Bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena and Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre. The Hayya card can be printed only once.