With the FIFA World Cup 2022 being organised in Qatar, football fans in the Arab world and other nearby countries like India are thrilled. The closer destination means that it will be easier for them to travel to watch their favourite teams play.
But for Indian passport holders, planning a foreign trip around a tournament can be difficult. From buying the tickets to the game to navigating immigration during Covid time can be a daunting task that can suck the fun out of the whole deal.
So, we did some research to make it easier for you to plan ahead. This is what you need to know before planning to hop on a plane to Qatar.
When: FIFA World Cup begins on November 20 and concludes on December 18.
Tickets: Now, you absolutely need to have the tickets to the game to be able to go to Qatar to attend the tournament. The second phase of the sale of tickets for the FIFA World Cup ended in mid-August. But if you have not yet secured your tickets, fret not, the Last Minute Sales phase window is expected to open up in September.
Once you have secured your tickets to the game, the next step is navigating immigration.
To relieve you of some headaches, the good news is that Indian passport holders can apply for a visa-on-arrival (valid for 30 days) for Qatar. So, there is no nightmare of waiting with bated breath and counting your luck to get the visa appointment, carrying a mountain of documents to the appointment centre and all of that mess.
NOTE: Foreigners travelling to Qatar from November 1, 2022, will need to get a Hayya Card to enter the country. Even those who do not intend to visit the FIFA World Cup must get a Hayya Card during the tournament period.
Newland Chase, immigration services, says, “No other standard visit/travel/visa-free/visa-on-arrival permits will be issued during this period and Hayya will be considered as the entry permit.”
Booking the flight tickets: There are several airlines that operate flights to Doha, Qatar, from major Indian cities. Qatar Airways also has a special FIFA World Cup package booking that includes hotel booking and FIFA World Cup ticket booking among other things as well.
Flights with a layover may be cheaper than direct flights.
Document checklist (for Indian passport holders):
- Passport with minimum 6 months validity
- Confirmed flight tickets with a return booking
- Hotel booking ONLY through Discover Qatar for the full duration of stay
- Stay should include one day quarantine in case of a fully vaccinated traveller with a negative RT-PCR test report
- Vaccination certificate
- Filled and signed acknowledgement form
- Proof of funds with an International debit/credit card with a minimum balance of QTR 5,000 (Rs 1.9 lakh approximately)
- 3 months bank statement with the name of the visitor or the head of the family in case of debit card use
What you need to do:
- Upload all relevant documents on the Etheraz portal, pre-register and get the approval of the same
- Download Etheraz mobile app
- Entry will be subject to the Etheraz approval
- You will need a negative RT-PCR Covid test within 48 hours of boarding your flight
There are some exceptions for children under Covid norms. Check out the complete details here.
Once you are in Qatar you can either decide to visit the country only to watch FIFA World Cup or you can also plan to explore other tourist places. Travelling by metro, buses and even bicycles is a cheaper option of movement inside Qatar. You can also explore your stay in traditional Bedouin tents. Qatar is in the process of setting up these tents in the vast desert ahead of the FIFA World Cup. At least 200 of these tents will boast of a luxurious stay.
What you can explore besides FIFA World Cup?
- You can get some Vitamin D into your system by soaking in the sun at the many public beaches in the country. Sealine Beach is particularly famous and it is close to Doha.
- You can visit the Katara Cultural Village to soak in some local culture.
- You can visit the Museum of Islamic Art which is home to one of the largest collections of Islamic art in the world.
- Want to go shopping or buy souvenirs to remember the trip? Stop by the Souq Waqif, a traditional marketplace.
Over 1.5 million FIFA fans from around the world are expected to flock to Qatar to watch their favourite teams play. So, if you want to be one of them, planning ahead is the key.