Visitors from Morocco and Algeria will now be eligible for the visa-on-arrival to Qatar, provided they hold valid residence permits or visas from the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Schengen countries or the GCC countries, Ministry of Interior (MoI) and Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) announced on Sunday.
The new system, set to take effect on September 15, will allow eligible visitors from the two countries to obtain Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) by completing a simple online application on www.qatarvisaservice.com at least 48 hours prior to travelling to Qatar.
Applicants will be required to provide proof of accommodation such as hotel booking and details of their return (or onward) travel, in addition to a copy of their passport with a minimum validity of six months.
Once these steps are completed, eligible travellers from Morocco and Algeria will obtain a visa-on-arrival to Qatar, which will permit them to stay in the country for up to 30 days during a single visit.
The visa can be extended for 30 additional days to be used during the same visit. If the visitor leaves the country and wishes to return, they will need to apply for a new ETA 48 hours before travelling to Qatar.
“We are continuously reviewing Qatar’s visa policies and seek to update them in line with economic and international developments,” Brigadier Mohamed al-Ateeq, director general of the Department of Passport and Expatriates Affairs at MoI, said in a statement.
“This new development will facilitate co-operation between our nations and will help to attract visitors from those countries. Algerian and Moroccan visitors who are not eligible for an ETA are also welcome to apply for a regular tourist visa through the same e-visa platform,” he added.
Such development comes as part of a series of measures that Qatar has taken to facilitate visitor access to the country.
Last month, Qatar waived visa requirements for nationals of 80 countries. In July, Qatar launched an e-visa platform, which allows visitors of all nationalities to apply for a tourist visa through a seamless and transparent process.
QTA’s chief tourism development officer Hassan al-Ibrahim said the new system is one of the many steps that Qatar has taken to develop its tourism sector and diversify tourist source markets.
“We have introduced several measures to ease entry to Qatar, and hope this will provide an added incentive to our guests from Morocco and Algeria to choose Qatar, whether as a stopover or final destination,” he noted.
QTA also aims to encourage businessmen and women to visit Qatar to attend business events and find out more about promising investment opportunities.
“Over the next few days, we will be announcing additional measures to further diversify source markets,” al-Ibrahim said.
In November 2016, Qatar introduced a free transit visa which allows travellers transiting Qatar for more than five hours to stop over for 96 hours (four days). This has resulted in a 40% increase in the number of stopover visitors in the first half of 2017 compared to the same period in 2016.
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