Being the world’s richest and fastest developing country in the world, Qatar has recently become the land of opportunity for people from all parts of the world. Since Qatar has been awarded the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which will require major construction of hotels, stadiums and other infrastructure, the country has been, and will be, drawing in more foreign workers.
Qatar’s road network is expanding at the same rapid pace as the rest of the country’s infrastructure. However, there is a high per-capita fatal accident record compared to most other developed and developing nations.
Besides the influx of people seen at the Arrivals terminal, the increase of Qatar’s population is mostly evident on the road, as traffic has increased immensely.
Driving in Qatar has become a challenge. About five years ago, it would take a maximum of 20 minutes to get anywhere within Doha city. However, things have changed – it can now take double that time or more to move from one place to another within Qatar’s capital city. As a result, Qatar is considering imposing restrictions on foreigners obtaining a driver’s license as a solution to the increasing traffic congestion.
How to Apply Driving License in Qatar
It is a legal requirement to hold a valid licence to drive in Qatar. The Traffic Department is the authorised authority for issuing driving licenses. Below are the various options depending on your length of stay.
On arrival – 1 week rule
Visitors can drive for one week (7 days from arrival) on approved licences from some countries. Visit the Traffic Department at Madinat Khalifa (see map below) to check the validity of your home country licence.
Temporary Driving Licence – valid for 3 months
If you wish to drive for longer than a week you can apply for a Temporary Licence which is valid for 3 months. It is possible to extend the licence when it expires.
How to apply for a temporary licence
Fill in the application form and submit it along with the following documents to the Traffic Department (see map):
- Original licence from an approved country
- Passport – original and copies
- Three colour photos – passport size, white background. If you need to wear glasses while driving you must be wearing glasses in the photos.
International Driving Licence – valid for 6 months
A valid international driving licence can be used for up to six months from the date you enter the country.
In general, temporary and international licence holders are restricted to driving rental vehicles as insurance companies require drivers of privately-owned vehicles to hold a full licence.
Full Driving Licence
If you are a resident (hold a Qatar Residence Permit) you may apply for a Qatar Driving Licence. The licence fee for Qataris is QR500 (valid for 10 years) and QR250 for non-Qataris (valid for 5 years). Additional fees apply for driving and vision tests.
Applying for a Qatar Driving Licence.
How to Apply for Driving License in Qatar
Motorists are required to hold a valid driving license in order to drive in Qatar. New visitor and tourists may use an international driving permit for up to six months, after which they are required to obtain a Qatari driving license.
Some foreign driving licenses are recognized in Qatar, and can be converted into a valid Qatari driving license without any additional driving tests. First-time drivers should enroll in driving school ahead of time.
A vision test is mandatory for all applicants. This can be completed at the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department, or through a private hospital, clinic or licensed professional.
- Download and fill out the application form.
- Submit the form and the required documents to the Medinat Khalifa Traffic Department, which include:
- A copy of your ID and three recent personal photos.
- Copies of the passport and the sponsor’s ID (for residents).
- Complete the required tests.
- Pay the appropriate fees.
For residents, sponsors must sign the application form for the new license and specifying its type.
The fees of a new private vehicle driving license for Qataris are QR500 (valid for 10 years) and QR250 for non-Qataris (valid for 5 years). You can view issuance and renewal fees of the driving licenses for all types of vehicles through this link.
Driving License Application
To apply for a Qatar Driving License you must be a resident of Qatar; at least 18 years of age (light vehicle or motorcycle license), or 21 (heavy vehicle license; be physically fit; and posses the level of driving proficiency required, this means that most expats will be required to take the driving test at an authorized testing center.
Applying for a Qatar Driving License is relatively easy and involves presenting various documents at the new Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department building, a purpose built facility with as many as 106 counters open from 7am to 11am and 4pm to 7pm throughout the week (closed Fridays).
Print and fill out the application form in Arabic. Translation typing services are available in the proximity of the Traffic Department building for a small fee.
The license fee for Qataris is QR500 (valid for 10 years) and QR250 for non-Qataris (valid for 5 years). Additional fees apply for driving and vision tests.
You will be asked to take a vision test, which is done at the time you apply. On passing the eye test and paying the appropriate fee (payment by card only) your driving license will be issued immediately.
Application requirements for Qataris:
- Applicants must be the legal age to drive
- ID card and 1 copy
- 3 recent color photographs (passport size)
- Driving learning deposit (3 months) for those who wish to learn driving using a private car.
Application requirements for non-Qataris:
- Applicants must be the legal age to drive.
- ID card or passport and 1 copy.
- A copy of the ID card of your sponsor (if the sponsor is a person).
- A letter from your sponsor to approve the request for a new license.
- 3 recent color photographs (passport size).
The applicant may apply at an Approved Driving School of his or her choice.
Application requirements for diplomats and officials of international missions:
- Book of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- A copy of the diplomatic card
- Original license
- 3 recent color photographs (passport size)
The application is free of charge for diplomats and officials of international missions.
Application requirements for new residents in Qatar holding a driving license from another country:
- If you hold a driving license issued from your country, or from an accepted body, you will be referred to a driving school to undergo a test to assess your ability to drive.
- On passing this test a Qatar driving license will be issued.
- If you fail to pass the test on the second attempt you will be referred to a full training course at an approved driving school.
Application requirements for those with disabilities or impairments:
- Those with a disability or impairment will be referred to the medical services authority by the traffic department for a disability type report.
- Following acceptance of the medical report, a license will be granted according to the appraisal.
- Clear indication of the disability is required on the holder’s driving license. In some cases a sticker is required on the car.
Requirements for tourists including those from the GCC:
- Holders of a valid international driving license can drive in Qatar for up to six months from the date they enter the country. After that, it is mandatory to hold a Qatar Driving License.
- Holders of a valid driving license from one of the GCC nations who are visiting relatives or for tourism can drive in Qatar for up to 3 months from the date they enter the country. Proof of the date of entry to Qatar must be provided on demand, so it is essential that drivers carry their passport or entry visa details at all times.