Dubai: In a significant move, Qatar has decided to tighten its visit visa policy from next month forcing nationals of 33 countries, mostly European, visiting the Gulf Arab state to arrange entry before travel.
Both the UK and US embassies in Doha have posted travel advice for citizens on their Web Sites, confirming the shake-up in visa regulations.
"From 1 May, 2010 British passport holders visiting Qatar must obtain a visa before their arrival in Qatar," the UK embassy said.
This is in effect a withdrawal of the provision to allow British passport holders to obtain a visitors visa on arrival in Qatar.
According to the Qatar Immigration Department, around 40,000 British tourists visit Qatar every year. The US embassy also confirmed that the current visa-on-arrival scheme is to be scrapped.
"As of May 1, 2010, US citizens will no longer be able to apply for tourist visas on arrival in Qatar. US citizens who plan on travelling to Qatar after May 01, 2010, should consult either the Qatari government online portal, the nearest Qatari embassy, or the Qatari Ministry for details about how to apply for a visa," the embassy said.
Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, France and Italy are among other countries affected by this new rule.