Traveling to the Fifa World Cup in Qatar: Dos and Donts

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More than a million World Cup supporters are getting ready to travel to the Gulf to take in Qatar's month-long football festival.

Since this is the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East, social mores and religious practices there are likely to differ from those in other regions.


Fan festivals

Al Bidda Park, located in the center of the city close to the Corniche, will serve as a gathering spot for fans during the tournament once the first game is played in Doha.

Other fan sites, Al Maha Island in Lusail, where a beach festival is planned with concerts, activities, food and drink outlets, and the Al Maha Arena, which will host live concerts, will also show matches.

Fans who have reserved lodging at the official fan villages outside of Doha are welcome to go to the Fan Village Cabins Free Zone to watch live games.

The Hayya Fan ID card that comes with a World Cup match ticket allows access to the Doha Metro system and is free of charge.

The eight stadiums that will host the 64 games are all within a one-hour drive of the center of Doha.


Hayya card

Visitors must apply for a Hayya card, a fan ID that serves as an entry visa and provides free public transportation within Doha.

To assist spectators at the Ali bin Hamad Al Attiyah Arena, the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy opened a special service center for Hayya card holders.

Fans who do not have a mobile phone but still want to use transportation services or fan zones can pick up a physical copy of their digital Hayya card.

Until December 23, the center will be open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on all days besides Fridays, when it will be open from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.



In addition to being available in fan zones at specific times, alcohol is served in many hotels and licensed restaurants across the nation.

In fan zones, alcohol sales could be less expensive than in hotels, and tokens that can be used to pay for drinks will likely be exchanged for local currency.


It is illegal to bring alcohol into the country

Only residents are permitted to purchase alcohol from specialist outlets for home consumption, so fans will be prohibited from drinking outside of official venues.



Although a vaccination is not required to enter Qatar, anyone traveling to the World Cup aged six or older must show proof of a negative coronavirus test when they arrive at the airport before their flight.

A PCR test result must be obtained no more than 48 hours prior to departure, or no later than 24 hours prior to departure if taking an official negative Rapid Antigen Test.


Self-tests won't be recognized

Fans should check their travel insurance to make sure it covers any required hotel stays to isolate, which are necessary if you test positive while visiting Qatar.

The pre-entry online registration requirement on the Qatari government's Ehteraz website for residents and GCC nationals is not applicable to World Cup visitors who possess Hayya cards.

Similar to the UAE, only public transportation and medical facilities require masks.



One of the biggest challenges for the massive number of people visiting Qatar during the World Cup is likely to be respecting local customs.

Swimwear is permitted at hotel pools and beaches, but visitors are expected to cover their shoulders and knees when entering public spaces like government offices and museums.

In addition to forbidding shirt removal inside stadiums, the much-publicized air-conditioned stadiums are made to keep fans at a comfortable temperature.

The outside temperature in November is typically around 26 degrees Celsius, but it could reach the mid-thirties.


Public displays of affection

During the World Cup, visitors are asked to keep their public displays of affection to a minimum.

Unmarried friends of different genders or couples are permitted to share a room during the competition despite the fact that cohabitation between unmarried couples is prohibited by Qatari law.



Enforcing Qatar's stringent regulations on privacy and photography may be difficult given the throngs of fans who post about their experiences on social media.

Fans were urged by the event's organizers to show "common courtesy" and seek others' consent before taking photos or videos of them.

Fans should be aware that it is strictly forbidden to take photos inside any government structures, including military bases, offices, and industrial areas.



2014 saw a complete ban on the sale of vapes ordered by Qatar's Ministry of Public Health.

Along with Qatar's seaport and land borders, the customs department at Hamad International Airport was also advised not to permit the import of e-cigarettes.

Despite this, a sizable population continues to regularly use e-cigarettes without consequence, suggesting that there may be some latitude in the situation.

While in Qatar, it won't be possible to legally buy vaping refills or related products.


Working week

With a weekend of Friday and Saturday, Qatar's work week begins on a Sunday.

The hours of some services may be shortened on a Friday because it is a holy day. This includes some stores and banks.

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