Driving in Qatar

Updated 2023-06-20 19:39

Are you moving to Qatar and wondering whether you are allowed to drive as an expat? From understanding the local traffic rules and regulations to familiarizing yourself with the unique driving culture, this article gives you essential tips for navigating Qatar's roadways with confidence.

Driving during a short stay in Qatar

If you are traveling to Qatar for a short-term stay, you can drive in the country with your original driving license for a period of up to 14 days. Your original driving license must be recognized by the Qatari authorities; the list of eligible nationalities is available on the Ministry of Interior of Qatar website.

Using an international driving license in Qatar

To drive legally in Qatar, you must have a valid driver's license. If you are a visitor, you can use an International Driving Permit (IDP) in combination with your home country's driver's license for up to six months. After that, you will need to obtain a Qatari driver's license.

The process of obtaining an International Driving Permit (IDP) varies depending on your country of residence. In general, you must hold a valid driver's license issued by your home country to be eligible for an International Driving Permit. The requirements may vary, so it's recommended to check with the appropriate authority in your country. Contact the relevant authority in your country that issues International Driving Permits. Typically, the documents required for obtaining an International Driving Permit include a completed application form, a valid driver's license, passport-sized photographs, and proof of identity (such as a passport).

Good to know:

International Driving Permits are typically valid for one year from the date of issue or until the expiration date of your home country's driver's license, whichever comes first.

Temporary driver's license in Qatar

After 14 days in Qatar, you need to apply for a temporary driving license. A temporary driving license is required if you do not permanently reside in the country. In order to apply for a temporary driving license, go to the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department with the application form duly completed (in Arabic), your original driving license, proof of identity (your passport) and a copy, and 3 photographs. Fees apply. A sight test will be performed. Note that in most cases, driving tests are not required.

Exchanging your driver's license in Qatar

If you permanently reside in Qatar, you can show proof of your original driving license or your temporary Qatari driving license to exchange it for a full Qatari driving license. The cost for non-Qataris is 250 QR and is valid for 5 years. The document checklist includes the following:

  • The application form duly completed (in Arabic);
  • Your national driving license;
  • Your No Objection Letter from your employer;
  • An ID (passport) plus a copy;
  • 3 passport-sized photographs.

A sight test will be performed. It is recommended to complete the sight test at an optician or eye doctor prior to arriving at the ministry.

You may also need a valid debit or credit card to pay the license fees.

If your original driving license is not recognized by the Qatari authorities, driving tests are required.

The Traffic Department is located on Khalifa Street, Madinat Khalifa, and is open from 7 am to 11 am and 4 pm to 7 pm.

Obtaining driver's license in Qatar

To obtain a Qatari driver's license, you will need to prepare the required documents, which may include your passport, residence permit, valid ID card, original driving license from your home country, proof of residence in Qatar, and passport-sized photographs. The exact document requirements may vary depending on your nationality and the type of license you are applying for.

Go to the Traffic Department in Qatar to submit your application. The Traffic Department is responsible for driver's license issuance and testing. You can visit the main Traffic Department office or one of its branches, such as the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department. Complete the application form and submit it along with the required documents. You may need to provide the documents in both original and photocopy formats. It's advisable to contact the Traffic Department or Ministry of Interior beforehand to confirm the specific requirements and procedures.

After submitting your application, you may be required to take a written test. The written test typically assesses your knowledge of traffic rules, road signs, and driving regulations. The test can be taken at designated testing centers within the Traffic Department. If you pass the written test, you will proceed to the practical driving test. The driving test evaluates your driving skills and ability to follow traffic rules and signals. The test is conducted by qualified examiners from the Traffic Department. You will need to bring a vehicle for the driving test, which can be either your own vehicle or a rental vehicle. A vision test is also part of the driver's license application process. It assesses your visual acuity to ensure that you meet the minimum requirements for safe driving. The vision test is usually conducted at the Traffic Department or a designated testing center.

There are fees associated with obtaining a Qatari driver's license. The exact costs may vary depending on factors such as the type of license and the duration of validity. It's recommended to inquire about the current fees at the Traffic Department or Ministry of Interior.

Good to know:

If you successfully complete all the tests and meet the requirements, your Qatari driver's license will be valid for a specific duration, typically one to ten years, depending on the type of license and your circumstances.

The cost of obtaining a driver's license in Qatar

The fees for obtaining a driver's license in Qatar are approximately as follows:

Application fee: This fee covers the processing of your driver's license application. The application fee is typically around 250 Qatari Riyals (QAR).

Written test fee: If a written test is required, there may be an additional fee of around 50 QAR for the test.

Driving test fee: The fee for the practical driving test can range from 200 to 300 QAR.

Road rules and regulations in Qatar

Qatar has a well-developed road infrastructure, including modern highways, well-maintained roads, and a network of interchanges. However, construction and road maintenance are common, so be prepared for potential diversions or temporary road closures.

When driving in Qatar as an expat, it's important to familiarize yourself with the traffic rules and regulations to ensure a safe and smooth experience on the roads.

Traffic flow

In Qatar, vehicles drive on the right-hand side of the road. Overtaking is done on the left side.

Speed limits

The speed limits in Qatar vary depending on the road type. For example, the speed limit on highways can range from 100 to 120 kilometers per hour (62 to 75 miles per hour). Within urban areas and residential areas, the speed limit is generally 60 km/hr. However, in some residential areas or near schools, the speed limit can be reduced to 40 km/hr. When passing through construction zones, temporary speed limits are indicated by signs, and drivers should follow the posted speed limits.

Seat belts

It is mandatory for all occupants of a vehicle to wear seat belts. Children should be appropriately restrained using child safety seats or seat belts, depending on their age and size.

Mobile phone usage

It is illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in Qatar unless you have a hands-free system. Avoid using your phone while driving to prioritize safety.

Priority and right of way

In general, vehicles already on a roundabout have the right of way. When approaching a roundabout, yield to vehicles already in the roundabout. At intersections controlled by traffic lights or stop signs, obey the signals and give way to vehicles with the right of way.


Pedestrians have the right of way at designated pedestrian crossings. Drivers should be cautious and yield to pedestrians when they are crossing the road.

Driving under the influence

Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is strictly prohibited in Qatar. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is zero. If a driver is found to be operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, they can face legal consequences, including fines, imprisonment, and suspension or revocation of their driver's license. The specific penalties vary depending on the severity of the offense, the driver's blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level, and any previous violations.

Parking in Qatar

Parking rules in Qatar may vary depending on the specific location and regulations set by the local authorities. In many commercial areas, shopping malls, and busy streets, paid parking zones are implemented. These areas usually have designated parking meters or parking ticket machines. Motorists are required to purchase a parking ticket or use a parking payment app to pay for their parking duration. In shopping malls, for example, hourly rates can range from around QAR 2 to QAR 5, with maximum daily fees ranging from QAR 20 to QAR 30. In busy commercial areas, the parking fees can range from around QAR 2 to QAR 10 per hour, depending on the location and demand. In popular tourist areas, the parking fees can be slightly higher. Hourly rates may range from around QAR 3 to QAR 10, and daily maximum fees can range from QAR 30 to QAR 50.

Some areas in Qatar may use parking discs, also known as parking clocks or parking discs. These are small devices that display the time of arrival when placed on the vehicle's dashboard. Motorists are required to set the disc to indicate their time of arrival.

Certain areas may have restricted parking zones, indicated by signs or road markings. These areas may include no-parking zones, loading and unloading zones, and spaces reserved for specific groups, such as disabled parking spaces. Besides, Some residential areas in Qatar have designated parking spaces for residents. These spaces may require a residential parking permit or resident sticker to park legally. Visitors to residential areas should be mindful of parking restrictions and avoid parking in designated resident-only spaces.

Good to know:

Vehicles parked illegally or in violation of parking regulations may be subject to towing or impoundment by the authorities. If your vehicle has been towed, you will need to contact the local authorities or the designated impoundment facility to retrieve your vehicle. This may involve paying fines and any applicable towing or storage fees.

Traffic congestion in Qatar

Traffic congestion can occur in certain areas and during peak hours, especially in urban centers like Doha. Plan your routes and allow for extra travel time during busy periods. Rush hour times in Qatar are between 7-9 am and 5-7 pm, while quiet times to drive are during prayer time on Friday between 11-1 pm.

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.