If you are travelling to Qatar later this month to watch the 2022 World Cup it is wise to check foreign travel advice and keep up to date with entry requirements to avoid complications or arrest.
Many football fans may not realise just how different laws are in Qatar to their home countries and could wind up losing precious items, receiving fines, or getting arrested. But there are things you can bring, which you might think you can’t.
Like every country, Qatar has entry requirements.
Banned items in Qatar
Those who vape will have to leave their e-cigarettes at home for the tournament, as it’s illegal to import, sell or purchase them.
Anyone caught with one could be fined up to 10,000 riyals ($2,747) or three months in prison.
Supporters should avoid purchasing duty-free alcohol when entering Qatar, as the importation of alcohol is illegal.
Anyone found taking it into the country will have their stash confiscated and face imprisonment.
And while organisers have arranged for fans to be able to consume alcohol legally within the stadium and fan zones, the legal drinking age remains at 21.
Islamic law prohibits travellers from bringing pornographic material, including sex toys, into the country.
Officials will confiscate items upon arrival and, if caught using one, you could face a prison term of six months to three years, according to Article 294 of Qatar’s Penal Code.
Taking pork or products containing pork into the country for personal use is illegal – and any items will be confiscated.
While this might not result in jail time, offenders will receive a stern warning. Plus, the act will be considered disrespectful by locals and airport staff.
As Islam is the state religion, public observance of any other religion is prohibited, and books or materials will be seized.
What items are allowed in Qatar
Adult consumers might not be able to take their vape with them, but they can take nicotine pouches.
Tobacco-free pouches are favoured in football stadiums in Qatar because it is claimed that they “are a less harmful and legal alternative for adult smokers travelling to the tournament.”
Prescription and OTC medicines (with a doctor’s note and special forms)
If you need to bring something with you for personal health reasons, there are steps you need to follow due to local laws.
Over-the-counter remedies like sleeping tablets, painkillers, antidepressants, and hormone replacement therapy drugs are banned in Qatar.
To avoid having them confiscated, getting arrested or even facing jail time, ensure you carry an official doctor’s prescription and a letter from your GP or hospital with details of the drug and the quantity and dosage prescribed. This will then need to be legalised for use in Qatar and approval can be granted for a maximum of 30-days.
Also, double-check your medication ingredients as narcotics and psychotropic substances are prohibited, such as Codeine, Alprazolam (Xanax), Diazepam (Valium), Zolam, Clonazepam, Zolpidem, Methadone, Pregabalin, Tramadol and Lyrica.
Before setting off, you must ensure all medication has been certified by the Embassy for approval.
As a Muslim country, supporters travelling to Qatar should pack a suitcase of clothing that protects their modesty.
While it may be hot, avoid wearing anything too revealing outside your hotel out of respect for the locals, such as see-through or sleeveless tops, and ensure shorts and skirts fall below the knee.
And, aside from providing UV protection, a pair of oversized sunglasses might also be required to stop sand from getting in your eyes in the rare event of a sandstorm.
Money + Precious Materials
Of course, fans are allowed to bring money and other precious items, such as personal jewellery or rings with them when they visit the country.
However, if passengers are in possession of money or precious metals (gold, silver, platinum etc.) or stones (diamonds, emeralds, rubies etc.) greater than 50,000 riyals ($13,733), they must fill out a declaration form and hand it over at customs.
Qatar customs policies state that a failure to declare could result in the money/item being seized, a fine of 100,000-500,000 riyals ($27,474-$137,324), or jail time of up to three years.
Source: Haypp Group
Anyone thinking they can freelance in Qatar must go through the proper channels, according to this article.