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With the FIFA World Cup still seven months away, football fans armed with their match tickets have already begun plotting the easiest way to get to Qatar in November. Saudi Arabians looking to attend the most prestigious and anticipated football event of the year are luckier, thanks to their proximity to Doha, which is easily accessible by road. 

Looking to drive your way from the Kingdom to Doha for this FIFA season? Then here’s everything you need to know before your road trip, the documents necessary and other aspects of driving between countries. 

How long does it take to reach Doha from Saudi Arabia?

While flights take only 1 hour 30 minutes to reach Doha from Saudi Arabia, airfares have been skyrocketing following the increased demand for flight tickets. Instead, driving to Doha is cheaper and enjoyable too, especially for those with a passion for driving. 

Riyadh to Doha: 581 km
Time duration: 6 hours
Speed: 90-100 km/h

World Cup Flights: Flying to Qatar for the World Cup 2022 From Saudi Arabia

How to drive to Doha from Saudi Arabia?

With a little more time to shed on travelling and acquiring proper vehicle insurance, you can easily drive your way to the World Cup this year. 

Route map

To reach Doha, you will have to take Route 522, which runs through the country. Route 522, which is around 120 km between Riyadh and Qatar’s border, is in excellent condition, and you can have a hassle-free drive. You will then reach Salwa, the Saudi Arabia-Qatar border, after which you will be entering Qatar.

Do note that border clearance in Salwa may even take upto two hours, depending on traffic and scrutiny. 

Visa requirements

Saudi Iqama holders and GCC residents can get an on-arrival visa at the Qatar border if they are travelling by road from KSA and fulfil the following requirements:

  • Iqama or GCC residence permit is valid for at least 6 months.
  • The passport is valid for at least 6 months.
  • Suitable Profession
  • Dependents can get a visa if accompanied by the sponsor
  • Fee: QAR 100 for the main applicant and QAR 50 for dependent
  • Valid Exit/Reentry Visa.
  • Driving license
  • Car Istimara (car registration) for travelling by road

Once you reach the Salwa border:

  • Present all the documents to the Saudi customs.
  • The immigration officer will process your exit from KSA.
  • After entering Qatar, park your car and go to the visa office.
  • Pay QAR 100 for the main applicant and QAR 50 for dependent.
  • Present all your documents to the officer, and they will issue an on-arrival visa.
  • After this, you have to pay QAR 90 for the car insurance.

COVID requirements 

All those entering Qatar via road who are unvaccinated and non-residents of Qatar will have to register themselves on the Ehteraz platform mandatorily. Unvaccinated travellers must also submit a negative RT-PCR test taken at least 48 hours prior to entering Qatar. 

For GCC nationals and GCC residents, including Saudi residents who meet the immunity criteria, the Tawakkalna app will be accepted in Qatar instead of online pre-travel registration on the condition that it reflects the immune status. 

Vehicle insurance

Vehicle insurance is necessary to enter Qatar. Upon reaching Qatar’s border, all travellers will be required to buy mandatory vehicle insurance for around QAR 90. 

Car rentals

If you do not own a car, you can go for car rentals, which start from about SAR 115 per day. However, make sure to check that the rental company allows you to drive the car out of the country, as not many car rentals in the KSA permit drivers to do so. Keep all necessary documents like rental agreement and car ownership ready, along with insurance.

Most rental companies will ask for:

  • Enough available funds for the car’s deposit.
  • A valid driving licence.
  • Passport or any other ID the rent company needs to see.