For the first time in history, a middle-eastern country will be hosting the most popular football game in the world, the FIFA World Cup.
Qatar, one of the finest Arab countries, is the world cup destination for this year, and everyone is excited to experience a unique vibe.
While preparing for your trip to Qatar, there are some things you need to know before travelling to Qatar.
It’s important to know the necessary items you need and crucial information about Qatar as a country. Qatar is quite a conservative country, as it is an Islamic nation.
There are some restrictions and laws that may sound surprising to you but then you to stay out of trouble. You need to familiarize yourself with these rules and abide by them.
This article covers a list of things you need to know before travelling to Qatar. So you do not have to worry about getting into trouble, as long as you abide by the rules. Before travelling to Qatar for the World Cup, let’s begin with what you need.
Things you need to know before travelling to Qatar for the World Cup
Dressing and Grooming
You might wonder, why do I need to bother about my dressing? You may have travelled to other countries, and you didn’t have to bother about how you dress, but Qatar is different; it’s an Islamic country, and dressing is a big deal here.
The natives of Qatar wear thrones and abayas, but that doesn’t mean you are expected to see them as visitors. Visitors can wear whatever kinds of clothes they are comfortable in, as long as the clothing does not go against the country’s culture or rules and regulations.
However, you need to know that ladies are expected to wear clothes covering their shoulders and knees in public. While men are expected to wear full sleeves and pants covering their knees when also in public places.
This might seem demanding, but there are places where you can’t enter wearing a dress that exposes your shoulders and knees in Qatar.
Suppose you go sightseeing or iconic tour places like Souq Wodif or national museum and government buildings. In that case, you are required to wear conservative attire and not short or exposing clothes.
If you are seen wearing such, the chances of someone asking you to cover up are high. These conditions do not apply to closed spaces like your private and beach spaces. You can wear a bikini at the beach, but other places like the mall, parks, markets, mosques and other open places require you to abide by the Qatar dress code.
So do well to park the appropriate clothes before travelling to Qatar.
Public Display of Affection
Another thing you need to remember before travelling to Qatar is that Qatari culture does not approve of public display of affection. Any kind of public display of affection is unacceptable; in worst cases, you can be arrested.
So while in public with your loved one, try not to do things against the Qatari culture because the people will frown at it and might take unfavorable action. It’s not about what you like but about respecting the host country’s culture, so it’s highly advisable to abide by this rule to avoid embarrassment or getting into trouble.
In Qatar, relationships aside, marriage is against their culture. This issue is quite serious as some hotels might ask for your marriage certificate before checking in. Well, if you are coming with your girlfriend or boyfriend, there are still ways you can bypass this, not all hotels ask for marriage certificates, but it is important to consider this practice.
Taking Photographs in Public
This might shock you, but you have restrictions on taking photographs in public places. Tourists who come to Qatar might find the natives in their traditional attire intriguing and might want to take a nice shot, no!
You are not allowed to do that unless you take the permission to do so. Photographs of the natives without permission, especially the woman, can land you in serious trouble, so beware.
Similarly, while on tour to Qatar’s attractions, you might be moved to take pictures of the religious sites, construction sites or even the military sites; please do not do so without asking permission from the right source.
Asking for pictures without permission can land you into trouble, one of the consequences being that you can get arrested by the local police. Some might wonder, what if I am a journalist who wants to cover the 2022 Qatar FIFA World Cup? Well, all you need to do is contact the Qatar news agency and seek visiting permit before your tour.
Once your permission is granted and you’ve received the visiting press permit, you’d be allowed to bring your camera and other equipment to the tour, and you can now take as many pictures as you need.
Importation of Illegal Items
Every country has a list of illegal items and laws guiding the importation of items. This law differs from country to country, and the punishment of offenders differs too. So it is wise to inquire about illegal items before visiting Qatar for the world cup. Here is a list of items considered illegal for importation in Qatar:
• Religious Books
• Pork products
• Drugs (serious offence)
• Videos with inappropriate content.
The above items can’t be seen freely in public, so visitors are not allowed to come with them to Qatar. Passengers arriving at the International airport will undergo a security check, as their baggage will be scanned for illegal items. You’d be in serious trouble if caught with any of the illegal items mentioned above, as the consequences are severe.
It is important to note that Qatar does not allow the importation of any religious material into the country, as well as the importation of drugs and inappropriate video materials. Also, alcohol is not accepted. It is strictly prohibited for natives or visitors to drink in public places.
However, few bars and restaurants are allowed to serve alcohol, and it’s been said that alcohol will be provided for fans in the stadium (fan zone) during the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
During your visit to Qatar, you will have to visit a restaurant or a food outlet but beware, there are so special eating Etiquettes here in Qatar, and you are required to abide by them whether you are eating in an open restaurant or any Qatari native home.
The traditional Qatari culture does not accept eating with the left hand. This is because they consider the left hand for personal hygiene and not eating. There’s no serious offence for eating with your left hand, only that the people will frown at it.
So if you are eating in an open restaurant or in a Qatari’s home, do well to eat with your right hand.
The Qatari culture encourages humility, kindness and generosity, so you must keep this in mind while travelling to Qatar. There are some laws concerning your behaviour in public you need to know and act on. Passing vulgar remarks or gestures and using inappropriate language in public is not allowed. It is serious that if you are reported for such, you can get into trouble. More so, sitting postures is also important.
While sitting in a public place, you are expected to sit modestly, not to stretch out your legs too much and not show your shoe wholes or open feet. Another important thing you should note is that men are not allowed to stare at native Qatari women, be close to them or pass sexist gestures at them. It is highly prohibited.
In Qatar, women do not shake hands with men or hug or kiss men as a form of greeting.
Visitors should try as much as possible to avoid this, except if you are a relative or of the same gender.
Smoking in public is yet another unacceptable behaviour in Qatar. You are not allowed to smoke in museums, sports clubs, shopping malls, restaurants etc. Those who violate this law are subjected to fines between QAR 1000-3000.
We’ve been discussing a lot of do’s and restrictions in Qatar, but when it comes to generosity and hospitality, Qatar is at its peak. The Qatari culture promotes generosity and hospitality, so it is common for a native in Qatar to extend a hand of friendship, help or even invite you to join them for a feast.
So whenever a native invites you to their house for dinner, please do not be shocked; it’s a kind gesture.
Now there’s something about this generosity you need to take note of. Rejecting an invitation for dinner (breakfast or lunch) is bad. Why is this? The Qatari culture does not allow one to reject an invitation. When you reject an invitation, it is considered against the country’s culture.
So whenever you are invited to a dinner, breakfast or lunch, do well to accept and enjoy yourself, as it is only a kind gesture.
Social media apps such as Whatsapp work fine for exchanging messages and pictures, but when it comes to video calls, this is not allowed. You’d notice an interruption when you try to make a video call.
The ideal solution is downloading a VPN from the play store, and then choosing a different location, so they can make a call.
Weather Condition During the World Cup
You might have noticed that FIFA changed the calendar for the World Cup to be between November 21 and December 18. Well, this is to avoid Qatar’s high summer temperatures.
So visitors do not have to worry about high heat from the dessert as the date for the world cup is the time of the year in Qatar when the thermometer ranges from 12°C(at night) to 25°C (during daytime).
So while visiting, make sure to bring clothes that the weather condition, such as spring clothes and a diver or thin jacket.
This is important information, as the time for various activities differs in your home country. In Qatar, it gets dark even before17:00, so work starts at 7an, sometimes earlier. By at least 7 am, public offices, supermarkets, banks, and other shops are open.
So if you want to enjoy a sunny time at the beach, you need to go earlier. More so, most office jobs end between 2 pm and 3 pm and as such nightlife starts quite early and goes on for hours.
It is also important to know that on Fridays between 11:p0 and 13:00, almost all offices and shops are closed. Friday is like Sundays, the main Islamic worship day, so many shops and supermarkets are closed. Prayers are heard in most neighbourhoods, and the prayers are held five times a day.
Before travelling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, it’s highly advised that you get immunized against coronavirus with two to three doses. Visitors are required to download an App known as Ehteraz, where you’d have to upload all personal information regarding coronavirus vaccination. This app has a QR code that appears green with a golden box indicating that the user is vaccinated, with a record of not less than nine months ago.
The code turns red when the user is tested positive for coronavirus. However, when the app’s GPS detects that the user is close to a Covid-19 carrier, it turns yellow until the individual is vaccinated. This app is required in all places with enclosed spaces.
A nose mask is mandatory, and the capacity for restaurants and hotels has been reduced to 80%. If you are tested positive for Covid- 19, stay calm. It is advisable to comply with the necessary isolation arrangement because if caught walking around with the app signals red, you’ll be fined.
Qatar’s official language is Arabic, but you don’t have to worry if you can’t speak or understand Arabic, as many of the country’s population are foreigners. This means you’d see people speaking different languages, especially in Doha. This makes English an available language.
This doesn’t mean that everyone can speak English perfectly, but people around can make simple basic communication in English.
Other Important things you need to know before travelling to Qatar for the 2022 FIFA World Cup include:
• During Ramadan, locals and visitors are expected to avoid eating or drinking in open places during daylight, as this shows respect to those fasting and the Ramadan celebration.
• The only currency used in Qatar is the Qatari Riyal (QAR), and you can obtain this currency at the ATMs widely available. The dollar is used here too.
• In Qatar, drivers drive at night hand of the sides of the road.
• Qatar boasts of a commercial 5G network, as they are the world’s first country to introduce this network. You’d be delighted to know that free Wi-Fi facilities are available in most public places, including restaurants, shopping malls, parks and hotels.
What do you need to have before travelling to Qatar for the FIFA 2022 World Cup?
While preparing for your trip to Qatar for the World Cup, there are some necessary items and documents you need. Below is a checklist of items you would need for your trip:
• Visa Papers
• Drivers license
• Local Qatar currency
• Travel/Flight pass
• Covid-19 Vaccine certificate and Negative Covid-19 test certificate
• Hay’ya card (a mandatory all-purpose identification card for the 2022 World Cup visitors)
If you’ve gotten to this point of the article, it means you know what you need and some of the crucial rules you need to know before travelling to Qatar.
Some of these rules and restrictions might be surprising or even seem strange, but they are actual rules and staying in Qatar means you have to keep to these rules.
Qatar is quite a cultural country, and respecting their culture is highly advised. So while planning your trip to Qatar, make sure you’ve considered the rules and restrictions again and do not forget to carry along the necessary documents you need for your journey.
With All These Rules, Terms & Conditions – Do You Think 2022 Fifa World Cup Will Be Fun?
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