Now, there’s an alternative to completing visa forms on arrival!
The country’s e-government project offers around ten different kinds of visa on-line through the Internet, and that includes two different kinds of tourist visa (just Qatar or Qatar and Oman), plus the ‘visa on arrival’ available to 33 different nationalities. Just have your passport details handy and log on to www.e.gov.qa where you can apply for a visa, hopefully get instant approval and even print out the authorisation!
The national carrier Qatar Airways continues to expand and, with Doha as its hub, you can now reach a lot more destinations through Qatar’s capital city. Also, the work the airline (as manager of the airport) is carrying out to upgrade existing facilities and oversee the development of a brand new airport is remarkable. (Ground-breaking is imminent for the new airport – a huge three-phase project that will eventually cater for 50 million passengers a year.) Until the new airport is opened, the existing airport is being significantly upgraded to handle the increase in passenger growth.
A new company, The Taxi Company, has also been set up as a subsidiary of Qatar National Hotels to run the country’s new brand of taxis with new vehicles, uniformed drivers, and radio communications. They could take over from the old ‘orange and white’ taxis, owned and operated by individuals directly licenced from the Traffic Police, by the summer. Around 500 new cabs are to be introduced and in February The Taxi Company started interviewing potential drivers.
With work still underway to develop a series of ‘superhighways’, a brand-new flyover has opened to carry traffic across what was known as ‘Immigration Roundabout’, linking the ‘D Ring Road’ to the North Road. A new underpass that will carry the Khalifa Town Road/Al Laqta Street beneath the same junction will soon be commissioned. New Salwa Road and Al Asiery junctions are also scheduled to re-open soon – which is good news for those who have had to cope with the concept of traffic jams in town over the course of the past 18 months.
Nationals, residents and visitors are soon to have even more in the way of culture and arts to fill their leisure time. Two spectacular new museums (one for Islamic Arts and the other for Photography) will soon be appearing on the waterfront Corniche, as will a huge new National Library and a Museum of Natural History – all under the umbrella of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Heritage. Qatar is also getting a large and permanent Heritage Village, on a site adjacent to the InterContinental hotel.