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Travellers to Qatar now need compulsory insurance from a Doha-based company

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Anyone travelling on Qatar Airways in recent months will have noticed that the airline requires you to present travel insurance documents at check in, even if connecting.

This came as a surprise to my wife last October, who ended up calling me in Dubai from Heathrow Terminal 4 check in asking for her paperwork – luckily I could generate a certificate from the Amex Platinum website within 5 minutes and email it to her.

The situation has now taken a rather silly turn. As of 1st February, anyone entering Qatar (transit passengers are excluded) is required to have travel insurance issued by a company based in Qatar.

New slippery insurance rules for travel to Qatar

Handily, the nine recommended companies – see here – all sell identical policies at an identical price (50 Riyals, around £11).

I am flying to Doha on Monday and was obliged to buy a policy. I picked Doha Insurance Group on the basis of it having the prettiest logo. The good news is that the form is very quick to fill in (they’re not bothered about your medical history etc) and my insurance certificate arrived instantly by email.

To be fair …. £11 for full medical health insurance – with no restrictions if you have pre-existing conditions – is a great price.

If you don’t have travel insurance and are travelling to Doha with no onward connections, it will probably save you money if you are only bothered about medical cover. It’s only a problem if you already have insurance, since you are forced to pay again.

Comments (117)

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  • Greenpen says:

    Is it a daily, weekly, monthly or annual policy?

  • Himalayan Hiker says:

    Saudi Arabia has a similar requirement

    • Jonathan says:

      Saudi Arabia doesn’t have an airport with major numbers of flights and connecting passengers like DOH and DXB do.

      Even if they did, there’d be a lot of alcohol getting seized, and you wouldn’t be able to any in DF

      • Jonathan says:

        *buy anything in DF

      • Dubious says:

        Saudi Arabia requires it for arrivals. They do not require it for those with short transits, i.e. short enough not to require a transit visa.

  • points_worrier says:

    I am surprised the UK doesnt have a similar requirement before issuing a visa, to save NHS costs

    • Charles Martel says:

      There is an NHS surcharge for those applying for long term visas. In theory tourists (ex EU/EEA, Aus, NZ due to reciprocal arrangements) aren’t eligible for NHS treatment but doctors and the pearl clutchers at the guardian believe enforcement of these rules would be racist and discriminatory. Presumably a small charge for tourists would also be racist and discriminatory.

    • Blenz101 says:

      Yes. If the UK took a sensible and practical it would be applauded. Because it’s Qatar it’s scammy and nothing but a stealth arrival tax.

      • Novice says:

        @Blenz101 I agree. I dislike double standards.

      • Paul says:

        The issue is not the need for insurance but the requirement to require you to buy it from a firm based in Qatar. I have insurance, I don’t need this and therefore it’s a stealth tax on people like me. If every state did this global insurance firms would lose business especially from annual policies.
        If you are seriously I’ll and need repatriating, and have two policies, the bureaucracy could be horrific

    • Mark says:

      I agree. An NHS charge.

      Would raise a good few hundred million a year!

    • Oliver says:

      UK does for long term visas. £470 per year for a student or Youth Mobility Scheme visa, for example £940 for a 2-year visa
      £470 per year for visa and immigration applicants who are under the age of 18 at time of application
      £624 per year for all other visa and immigration applications, for example £3,120 for a 5-year visa

      • Novice says:

        But health tourists aren’t applying for long-term visas. Why would they need long-term visa if the sole purpose they are really arriving for is some treatment which they don’t mention when they apply for tourist visa or whatever.

  • Tony says:

    I am travelling to doha on BA in 2 weeks, I have Amex Platinum insurance, assuming if BA don’t ask for the insurance and Qatar immigration don’t ask for it then you don’t need it?
    Need to know if Qatar immigration are checking or asking for it then I suppose it’s a must.

    • Rob says:

      You need it. However, you can apparently buy at immigration although it isn’t clear how.

  • jjoohhnn says:

    I wonder what they’d think if I suggested they go with a completely gold can for the brewdog comp!

  • Voldemort says:

    Qatar: the only country to want tourists but actively put them off at the same time.

    • Jonathan says:

      What the US ?

      • Jonathan says:

        *what about the US ?

        US CBP (following orders by the federal government) now get funny over anyone has ever visited Cuba, a country that gets a lot of tourists, and has direct flights to the US by carriers based there !

        The problems of international travel…

        • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

          Well since the CBP is part of the government of course it’s going to follow instructions.

          It’s Ok for US citizens to visit because the US can’t prevent a citizen from re entering the country, it has full control over everyone else it wants to allow in.

    • blenz101 says:

      I think southern Europe would quite like you to visit and relies on tourists but are happily going to charge 7 Euro soon for your visa wavier. USA and ESTA charges etc.

      • Jonathan says:

        That’s something enforced by the EU, the individual countries themselves have no power or control over, ignoring the fact they’re part the Schengen Area, and that’s the visa policy of the countries within that specific area

  • Whiskerxx says:

    I spent two weeks in Qatar in November and have transited Doha twice since the.
    I have never been asked for any insurance documents and had no idea this policy was in place.
    Are you sure it exists?

    • Rob says:

      It launched on Wednesday for those entering Doha.

      Before then your airline was expected to refuse boarding it you could not prove any insurance, as happened to my wife (who was in transit).

    • QFFlyer says:

      I wasn’t asked for any as recently as last week!

  • QFFlyer says:

    Huh, I was not asked for insurance documentation flying QR at either MEL or DOH last week for MEL-DOH & DOH-DXB on separate tickets.

    • Rhys says:

      That’s because it only started 2 days ago 🙂

      • QFFlyer says:

        I thought that was just for the Qatar based insurance requirement? The first para mentions QR checking insurance for any flight (but presumably any travel insurance would have done)…

        Not that it matters, I did have insurance, and have become accustomed to saving a certificate into a note on my phone (along with COVID certificate, etc., etc.) as a matter of course, but nobody seems to be checking anything any more – how things have changed over the last 12 months!

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