Safety and security
Conflicts in the Middle East and the Gulf region could affect Qatar. Regional tensions can flare up at any time, resulting in an unpredictable and volatile security situation.
- Monitor the security situation
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
There is a constant terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Reports of planned terrorist attacks occasionally emerge. Terrorists are likely to try to carry out attacks in Qatar.
Targets could include:
- government buildings, including schools
- places of worship
- airports and other transportation hubs and networks
- public areas such as tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, shopping centres, markets, hotels and other sites frequented by foreigners
Always be aware of your surroundings when in public places.
Be particularly vigilant during:
- sporting events
- religious holidays
- public celebrations
- major political events, such as elections
Terrorists may use such occasions to mount attacks.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare. However, credit card fraud does take place. Ensure that personal belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times.
Although rare, women travellers may be subject to some forms of harassment, verbal abuse, or physical assaults. Local authorities’ response to reports of sexual violence may differ substantially from the Canadian context. Foreign women have been detained and accused of extramarital sex after reporting sexual assault.
- Avoid travelling alone after dark
- Be careful when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
- If you are the victim of a sexual assault, you should report it immediately to the nearest Government of Canada office
Advice for women travellers
Demonstrations may occur. Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.
- Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
- Follow the instructions of local authorities
- Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations
Mass gatherings (large-scale events)
Desert excursions can be hazardous. Off-road driving should only be undertaken in a convoy of four-wheel drive vehicles with an experienced guide.
If engaging in desert expeditions or trekking:
- never do so alone
- always hire an experienced guide from a reputable company
- travel in a 4 x 4 vehicle
- buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation
- ensure that your physical condition is good enough to meet the challenges of your activity
- avoid venturing off marked trails
- ensure that you’re properly equipped and well informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard
- carry sufficient water supply and pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, both of which can be fatal
- inform a family member or friend of your itinerary, including when you expect to be back
- obtain detailed information on each activity before setting out
Road conditions can vary greatly throughout the country. While the roads in Doha are generally in good condition, they are often over-crowded and commonly under construction. Outside of Doha, poorly lit roads and wandering livestock may pose a risk. Roads can be muddy during the winter rain season.
Traffic drives on the right.
Accidents causing fatalities are common and one of Qatar’s leading causes of death. Drivers don’t generally drive safely. They often drive at excessive speeds, are extremely aggressive and reckless. They don’t respect traffic laws.
In case of an accident:
- move the vehicle to the nearest parking area if you can so do safely; you can be fined for blocking traffic
- call 999 and wait for the police to arrive
Leaving the scene is considered a criminal offence.
A public bus system is available, though, it runs limited routes.
Officially marked taxis are metered.
- Use officially marked taxis only
- Negotiate fares in advance, or insist that the driver use the meter
- Avoid taking shared taxis
- Never enter a cab if it already has one or more passengers
Private car services
Ridesharing application and limousine services are available and a popular method of transportation.
- Be vigilant when travelling in a private car
- Take note of the driver and vehicles’ information
Iran and the United Arab Emirates both claim sovereignty over the islands of:
- Abu Masa
Some vessels entering these areas have been reported detained.
Exercise caution if travelling by sea in the Gulf. Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships have also occurred in coastal waters. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.
Live piracy report – International Maritime Bureau
We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.
Information about foreign domestic airlines