World Cup Advice

By Anonymous (not verified), November 17, 2022
This from World Travel Protection via Stephanie Wolf PR is not an endorsement by me. It is what they put out and I thought to share, I am sure it is a great guideline, do not guarantee any of the information, please do your due diligence to avoid issues.



Around 2.5 million fans are expected to descend on the small Gulf state of Qatar, which is normally home to fewer than three million people, for the FIFA World Cup, 20 November to 18 December 2022. 


Qatar has a low crime rate and a low risk of terror attacks, however its laws and customs are very different to North America and pose challenges for visitors who may not be aware that acceptable behaviours and actions come with severe penalties in Qatar.

World Travel Protection, a leading global travel assistance organization, has compiled 15 top safety travel tips to make the experience as enjoyable and safe as possible. Kate Fitzpatrick, Regional Security Director, EMEA at World Travel Protection comments:

“Our message to fans remains the same. Be mindful of the different culture that you find yourself in as the social norms of what is acceptable in North America, the UK and Europe are very different in Qatar. This includes everything from what you wear, to following the rules of drinking alcohol to the letter and not swearing, shouting or drawing attention to yourself in a negative way.

“Also, be careful with social media. Don’t criticize Qatar online as what you post could be being monitored. It might be normal for us to go to a restaurant or hotel, for instance, and then write a negative review, but in Qatar that could get you into a lot of trouble. Even if you hear that the Qatari police and authorities are going to show leniency to fans, you can’t rely on this and we urge all visitors to err on the side of caution. It’s just not worth the risk.”

Top Travel Tips:

1. Contact tracing app for Covid – To enter Qatar, it is mandatory to download and activate the Ehteraz app on a mobile device three days before arrival. The Covid vaccination is the only mandatory vaccination required. Face masks are only required when using public transport and in healthcare facilities. These guidelines may change at short notice. The World Health Organisation also recommends (not requires) the following vaccinations for travel to Qatar: Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Rabies, Polio and Tetanus.

2. Dress code – Travelers must be mindful to respect the local dress code by dressing modestly and avoiding revealing clothes. It will be hot, probably in the mid to high 20s Celsius, during the World Cup but shoulders and knees should always be covered in public. The only exception is when bathing at a hotel pool or beach area.

3. Foul language – Using foul language, gestures or insults can result in arrest, overnight imprisonment and fines, irrespective of whether the incident occurs between private parties or officers of the law. Insulting somebody in public is also considered a punishable offense.

4. Homosexuality – It is illegal in Qatar to be homosexual, and anyone convicted may be subjected to lashings, imprisonment and deportation. Also, intimacy in public including between men and women can lead to arrest.

5. Alcohol consumption – The legal drinking age is 21. Alcohol is not illegal in Qatar, however there is zero tolerance for drinking in public and being drunk in public is a crime. You are likely to be arrested if you appear to be under the influence. Alcohol can only be bought in hotels, unless you have a license. 

Kate Fitzpatrick:Unlike previous World Cups where huge drinking areas were set up around the stadiums this won’t be the case in Doha. What we know, so far, is that around half of the ‘Fan Zones’ will be allowed to sell alcohol before and after the games but it won’t be possible to buy alcohol in the stadiums.”

If you do consume alcohol before or after a match in the ‘Fan Zones’ be careful when traveling back to your hotel or accommodation as this will be considered ‘in public’ and therefore you could be committing a crime. Fans who become drunk and disorderly will be put in ‘Sobering Tents’ until authorities believe they have sobered up and then will be given a formal warning. It’s probably best to save the drinking for when fans are back at their hotels. These rules and restrictions may change nearer the time.”


6. Drugs – In Qatar, drug use is taken very seriously, and not just Class A drugs. Over the counter items, such as paracetamol, are accepted and are not restricted, but if you need to bring controlled or prescription medication into Qatar, keep it in its original packaging and carry the prescription and an official letter, signed and stamped by your doctor, stating the medication and why it is required. If you are caught with controlled or prescription drugs, you will be asked to prove that they are legitimately yours for medical purposes. If you cannot prove it, this may be treated as an abuse of a controlled drug and you could be arrested and face deportation.

There is zero tolerance for illegal drugs, such as Cocaine, MDMA, Amphetamine and Marijuana, and the penalties for the use of trafficking, smuggling and possession of drugs are severe, including lengthy custodial sentences, heavy fines, deportation and even the death penalty.

Kate Fitzpatrick: “It’s strongly recommended that you stay away from drugs and anyone taking drugs while in Qatar, as you could face severe penalties just by being in close proximity to a drug user.”

7. Tobacco – Smoking is allowed in Qatar in permitted smoking areas only. Qatar law also prohibits importation, sale and purchase of electronic cigarettes and similar products.

8. Women travelers – Women (and men) should dress conservatively in Qatar, as there have been cases of travelers being approached by Qatari people and informed that their clothing is inappropriate. As with all countries, women should take care when traveling alone and avoid non-tourist areas at night. Showing affection in public, like hand holding, is sometimes frowned upon even for married couples (it’s illegal to have sex if you are not married), and couples should take care to be discreet when out in public.

9. Online criticism of Qatar – Travelers should avoid commenting on Qatari culture, government policy or even hotel and restaurant experiences online, including leaving reviews, as such activity could be considered a cybercrime.

10. Transport – unlicensed / illegal taxis – The official Qatari Taxis, mint green in color, and Uber are a safe and easy way to travel in Doha, but due to the sheer amount of people expected for the World Cup they may be pushed beyond capacity. This could present an ideal opportunity for unlicensed and illegal taxis to operate, particularly around the stadiums. However, unlicensed taxis are not a safe way to travel and should be avoided. The subway network is also a good way to travel around Doha as it’s efficient, clean, and safe.


Kate Fitzpatrick:Often it’s criminal groups working the unlicensed taxis looking to exploit the inexperienced traveler. Before getting into the vehicle ask to see their license and identification. By law, official Qatari taxis should have it displayed. If the taxi driver cannot provide their license, do not get in the vehicle. Unlicensed taxis can present many threats to a tourist, such as being assaulted, mugged, held under duress and driven to an ATM to withdraw money and on very rare occasions kidnap and murder. If it doesn’t look right and doesn’t feel right, don’t get in.”

11. Desert excursions – Sandboarding, quad biking and camel riding in the desert are popular excursions from Doha. Travelers should check, however, that travel and medical insurance covers these potentially hazardous activities. If you do go on an organized trip, ask your tour operator what you need to be aware of? What is the correct clothing? What activities will you be doing? And most importantly, what medical support is available? 

12. Mosquitos, insects, and other critters There are mosquitos in Qatar, as with most hot humid locations, and it is advisable to take a DEET insect repellent. There are also the normal nuisance flies, bugs and cockroaches which are harmless but for trips to the desert, watch out for scorpions, venomous snakes and not forgetting camel spiders. These like hiding in damp dark places, like your shoes, and, while not poisonous, give a nasty bite.

13. Medical care – The standard of medical care in Qatar is excellent, but visitors will need private health insurance by law to access it.

14. Prostitution – Whilst this is illegal, in certain bars and nightclubs it is prevalent. As a traveler, if you partake in such activities you could be arrested and deported.

15. What is the best app to use to communicate while in Qatar? – You can communicate by message on many platforms, including WhatsApp, but if you want to make calls these apps won’t work. This is because Qatari Internet Service Providers block VoIP services. Some people get around this by using a VPN app. Google Duo is the most popular app to use to make video calls in Doha and you do not need a VPN for this.

Kate Fitzpatrick: “In addition to being on guard for your own behavior, it’s also important to ensure that the people around you aren’t flaunting the rules. Don’t get into trouble because of someone else’s behavior. Flash points, for example, will be when crowds leave the ‘Fan Zones’ where alcohol is available before and after matches. Even actions like singing and dancing could be construed as being under the influence of alcohol, which is a crime, and outside of these zones you could be punished.”


Rules and regulations may change, and updates will be issued