Qatar is a small country and Doha is the main city.
It is relatively easy to get around in Qatar. Mowasalat, the transport company in Qatar, offers a variety of land transport services and solutions in and around Qatar – Airport Taxi, Standard Taxi, VIP Limousine, Standard Limousine, Public Bus Service and Private Hire Bus and Coach Services.
In addition Uber and Careem, which are app-based taxi services, are also available.
To book an Airport Taxi, you can contact Mowasalat’s phone booking service on 4588 888. This service offers station wagons that can seat up to six people. Airport Taxis operate only to and from Hamad International Airport and are based at the Airport taxi stand. They are available round the clock, every day, including public holidays.
Mowasalat’s standard taxis are also known as ‘karwa’ taxis. All karwa taxis are new cars with air conditioning, and are fitted with the latest communication and navigation systems to give customers the best service possible. All Mowasalat taxis are also fitted with monitoring and tracking systems and are always connected to the call centre.
Standard taxis can only take up to four people by law. They can be hailed on the street, as well as at taxi ranks at commercial and shopping centres, clubs and hotels. Standard taxis can also be booked through the Mowasalat Call Centre at +974 458 8888.
For regular taxis, the minimum is QAR 10.
Mowasalat has a VIP Limousine fleet that comprises of luxury sedans. Their services are best suited to business people or those who want a luxurious experience. The service is expensive, but by far the most comfortable option, and can be hired for varying lengths of time based on your needs. The VIP Limousine service vehicles are available at the airport as well as five-star hotels around Qatar, but they can also be booked by faxing the details of your requirements to Mowasalat’s Taxi & Limo Department at +974 458 8692.
The Standard Limousine service is geared towards practicality and comfort. It offers customised transport services to customers. The Standard Limousine service offers medium-sized vehicles without branding or logos. These cars can be hired via the call centre at +974 458 8888, for a single journey, multiple journeys, and even short- or long-term leases.
If you’ve been in Doha during the summer months, you will already know that walking to your destination is not advised. The cooler months (usually from November to April) are more conducive to walking.
If you prefer to be independent and hire a car, there are a number of car rental agencies operating in Qatar. You can choose from the global car rental brands such as Hertz and Dollar Thrifty or you can go with local car rental agencies. The options range from compact cars to luxury vehicles and you can generally choose from a range of car brands to suit your taste.
If you are in Qatar on a visit visa, you can rent a car in Qatar with the driving license you currently hold (regardless of the issuing country) for a maximum period of 7 days.
If you have an International Driving Permit, you can drive a rental car in Qatar for up to six months, or until your visa status is changed from Visitor to Resident.
Getting a Qatari Driving License
Once you have a Residence Visa for Qatar, you need to get a Qatari Driving License in order to be able to drive in the country. If you currently hold a valid driving license from one of the GCC countries, or from one of the following countries, you can get a Qatari driving license without having to take the driving test.
Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA and Vatican City.
If you do not a have a license, or you have a license from a country not listed above, you will need to pass the Qatari driving test
Exchanging your license for a permanent Qatari driving license:
In order to apply for a full-term Qatari driving license, the following documents must be presented at the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department:
You will need to fill out an application form, which must be typed in Arabic, and signed by your sponsor. Translation typing services are available at Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department for a small fee.
You will also be required to pass an eye test, which can be conducted at the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department as well. The fee that you pay for the driving license, must be paid by credit card. It includes the cost of the eye test.
It generally takes one working day for your Qatari license to be issued if you already hold a license from one of the countries listed above. The license is valid for five years and will entitle you to drive the type of vehicle specified in your original license.
Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department is located on Khalifa Street. It is open from 7:00am to 11:00am and 4:00pm to 7:00pm. For information and enquiries, the traffic department can be contacted on +974 4489 0666.
If you need to apply for a new license:
In the event that you have to apply for a new driving license, an application has to be made to the Traffic Department of the Ministry of Interior. The contact details are:
Ministry of Interior Traffic Department
Tel: +974 4489 0666
Fax: +974 4487 2494
You will need to fulfill certain requirements and provide the following documents as part of your application:
Applying for a Temporary license
You can apply for a temporary license (valid for three months) as an interim measure between using your International Driving License and getting a Qatari license. To do so, you need to follow the same steps outlined for a full license. The documentation required for this isn’t as extensive. You only need to bring:
There is a fee for a temporary license. It is possible to extend the license when it expires. Those who have temporary licenses are only permitted to drive rental vehicles. This is because insurance on privately-owned vehicles tends not to cover drivers of this status.
The Driving Test
If you don’t have a driving license from one of the countries listed above, you have to take a driving test before you can be issued a Qatari driving license.
Some schools also offer Defensive Driving classes, that may serve you well in Qatar.
Driving tests are administered by authorised driving schools and all applicants need to apply to a driving school for lessons before they can take the test. Those who do not have a driving license are required to take at least:
Expatriates who already have a license (which is not exchangeable) may be able to take the test after sitting through just the theory classes.
Driving tests usually consist of four modules:
Driving tests are usually carried out in manual transmission cars and generally, there are four people to a car. Women take the test with a female traffic police officer. If an applicant passes all modules of the test, the driving license is issued right away and is valid for five years. All modules are carried out on the same day; if an applicant fails any one of the modules they cannot move on to the next module.
If an applicant fails the test, they can usually take the driving test again in a month’s time. Sometimes more driving classes are required in order to be able to appear for another test.
Authorised Driving Schools
Al Rayah Driving School
Tel: +974 4487 7774
Doha Driving Center
Tel: +974 4479 2263
Gulf Driving School
Tel: +974 4465 2822
United Driving Company
Tel: +974 4468 1003