Living in Doha Qatar
Driving License in Qatar
On arriving Qatar, you can drive within the country for 7 days if you possess a valid driving license. But, for individuals planning to reside in Qatar for more than six months, it is necessary to apply for a temporary or permanent Qatari Driving License. For GCC residents, the Gulf license will remain valid for 3 months from date of arrival in the country. But, if you are a resident of Qatar, then you need to hold a Permanent Qatari License.
With a temporary license you can drive rental cars, although you may not be insured to drive a privately owned car (as this is decided by the insurance company, and they should be contacted for more details). On obtaining a residence permit, the temporary license can be converted into a permanent one. But, the permanent license will be given only if you possess a residence permit, and have five-year validity.
To convert a temporary license into a permanent driver’s license you will require:
- Temporary Driver's License (TDL)
- Two photos
- Copy of passport
- Copy of residence permit
- Process fee
For those visiting Qatar from western countries including the Canada and the UK for work purposes can just change their home country driving license for a Qatari one at the Medinat Khalifat Traffic Department, without taking a driving test.
The documents required to be produced are
- Passport or ID Card
- Original driving license
- Sponsor’s ID
- The sponsor need to sign a form and may have to provide a letter
- Three photos
Residents of other nationalities will have to undergo a driving test to obtain their local driving license. It is compulsory that these applicants have a residence permit so as to be able to apply for a Qatari driving license. In order to issue a local driving license, the usual procedure includes an eye test and a written test.
If you do not hold a valid driving license from your country of origin or home country, you will have to enrol yourself in a driving school in Qatar. Based on your driving skills, you may be required to take a full course (25 classes) or a half course (12 classes).
The documents required for enrolling are:
- Copy of Passport with visa or Immigration ID copy
- Fee to be paid (varies depending on the course)
- May have to complete an eye test at the traffic department in Medinat Khalifat or certificate from licensed optician.
Driving Schools in Qatar
Given below are details/contacts of few driving schools in Qatar:
- Al Rayah Driving School, PO Box 747, Tel: +974 4877774
- Doha Driving Centre, PO Box 9896, Tel: +974 4792263
- Gulf Driving School, PO Box 15154, Tel: +974 4652822
- United Driving Company, PO Box 15154, Tel: +974 4681003
Madinat Khalifa (North), off Khalifa Street, near Al Gharrafa Flyover, Tel: +974 4890644
You have to pay a nominal fee and register for the test. The test has four parts - an oral round for the road and traffic signs, the L-Parking, the pocket parking and the actual road test. Each of these tests is a pre-requisite to enter the next one. But, if you have passed one, you need not repeat it. The tests are done on manual transmission cars, with nearly four people in the car, taking turns to drive.
International Driving License
The International Driving License can be obtained from Qatar Automobile and Touring Club (Ph: 4413265) or few Travel Agencies. To do so, you will need to bring along a
- Valid Qatar Driving License
- Passport-size photos - 2 nos.
- Process fee (varies)
To make use of your non-Qatari driving license (for those on a short visit of one to two weeks) you need to be among the approved nationalities. For this, you can cross-check with the latest list published by the traffic department.
The licenses once issued, remain valid for a period of five years for residents and ten years for nationals. In case of expired, damaged, or lost passports, it could be renewed at the Qatar E-government portal.
Every owner needs a small card to prove ownership of their car. You will have to carry the card, or a photocopy of the same, as it may be required to be produced on demand, else may attract penalty.
For renewing an Estimara (road permit), first ensure you have no traffic violations or penalties to be paid.
Go to traffic department. For cars older than three years, use technical test certificate, insurance, ID card and road permit. Get the form typed. The typists there will complete the Arabic version of the form for you. Then move to traffic department. You can handover the documents at the counter.
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