One of the best places to go from India without thinking twice is Qatar. A couple of years ago, in 2017, Qatar institutionalised a policy to offer free visa on arrival to passengers from 80 nationalities, including Indians. I’ve used the Visa on Arrival facility of Qatar a few times. Here was my first experience.
The Qatar Government page which gives Visa Guidance continues to report that Visa rules have not changed for Indians. Here is a screenshot:
Here is what the FAQs say:
Even the tourism website of Qatar states the same thing.
However, there has been a subtle change in the rules now. Qatar is no longer offering a visa on arrival for those who have an onward ticket. The new rules, which are reflected on the pages of Qatar Airways and IndiGo, state that you need to have a confirmed return ticket and a hotel reservation to access Qatar.
Here is a screengrab of Qatar Airways, accessible here.
And here is a screengrab for IndiGo
These clearly are new rules, and even IATA does not notify this on their travel information page so far.
It is a big shot that only these carriers may be implementing these rules, but it is no coincidence if Qatar’s home carrier and one of India’s biggest carriers, operating to Qatar now insist on a return ticket instead of an onward ticket. This won’t affect most people who are heading to Qatar since they would have a return ticket anyways or transiting Qatar. But some of us aviation nuts do things differently and might land into a soup.
Has anyone travelled to Qatar recently and could share their experiences below?