Travel Guidance For Indians To Enter Qatar And Maldives Amid Visa Confusions

Stranded non-resident Indians back in India have been struggling to collect information on on-arrival visa rules to enter Qatar and Maldives. They were overwhelmed by the Qatar government’s announcement of visas on arrival for Indians. Likewise, they also welcomed the Maldives authorities to revoke the suspension of tourist visas for Indians as the two countries are closer home than countries in Europe.  

The ban on incoming flights from India by the UAE, Saudi Arabia, and some other Gulf countries led desperate NRIs to travel via a third country. They are the worst hit as their travel plans seem challenging to take place without any helpful information.   

Recently, 17 NRIs were repatriated back to India following a 10-hour ordeal at the Qatar airport for not having cash or credit/debit cards with 5,000 Qatari Riyals. They were not allowed to permit on-arrival visas for not fulfilling the finance criteria.  

Similar instances in the Maldives occurred because of the misguidance by travel agents who lack credentials and lure desperate Gulf passengers. Here are the updated travel rules to enter Qatar and Maldives.  

If you want to Travel to Doha from India:  

  • First, meet eligibility conditions such as citizenship, six months valid passport, return air tickets, hotel booking for mandatory quarantine, and credit cards.  
  • Get pre-travel approval by applying on the Ehteraz website.  
  • Take both doses of WHO-approved Covishield at least 14 days prior to the departure.  
  • Produce and provide a negative RT-PCR test done within 72 hours of arrival  

Visa on Arrival Procedure  

Upload scanned copies of passport, return/onwards flight tickets (for a tourist visa), vaccination certificate, negative RT-PCR report, hotel booking receipt, and upload the documents between 12 hours and 72 hours of travel to get visa on arrival if pre-travel approval is granted to you.  

When you get travel approval, download, print and keep the hard copy during your travel  

If you are not applying for a visa on arrival, you can leave the ‘visa number’ column on the application form blank.  

If you’re visiting the Maldives, ensure:  

  • Produce and carry a negative RT-PCR report (One-year-old children are exempted) 96 hours before travel  
  • Get both shots of a Covid-19 vaccine two weeks before your travel date.  
  • Before beginning the journey, submit a Health Declaration on the Maldives immigration portal 24 hours before arrival.  
  • Download TraceEkee, a Maldives contact tracing app  
  • You don’t require any pre-arrival visa; a valid passport with at least 1-month validity from the date of your expected departure will work to enter the Maldives.  
  • As Indians, you are not yet allowed to visit all 185 inhabited islands. Hence, you have to have a confirmed hotel reservation to secure your entry to the Maldives and a valid return ticket.  

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