Football fans around the world are probably marking their calendars for the month of November in anticipation for the upcoming 22nd FIFA World Cup. The event will see thirty two countries battling it out for the final World Cup title and trophy. Many will want to bear witness to this global sporting event set to take place in the Middle East for the first time. However, travelling to Qatar and attending the event itself will not be so simple. You will need to plan accordingly and may even have to get a head start as there are many steps prior to even booking your flight ticket.
To make the process simpler, we have curated a complete step by step guide starting with the initial purchase of the match tickets all the way up to how to get to Qatar.
Buying The Ticket
As the event is selling out fast with over 24.5 million tickets sold so far, FIFA has opened up a last minute online sale phase for its tickets that began on September 27th and will continue on until December 18th. To reserve your spot, you’ll need to head to FIFA.com/tickets. As the tickets are available on a first come first serve basis, you’ll have to be quick. Through the FIFA portal, you will need to register and create an account prior to purchasing your ticket.
Applying To The Hayya Card
Qatar has recently announced that starting from November 1st until December 23rd 2022, only Hayya Card holders, citizens and residents of Qatar as well as GCC citizens who hold a Qatari ID are allowed entry to the Gulf country during that time period. This also extends to holders of personal visas, work entry permits as well as individuals with approved humanitarian cases.
In general, to enter Qatar, international visitors will have to apply for the Hayya card. To be eligible for the card, you will need to have bought at least one match ticket, have an international passport with a minimum 3 month validity after arriving to Qatar as well as proof of accommodation. There are two ways to apply to the card. You can either visit the Hayya online portal and go through their registration process which will include adding in your ticket application number. The other option is to download the Hayya app and complete the application process to receive your digital Hayya card.
Other than acting as your entry permit to Qatar as well as giving you access to the stadium, the card offers other cool perks and benefits including free public transport from 10 November to 23 December 2022.
Driving Or Flying To Qatar
Wherever you are in the world, travel preparations are usually the most tedious and time consuming aspect of a trip. With an event like the World Cup, flight tickets alone are quite expensive because of high demand. Depending on the country, some round trips can stack up to a minimum of 5000 US dollars per passenger.
Travelling by air, however, is not the only way to get to Qatar. Countries like Saudi Arabia have the option of taking a car and accessing Qatar through its borders. Depending on each country, the process can differ. To make the planning process easier, we have provided a mini guide on the easiest travel options available to International visitors.
Saudi Arabia’s proximity to Qatar gives its residents the advantage of having the option to take their cars and hit the road to reach Doha. Even though flights to Doha would only take one hour and 30 minutes, prices are pretty high making driving a more affordable and fun option especially if you enjoy driving in general or embarking on the occasional family road trip.
Travelling the 581 km to Doha will probably take six hours. The journey will involve taking Route 522, a 122 km highway stretching from Riyadh to Doha’s borders. At Salwa, the Saudi Arabia-Qatar border, clearance and security may take up to two hours because of traffic. From there, you’ll have entered Qatar.
Travelling by car from other Arab and Gulf countries may not be so simple. Even with the UAE, the journey may be difficult and require a lot of pre-preparation as you will not just have to apply for the Haqqa card to enter Qatar but will require a visa or entry permit to pass through Saudi Arabia’s borders.
As prices are pretty steep, some airlines have set up special inclusive packages to make the journey more affordable to international visitors. Qatar Airways have recently combined round trip flights, accommodation and match tickets all in one package.
Visitors will first have to select which team they are supporting and based on that a selection of different packages would pop up. If, for example, you are supporting Morocco, you can select the “Support Your Team Package” which has a starting price of 4000 US dollars. With this package, you will be able to attend four of Morocco’s matches during a 13 night stay in Qatar from November the 20th to December 3rd. Other than the round trip flight, accommodation will also be provided. The other packages are for later dates including the matches that will run from December 3rd to December 7th. Packages for any dates after December 7th are sold out.
Another affordable option would be to attend the World Cup through daily chartered plane packages that fly off from the UAE. Holders of the Hayya card will be able to receive a 90 day period multi entry visa to the Emirates, making it easy to move in and out of the UAE during the World Cup season. To book a chartered plane package from the UAE, you can contact a UAE tour operator to book a round trip that can cost about 700 USD. Some packages also include two night accommodation.
Registering For COVID 19 Ehteraz
With your ticket, Hayya card and travel plan set up, the last step to get you ready for the exciting event is to register to the Ehteraz app or website which is used to track COVID 19 cases in the country. This is only mandatory for travelers without a Qatari ID or passport. The Ehteraz registration process should be completed at least three days prior to your flight. Several documents will need to be uploaded including a soft copy of your passport as well as a vaccination certificate.