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Traveling to Qatar: Alcohol rules & restrictions
3 min read
Updated on Mar 21, 2024

Traveling to Qatar means entering a world where tradition shapes modern life, especially when it comes to drinking. Understanding the local alcohol laws is important for every foreign visitor.

Qatar, a fascinating place where the old meets the new, is known for its stunning modern buildings and rich traditions. It's become a popular spot for tourists, especially after hosting big events like the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

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Unlike many Western countries, there are strict rules when it comes to drinking alcohol because of the country's conservative Islamic culture. Let’s take a closer look at the rules regarding alcohol so that you have a respectful and enjoyable visit.

Understanding Qatar’s alcohol regulations: What you need to know

In Qatar, the legal drinking age is 21. Drinking alcohol in public or being noticeably drunk are serious offenses, with penalties including fines and imprisonment. Selling or providing alcohol to anyone under 16 can lead to even harsher penalties, including up to three years in prison.

Alcohol can be consumed in designated locations, such as licensed hotels, clubs, and bars. However, since the introduction of the “sin tax,” alcohol is sold at a premium price, making it more expensive than in many other countries.

Regular restaurants outside of these establishments generally do not serve alcohol. Qatari residents who are 21 years or older can buy alcohol for personal use from the Qatar Distribution Company (QDC) but require a permit to do so.

During Ramadan, the holy month of fasting for Muslims, alcohol rules tighten significantly. Alcohol consumption in public is even more restricted, and many outlets don’t sell alcohol during daylight hours (or at all). Some hotels may choose to serve alcohol through room service. Licensed bars and restaurants may resume the bar service at night, and the QDC closes for the month.

If you’re transiting through Doha Airport you’re allowed to carry alcoholic beverages under certain conditions. However, importing alcohol as a final destination to Qatar is prohibited.

Tips for responsible drinking in Qatar as a tourist

  • Know the limits: In Qatar, consuming alcohol is legally permitted for non-Muslims in licensed venues like hotels, clubs, and certain high-end restaurants. To stay within legal bounds, always consume alcohol discreetly and avoid public spaces when drinking.

  • Drink moderately: Keep track of your alcohol intake so that you don’t overdo it. If you're unsure of your limits, it’s better to err on the side of caution and drink less than you usually do. Mixing alcohol with medication is particularly risky and should be avoided.

  • Plan ahead for your transport: Before heading out, plan how to return safely to your accommodation if you intend to drink. Use designated drivers, taxis, or ride-sharing services to ensure you get back safely. Avoid driving at all costs, as Qatar has a zero-tolerance policy for drinking and driving.

  • Respect the culture: Being culturally sensitive, especially during Ramadan or other religious periods, is important. During these times, alcohol availability might be restricted. It’s better to have your alcoholic drinks in private to respect the local customs.

  • Try non-alcoholic choices: Drinking non-alcoholic beverages can be a refreshing alternative. Many venues offer sophisticated mocktails that allow you to enjoy the social aspect of dining or relaxing in various settings without the need for alcohol​.

What else should you know about Qatar before packing your bags? Check out our trip guide.

Where to get support

For assistance while traveling in Qatar, your country's embassy or consulate can provide support. Use our Embassies Finder to locate the nearest diplomatic mission.

If you want to apply for a Qatari eVisa and have questions, you can get in touch with our customer support team. Contact them any time via WhatsApp or through the iVisa chat.

  • iVisa is NOT affiliated with any government agency. This site does not provide legal advice and we are not a law firm. None of our customer service representatives are lawyers and they also do not provide legal advice. We are a private, internet-based travel and immigration consultancy provider dedicated to helping individuals travel around the world. You may apply by yourself directly on the various government websites. For government source information, please visit our product pages.
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