The customs entry point for most people going to Qatar is the Doha International Airport. If you are travelling by boat, your point of entry for customs is Salwa Overland Customs, Mesaieed Port, Doha Port or Ras Laffan. The Customs authority in Qatar is Qatar Customs.
It is illegal to import drugs, alcohol, pornography, pork products, Israeli currency, and religious books and materials to Qatar. All luggage is scanned at the arrivals hall of the Doha airport for these items. DVDs and videos imported to Qatar may be censored.
Customs duties are applied to all goods with an origin outside the GCC (Gulf) countries, normally at a rate of 5%, but sometimes higher for specific types of goods such as tobacco.
There are also customs applicable to air shipments (e.g. if you shop for something online). These are:
Qatar is not an especially pet friendly country, with its high temperatures, lack of pet-friendly facilities, and the local often-negative attitude towards pets. Nonetheless, many expat families chose to bring their pets with them to Qatar. After all, they are members of the family! On a positive note, it is relatively easy to bring your pet to Qatar compared to other countries (i.e. the UK, Malta, etc.)
Qatar does restrict the import of certain breeds of dogs, including Boxers, Boerboels, Boston Terriers, Bulldogs, Bull terriers, Rottweiler's, Chinese Shar-Peis, Great Danes, Japanese Akitas, Neapolitan Mastiffs, Afghan Hounds, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Dobermans. You can only import pets older than 4 months old to Qatar.
Taking your pet into Qatar usually includes:
If you want to learn more about what to expect when exporting your pet abroad, you can refer to EasyExpat's article on "Expat Pets".
Some airlines allow pets to travel in an airplane's cabin, provided their cage is small enough to fit under your seat. Small birds may also be able to travel in the cabin, but tropical birds such as parrots are usually not allowed.
If your pet's cage does not fit under your seat, you will have to ship it as checked baggage or cargo. Since the outside air temperature also affects the temperature in the cargo bay, airlines may restrict the transportation of pets during certain times of the year. Airlines have special requirements for containers in the cabin and cargo bay. Make sure you get detailed information from your preferred airlines before purchasing a cage or kennel. You pet should be able to comfortably stand and turn around in their carrier.
Before leaving, acquaint your animal with the kennel or container. Add some familiar toys or some of your clothing items, so your pet has a sense of familiarity during the transport. In many cases it is helpful to allow or encourage your pet to sleep in their kennel or container, so they begin to see it as a "safe" place. Sedation of your pet during the trip is generally not recommended and should only be used as a last resort.
There are also pet relocation services in Doha that figure out all the details of the move. These services tend to be quite expensive, but take away the stress of doing it yourself. Doha Vets is one such service.
If you do not comply with the regulations listed above in "Pets" your pet may be refused entry to Qatar or may be quarantined. Pets are quarantine at a special facility at the airport. Quarantine periods are usually as long as it takes to secure the proper documents or vaccinations.
Resources for Pet Owners in Qatar
For more information on customs regulations, you can visit:
U.S. Citizens: The free pamphlet "Know Before You Go" at http://www.cbp.gov/ is very helpful. (Click on "Travel" and then click on "Know Before You Go! Online Brochure").
You can also contact:
U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP)
1300 Pennsylvania Ave.
Washington, DC 20229
Canadian Citizens: "I Declare", issued by the Canada Border Services Agency (tel. 800/461-9999 in Canada, or 204/983-3500 ) is helpful.
Australian Citizens: A helpful brochure is available from Australian consulates or Customs offices called "Know Before You Go". Call the Australian Customs Service at tel. 1300/363-263, or log on to http://www.customs.gov.au/.
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