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Qatar announced that it will not require the citizens of 33 western nations to obtain visa’s for travel to Qatar, as it delayed the law requiring pre-travel visas indefinitely. At the moment, nationals of western countries do not require visas to enter Qatar. However, Qatar announced last month that it will require all foreign national to obtain visas prior to travel, if their country’s do not reciprocate the visa-free travel, with effect from 1 May. Qatar said that it will give those countries extra time to implement visa reciprocity.

 

With the delay in the implementation of the law, pre-travel visas are still not required of citizens of those 33 nations, including the UK and the US.

 

May 1, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Decreasing Risk

 

The visa rule that was about to come into effect on May 1 would have done a great deal of damage to Qatari diversification efforts and efforts to attract foreign investment. Although the law has been “temporarily” suspended, it is still possible that it will be implemented.

 

Currently, Qatari citizens are required to obtained visas for travel to most Western countries, sometimes undergoing lengthy applications. It is not clear how most of those western countries will give Qataris visa-free travel. If this happens, Qatar will be the first Arab country to have its citizens travel visa free to Western nations. The likelihood is that this will not happen and Qatar will either reimpose the visa restrictions or arrive at some sort of an arrangement to ease travel restrictions. For the time being, however, the delay in implementing the law is a positive sign.