A Guide to Getting a Driver’s Licence in Qatar | expatwoman.com

A Guide to Getting a Driver’s Licence in Qatar

Here's all you need to know about getting your Qatar driver's licence as an expat.

Posted on

22 September 2013

Last updated on 2 January 2018
Guide to Getting a Driver’s Licence

Many people who move to Qatar rely on the country's public transport system in order to get around for the first few weeks. However, after some time, expats either rent or buy a car.  Depending on where you're from, you can drive a rental car for one week with a valid current driver's licence from your country of origin. Within the week, a temporary driver's licence can be obtained from the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department that would be valid for the duration of your visa. Expats from certain countries can exchange their valid driving licence for a Qatari one, however many people will have to pass the theory and practical driving tests in order to be able to drive in the country.

driving in qatar


The requirements are:

  • A completed application form in Arabic

  • Original licence from country of origin (copies of front and back)

  • ID

  • Passport

  • Copy of oassport & RP (copy of husband's passport and RP if applicable)

  • Three passport-size photos (with your glasses on if you wear them for driving and a blue background)

  • An eye test. It can be done at most opticians but you will need to take your forms with you. So, first stop is the traffic department, then get an eye test.

If you have a valid driving licence from your country of origin, you can drive a rental car for a period of seven days. However, if you have an international driving licence, there is no time limit.

Before the seven-day period is up, you will need to get a temporary driving licence that is valid for the period of your visa. All nationalities may exchange their country of origin’s licence for a temporary Qatar licence, however you may not do so if you have already started the residence visa process. If this has been started, you will have to wait for the visa before applying for a permanent licence.

SEE ALSO: Our red-tape guide to living in Qatar

Temporary Licence

To obtain the temporary licence, you will need to apply in person at the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department, where you will be required to complete an application form. This will have to be completed in Arabic (there are a number of typing shops within the confines of the traffic department who will assist, for a small fee). If you have entered the country on a business visa, your sponsor will need to sign the form.

The documents required for a temporary licence are:

  • Application form as above

  • Original licence from country of origin

  • Copy of your original licence (front and back)

  • Original passport or your Qatar ID card

  • Passport copy

  • Three passport photographs with a white background (remember, if you normally wear glasses, you should be wearing them in the photo)

Upon presentation of the above documents, you will undergo an eye test, which is performed there and on the premises. Then, pay the cashier the fee of QR 150 - you will need a credit card as no cash payments are accepted. You should be able to collect the licence the following day. The temporary licene is valid for three months. 

A temporary licence allows you to drive rental cars; however, you may not be insured to drive a privately-owned car. This is purely at the discretion of the individual insurance company and they should be contacted to ensure coverage.

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Permanent Licence

Upon receipt of your residence visa, you will be able to apply for a permanent licence, which is valid for five years. If you are caught driving without a licence, the penalty can start at QR 1000 and possible imprisonment as driving without a licence is a criminal offence. Holders of GCC driving licences can obtain a permanent Qatar driving licence automatically, regardless of their country of origin. The majority of European and western licences can also be automatically exchanged; however, due to the constantly changing regulations, it is prudent to check with the traffic department at the time of applying.

If you do have an exchangeable licence, you will need complete an application form that needs to be typed in Arabic and signed by your sponsor, an eye test and then apply in person at the Madinat Khalifa Traffic Department.

The documents required for a permanent licence are:

  • Application form (as above) Here's a link to it

  • Original licence from country of origin with copies

  • No Objection Letter from your sponsor (in Arabic)

  • Copy of your sponsor’s ID

  • Original passport with copies

  • RP copy

  • Three passport photographs (blue background and with glasses on if you wear them for driving)

Upon presentation of the above documents, you will then have to undergo an eye test at an opticians and then go to the traffic department.

Pay the cashier a fee of QR 250 (no cash payments are accepted, so take your credit card). You should be able to collect the licence the following day.

SEE ALSO: Guide to driving in Qatar

If you are from a country that is not allowed to automatically exchange licences, you will have to undergo a driving test and possibly driving courses beforehand. This involves both an oral test and a road test. The tests are conducted in manual transmission cars and there may be up to four people in the car, each one taking turns to drive. During the Holy month of Ramadan, which rotates throughout the calendar year based on the lunar cycle, ladies are not permitted to take a road test.

Cash is not accepted when paying for your driver’s licence application, so ensure you have your credit card with you. The driver’s licence normally takes a day.

For learners, driving in Qatar can be a daunting task. Driving schools can help alleviate some of the difficulties you may encounter.

List of Driving Schools and Instructors:

  • Al Rayah Driving School - 4487 7774

  • Doha Driving Centre - 4479 2263

  • Gulf Driving School LLC - 4465 2822

  • United Driving Company - 4468 1003

Here's one of our forum members recent experience:

"If you hold a UK driving licence, get the driving licence application form and have this completed in Arabic. Get two passport photos with blue background. If you wear glasses to drive, make sure your photos show you wearing glasses. Go get a driving licence eye test, QR 30 from most opticians. They will need to stamp your form and photos, so take them with you. Have photocopies of both sides of your UK driving licence (both card and paper part just in case), both sides of your RP and DH's RP. If going alone, you may need a No Objection Letter from nyour sponsor (either DH or employer). Go to Traffic Deptartment (we got there at 6.45 am and it was quite empty, no need to queue). Handover all paperwork, forms, photos and original UK driving licence, pay QR 250 by card and you should get your licence. Mine is valid for 5 years."