Traveling to a new country can provide individuals with lots of amazing memories and an overall rewarding experience. It also comes with its own set of laws and customs to learn and follow. The Middle East is quickly becoming a popular travel destination and there are quite a few common misconceptions about Qatar. One of the most frequently asked questions by those hoping to visit is if females are even allowed to drive there.
Can women legally drive in Qatar? Yes, both men and women have equal rights to drive in Qatar. If you are a woman relocating to Qatar, either permanently or temporarily, it’s very easy to apply for and obtain an international driving permit or Qatari driver’s license. Most licenses can be applied for by simply submitting an application along with other necessary documents, such as a copy of passport and photos.
Some, however, require extra tests including a driving test, vision test, and basic driving knowledge test. There will also be fees associated with whatever license you apply for.
Qatar is known to have aggressive drivers, however, so if you’re just visiting for a few days it may be better and safer to get around by Uber or taxi instead of renting a car.
What Are Some Other Important Things To Know About Driving In Qatar?
Driving in a foreign country, at least for me, is always a little nerve-wracking. I had this query myself the first time I was sent on business to Qatar. I had heard rumors about how women in the Middle East were treated unfairly, but it turns out that was not the case at all. At least not in Qatar, although Saudi Arabia may be another story.
Coming from the United States I was happy to hear that they drive on the right side of the road which meant I did not have to adjust to driving on the other side. That was a huge relief. As mentioned above I discovered, the hard way, that the drivers (especially the men) are very aggressive in Qatar. While there are speed limits and laws to obey, some drivers drive with reckless abandon. If you’re used to driving in a populated city in the states, like Miami or Los Angeles, you should be fine.
It’s important to remember that the license provided by the states is only good for up to 7 days. If you plan to be in Qatar for any longer than that you will need to apply for an international driving permit (at the very least). This is a passport size license that is to be carried in conjunction with your valid drivers license from your home country. These can last up to 6 months.
How Else Can A Woman Get Around Qatar Safely?
There are numerous ways to get around Qatar. I mainly stayed in Doha, Qatar’s capital, during my visits. My favorite way to get around Doha was to take an Uber. Using the normal Uber app that I use at home, and that I was already familiar with, allowed me to summon the car for the exact time I needed it. Uber is probably one of the most reliable and inexpensive ways to get around. Taxis are also a very popular option for getting around here. They are usually very easy to find, but the prices of the rides can vary, so I always tried to avoid using them unless Uber was unavailable for the time I needed it.
The public transportation is good in Qatar, too. For visitors that are out to explore the city the Doha Metro is a great option. There are a few different lines that go to most of the hotspots in Doha. The schedules and routes are easy to figure out and the cost is very low, too. It’s a great way to immerse yourself in Qatari culture.
Public transportation is not for everyone though. I tend to get a little claustrophobic, so being enclosed in a bus or train with a bunch of other people isn’t for me. If you’re traveling solo, and are a little apprehensive about getting into a car with a male driver in a foreign country, there are female driver only options in Doha (and probably other parts of the country).
PinkDriver is one of the most popular ones in Doha. This company has an app available for Apple and Android that allows women to effortlessly set up a ride with a female driver and they allow you to pay with cash or a Visa or Mastercard. While it may be a little more expensive than a regular Uber or taxi, it’s nice to have that extra bit of security and peace of mind.