Can I Drive In Qatar With An International Driving License?

Driving is one of those privileges that many of us take for granted. There’s nothing better than being able to hop in a car and head out for a day of fun or enjoy the convenience of being able to easily drive to the local supermarket.

So, can you drive in Qatar with an International Driving License? Yes, you can drive in Qatar with an International Driving License. They allow IDLs to be valid for up to 6 months from the original date you enter the country of Qatar. Usually having an international driving license restricts the IDL holder to only being able to operate rented vehicles since most car insurance companies won’t allow for full coverage unless you hold a full driving license.

In Qatar, as with any country, there are strict driving laws that must be followed.

How Do I Apply For An International Driving License?

An international driving license is a little bit bigger than a passport and, when combined with your home countries valid driver’s license, it allows a person to drive in over 150 different countries abroad. In order to get one of these permits in the US, you simply need to download the application, either from the AAA (American Automobile Association) or the AATA (American Automobile Touring Alliance).

Once you’ve downloaded, printed, and filled in the application you will need to submit it, along with a copy of the front and back of your valid state driver’s license and 2 signed passport-size photos of yourself. There will be a fee to pay, with the amount depending on various factors including shipping preference, processing time, and the destination. These fees are all explained on the application, so make sure to read it carefully.

Submission, typically, can be done either by mail or in person. If you do prefer to get it done in person it’s recommended that you call ahead to verify that your local DMV handles that. If you’re ok with mailing it, there will be an address on the application indicating where you need to submit all the documentation and payment (usually by a check, money order, or cashier’s check) to. Some states and agencies do allow for online submission, but this method has yet to be widely adopted.

Do I Need To Get An IDL?

If you are planning to be in Qatar visiting for a week or less, you may not need to get an IDL. It’s recommended that you do to avoid issues, but it may not be 100% necessary. It could make renting a car a little more difficult if you don’t have one.

Honestly, having the peace of mind that all your T’s are crossed and i’s are dotted may just be worth the extra paperwork, even if you’re not going to be in any certain country longer than a week. Typically, an international driving license is good for a year, so if you do get one and you travel abroad frequently, it won’t only benefit your trip to Qatar, but any country you may visit within that 12 month period. 

If you do not have an IDL that’ll cover you for up to 6 months, but you plan to be in Qatar for a bit longer than a week (anywhere from 8 days up to 3 months), you will likely be required to apply for a temporary driving license. Getting a temporary license in Qatar is simple and only requires an application, three photos with a white background, and a copy of your passport.

A Couple Other Things To Consider

An international driving license does not, in any way, take the place of your driver’s license from your home country. If you are driving abroad with an IDL you must keep your driver’s license on you, too. An international driver’s license is just what allows you to drive legally in other countries, but only when paired with your actual driver’s license.

Also, you must apply for your IDL in the country where you live. You can’t get an international driver’s license from another country where you are not a resident. With that being said, make sure that if you plan to get one that you start the process with enough time prior to your international trip. This will help you from hitting any snags just before you are due to leave.

Having an IDL may allow you to drive in another country, but it’s also very important that you read up on the rules of the road for the country you will be visiting. You have to make sure that you understand the laws and other aspects of their driving. Experiencing culture shock when traveling abroad happens and it can even extend as far as driving among the locals.