In advance of hosting the FIFA World Cup in late 2022, Qatar has announced new restrictions on the entry of foreign nationals. Specifically, all foreign nationals seeking to enter Qatar as visitors will need to carry a "Hayya" Card as of November 1, 2022. Visitors must hold match tickets in order to qualify for the Hayya, which can be applied for online. Qatari citizens and foreign nationals holding a residence permit may continue to enter Qatar as usual. Qatar's move to require foreign visitors to hold match tickets in order to enter the country has been anticipated since a draft decision of the Ministry of Interior earlier this year.

World Cup Tourism Effect

For the first time in the country's history, Qatar has been chosen to host the FIFA World Cup, to be held between November 21 and December 18. The country expects an influx of around $17 billion to its economy, as well as approximately 1.2 million tourists for the sporting event. Reportedly, limited accommodation facilities for tourists in Qatar have motivated the government to restrict entry only to visitors with a valid World Cup ticket for at least the last two months of 2022.

The Hayya Card

For foreign nationals entering Qatar as visitors, the Hayya card will serve as both an entry permit and a stadium access pass. In addition to holding FIFA tickets, foreign visitors will also need to confirm their accommodations in order to obtain a Hayya.

What Does This Mean for Employers?

Under the announcement, foreign nationals holding a residence permit may continue to do enter Qatar as usual. There is no requirement for a foreign national with residence permit to obtain a Hayya in order to enter the country. Nevertheless, given the expected influx of travelers, the potential shortage of accommodations, and the possibility of additional entry restrictions on other classes of foreign nationals, employers should plan accordingly for employees and dependents whose presence is required in Qatar during the World Cup.

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