Qatar is a small, modern but devout Muslim state in the Persian Gulf. As a diversified economic power with a warm year-round climate, Qatar is a safe and comfortable country to visit in the Middle East. Visitors shop the ancient markets, see Qatar's blossoming modern architecture and swim in the Persian Gulf. Visitors should not expect Western-style frolicking with alcoholic beverages or gambling, however. They should also know customs rules before entering Qatar.
All visitors and returning nationals are allowed to bring perfumes, up to 400 cigars or cigarettes and up to £536 worth of personal items with them on entry. Cell phones, laptops, cameras or video cameras do not count against a visitor's personal exemption. Non-tobacco items above the personal exemption are taxed at five per cent and every cigarette above the quota of 400 is taxed at a rate of 100 per cent.
Alcohol, pork products, playing cards, ivory, pornography, drugs, some Western magazines containing material deemed "anti-Islamic," Israeli Shekels, South African Rand and all goods produced in those two countries are strictly prohibited. Firearms can only be imported after receiving prior approval from the Qatari Ministry of Defense.
Visitors from the United States need a valid passport and must purchase a visa upon landing, at cost of around £14. Israeli passport holders are not allowed in Qatar under any circumstances. A landing visa expires after one month.
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