India-USA Travel: New Rules Affecting Doha, Qatar Transit Travelers

Starting tomorrow, October 6, 2021, Qatar will impose certain restrictions that will impact US visitors from India. Updating their Covid-19 travel and return policy, Qatar will now deny entry to unvaccinated travelers. This is not only going to affect those visiting Qatar but also so those who could be transiting through Qatar from the USA to India.

During the pandemic, very few flights are operational between the United States and India, Qatar airways being one of them. Under the travel bubble agreement, Qatar airways currently flies from San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Dallas and Washington D.C. to different airports within India. Several travelers transit through Doha, Qatar to make this trip.

Lifting The US Travel Ban In November 2021

Due to the current travel restrictions, Indians travelers are not allowed to enter the US if they have been in India 14 days prior to entering the country. For those who have to travel to the US may enter if they have been in another approved country instead. Hence, many choose to travel via a transit country on the US approved list instead of flying directly to the US.

Related Article: New Rules Of US-India Travel After Travel Ban Is Lifted In November 2021

Doha, capital of Qatar is one such US approved country and Indian travelers have been halting here before continuing their onward journey to USA. Qatar provides a visa on arrival to Indians. Doha is especially convenient for parents visiting the US from India.

The new changes made will now impact all Indian travelers entering or transiting through Doha.

New Changes Affecting Indians Transiting Through Qatar 

Qatar now has distinct rules for countries based on international health risk indicators related to Covid-19. They have categorized these countries into Red, Green and Exceptional Red countries. India, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, Kenya, Bangladesh, Sudan and Sri Lanka fall under the Exceptional Red category list.

The following changes will be implemented on travelers going to Qatar

  • Unvaccinated visitors will be denied entry
  • Any USA bound traveler who may be transiting through Qatar but not getting out of the airport will need a negative RT-PCR test and vaccination record before boarding the flight. 
  • Any USA bound traveler who will be staying in Doha, Qatar will need a visa on arrival and will be subject to a hotel quarantine for 2 days.
  • Hotel quarantine is applicable to travelers 12 years older and to children 11 years and below who should be accompanied by their parents. 
  • If a family member of accompanying the minor child, they have to show proof of relationship as well as an approval from a US government authority to accompany the child. This could be in the form of a National Interest Exception (NIE) approval.
  • All travelers arriving at Qatar (or those transiting through Doha) have to also undertake a PCR test within 36 hours of arrival.
  • Everyone taking the test also have to quarantine at a hotel.
  • After the US travel ban is lifted in November only vaccinated travelers will be able to enter the United States.  Until then, unvaccinated travelers entering Doha, Qatar will have to quarantine in a hotel for 7 days.
  • Apart from having a negative RT-PCR test 72 hours before boarding a flight into Qatar, they will have to retake the RT-PCR test on the sixth day of the quarantine.
  • Travelers will be able to continue their onward journey only if they test negative on the sixth day of quarantine.

Trip Insurance

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