Vehicle Ownership

Regardless of having a Car, a Motorbile or even a Bus, drivers in Qatar need to make sure that their vehicles are registered, insured and roadworthy. this section focuses on the information on vehicle insurance and the compulsory road worthiness test, as well as the residence permit requirements for bringing a vehicle into Qatar.
For information on pricing for the variety of services offered by the Traffic Dept., check out

Buying a new car

Car ownership in Qatar is quite common, with buying and running a car tending to be considerably cheaper than in western countries. Insurance too can be reasonably priced, so there are plenty of incentives for expatriates to buy cars.
All cars purchased, whether new or second hand, have to be registered with the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department. For new car purchases, however, the registration procedure is usually taken care of by the dealer.
Most major automobile corporations have dealerships in Qatar, and due to the economic advantages of buying here, larger 4×4 and SUV vehicles are popular and widely available. Local dealership details can be found via the main websites of the car manufacturers.
In order to buy a new car, the purchaser must have:
  • A residency permit
  • Car insurance
  • Documentation of any finance agreements from a bank, employer or dealership

Buying and Selling a Used Car

Apart from buying new vehicles, there is also a substantial second hand and used car market for vehicles in Qatar. The main difference between the procedures for buying a new or used car is the transfer of ownership, which must be carried out between the seller and purchaser of a used car as part of the registration process. Options for buying a used car are either to go through a second hand dealer (of which there are many), or to search through classified advertisements or listings online.
Second hand car dealers vary in quality, so buyers should be sure to shop at a reputable showroom, as the service and repair history of vehicles is not always well documented. As such, it is always helpful (and safe) to have the vehicle checked over by at least someone with a good knowledge of automobiles.
Cars for sale can be advertised in local newspapers, and also online. Once the sale has been agreed, the seller must attend the Ministry of Interior Traffic Department with the purchaser and complete a set of procedures. The seller should also ensure that any finance agreements are honoured and settled before the car is transferred – some banks may require that the outstanding amount owed on the car is paid off before the car can be transferred. A certificate of final payment can be requested from the bank.

Importing a Vehicle

Foreigners wanting to import their vehicle must have obtained their Residence Permit before they can bring the car into the country. Expats relocating from one of the neighbouring GCC states (UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait) often bring their vehicles along, as the vehicles have a similar retail value and can be driven overaland.
Most GCC countries require the vehicle to have an export plate and official paperwork. Because a Residence Permit is required in Qatar, which can take up to six weeks to process, another party may be required to bring the vehicle in on behalf of the importer if the permit has not yet been secured.
Documents that must be presented at the border, point of import and for registration are:
  • Proof of ownership at origin
  • Original, authenticated invoice/receipt of purchase, detailing the value of the car
  • Original import manifest
  • Registration certificate (from home country)
  • The current insurance policy

Customs duty

The standard customs duty for importing a car is five percent of the value of the vehicle, but officially if it can be proved the car is over three years old and will be solely for private use (specifically, not intended for resale), that charge should not, in theory, be applied. Cars imported from outside the GCC must also be no older than five years.


If the vehicle enters the country overland, temporary insurance is issued at the border for a fee of QR100, after which the vehicle must be registered in Qatar within 14 days. If the car is imported by a specialist company, the border formalities are probably taken care of as part of the service.

Registering a Vehicle in Qatar

All cars in Qatar must be registered with the Ministry of Interior before they can be driven on the road. An application form can be downloaded from the Hukoomi website (which is in Arabic only), and can be filled out in advance or at the registration office as necessary. Non-Arabic speakers can fill in their details at the department and have the form typed up into Arabic for a fee of QR 15.
The form must be taken along with the vehicle to the Ministry of Interior’s Traffic Department at Madinat Khalifa. The offices are open from 07:00 to 11:00 and 16:00 to 19:00.

The Registration Process

Items required to complete the registration are:
  • Insurance documents, which must have been obtained before beginning the registration process
  • Qatar ID
  • QR100 registration fee (payable by credit card only)
  • Letter of no objection from the car owner’s sponsor
  • Copy of sponsor’s ID
If the sale is between two private individuals, both the seller and the buyer must attend and complete a vehicle transfer form, and the car must be insured by the seller up to the point of transfer, as well as by the new owner from the point of transfer. Both parties need to bring their driver’s licences and residency permits.
In either case, once the forms have been completed, the registering party or parties must take a ticket and queue to be seen at the main counter, where documents will be examined, and, for private sales, a check will be run on the vehicle’s licence plates to see if there are any outstanding traffic fines to pay. The seller is obliged to pay these at this point before the process can be completed. A transfer fee of QR 100 must be paid (by credit card), by either party (as agreed between the parties).
If the car is over three years old, it must have already passed the vehicle test before registration, which is normally the responsibility of the seller. Once all of the above has been finalised, the official transfer is completed (not counting payment between the two parties, which is a private arrangement) and a registration card (Istamara) is issued.
Vehicles also need to pass a vehicle test, which is carried out by Fahes (formerly known as QTIC), on behalf of the Traffic Police. This must be done before completing the registration process above. There is a fee of QR75 for the test, which can be completed at the test centres indicated on the Fahes website. There is typically a grace period to rectify any areas that fail the test, but it would be recommended to check with the Traffic Police about specific requirements before going to the expense of importing the car. Once this has been completed, a Road Permit for the vehicle is issued.

Renewing registration

All cars must have their registration renewed annually. Owners of cars less than three years old only have to take the registration card and insurance documents to the Traffic Police or a Ministry of Interior kiosk and pay the renewal fee of QR 100 by credit card. Cars three years or older must have the vehicle inspected.

Insuring a Vehicle in Qatar

A car must have insurance valid for 12 months before it can be registered in Qatar. Driving without at least third party insurance is illegal. In Qatar, it is the vehicle that is insured rather than the driver, so once it is insured anyone who has a Qatar driver’s licence can drive it (with the owner’s permission), and as such, it means that insurance companies do not penalise drivers for making claims. The cost of insurance is calculated based on the value of the vehicle.
Policies last for 12 months, but there is a one-month grace period at the end of the 12-month period during which time the owner has to renew, or take out a different, policy. In effect this makes it a 13-month contract (although fully comprehensive policies revert to third party during this bonus month).
Insurance can become invalid if the car is damaged while driving off-road, or if the driver is found to have been guilty of drunk driving. Some insurance companies may cover off-road driving, and also driving in other GCC countries, but this should be checked before purchasing the policy.
There are a number of insurance providers in Qatar, the major firms being Qatar Insurance Company (QIC), Arabia Insurance Company and Doha Insurance Company.

Vehicle Inspections in Qatar

In order to ensure that vehicles on the road are roadworthy and safe to drive, they must be registered annually; once they are three years old, they must pass an annual inspection in order to renew the vehicle’s registration (Istimara). Vehicle inspections are carried out by Woqod Vehicles Inspection (FAHES).
    : Al Kassarat Street/ Road 24 Industrial area (PO Box No. 22298), Doha, Qatar
    Tel: 4460 4029, Fax: 4460 7082
The main inspection site is the industrial area in Doha, but there are three other mobile service stations around Doha.
While most inspection areas are open from 07:00 to 17:00, it is advisable to check well in advance as some areas only accept certain categories of vehicles on specific days. Furthermore, it is advisable to book an appointment for a vehicle inspection in advance to avoid long queues.

The Technical and Legal Inspections

Although the inspection test itself is tedious, the process is relatively straightforward.
The technical vehicle inspection test checks aspects such as emissions, windscreen wipers, brightness of headlights, brakes, brake and reverse lights, engine noise, battery condition and general engine condition.
The legal inspection covers aspects such as paintwork, tinted windows, stickers, tyres, spare tyres, fire extinguisher (there should be one in the vehicle), condition of the car body and seat belts.
The only document required is the vehicle’s registration card (Istimara), or a photocopy of it. It is also necessary to pay the appropriate fee on arrival, which is payable in cash.
A report, which states whether the vehicle has passed or failed the test, can be collected as soon as the car has been through the test process. It is most important to pass the technical inspection. If the vehicle fails the legal inspection for minor details (such as a scratch on the paintwork) it is possible to get this “approved” by the captain of police in the inspection area. Alternatively, if there are no police on site to “waive” any failings in the legal test requirements, the report can be taken to the local police station who can “waive” it (depending on what the failure is for), approve the legal inspection and officially stamp and sign the report.
Alternatively, if police are not available on site to ‘waive’ any failing in the legal test requirements, the report can be taken to the local police station who can ‘waive’ it (depending on what the failure is for), approve the legal inspection and officially stamp and sign the report. It is possible to have a free re-inspection within thirty days, and the car will only be tested on what it has failed on. There may be mechanics available on site to make any small repairs. If the vehicle does not pass a re-inspection within 30 days, it is necessary to undergo a full re-inspection.
Before leaving the test area, it is necessary to get the vehicle inspection report signed and stamped. Once the insurance has been renewed, it is then possible to get the registration card (Istimara) renewal at the Traffic Office.


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