Crossing Saudi-Qatar land border for the World Cup? Here’s all you should know

The Abu Samra border crossing with Saudi Arabia has been expanded to welcome fans, with improved facilities, free parking and a capacity to receive 4,000 travellers every hour.

Fans coming to Qatar through the Abu Samra land border crossing with Saudi Arabia will have access to free buses, authorities confirmed on Sunday.

Day visitors entering will not be able to access the country using private cars unless they have a Qatar-registered vehicle. Instead, it is mandatory to use park-and-ride facilities at the Abu Samra border, completing the final 90km by bus.

The ministry will allocate a tent that can receive 4,000 people per hour and increase the passport counters at the checkpoint to serve fans, citizens, residents, and others, according to authorities.

Pre-registration began on Saturday, October 15, with drivers required to notify the host nation that they will be bringing their vehicles into the country.

Procedures will be in place from November 1 until December 23, officials announced on Sunday.

Cars with Qatari plates

Citizens, residents, and GCC citizens with a Qatari ID card and a car with Qatari plates can enter the country as usual without a Hayya card, which will serve as an entry visa for football fans during the event and is required to secure match tickets.

Exceptional entry permit

Fans who wish to enter the country using their own vehicles need to have a pre-approved entry permit, which can be obtained using the Hayya platform. Here is all you need to do prior:

  • A confirmed accommodation approved through the Hayya platform for a minimum of 5 nights (for the driver only).
  • Submit a vehicle entry permit application through the official Hayya platform. If approved, an email with a link to obtain the vehicle insurance electronically will be sent.
  • Upon completion of the insurance, the applicant must follow up on the platform within 24 hours to obtain the permit by paying a non-refundable fee of QAR 5,000.
  • There should be a minimum of three people in the vehicle and shall not exceed a maximum of six people, while all of them should carry a Hayya card.
  • The vehicle entry permit can be used only once (not for multiple visits). 
  • Travel will not be allowed on the A and B ring roads or connecting intersections

One-day stays

Those attending one or more matches in 24 hours do not require a hotel reservation but must hold a one-day fan category Hayya card and pre-book a parking space through the Hayya platform before arrival.

  • Parking is free for the first 24 hours, with a charge of 1,000 Qatari riyals for a second day. Vehicles will be towed and another QR1,000 charge will be imposed if the car remains parked for more than 48 hours after entry.
  • Free buses will transport fans on the 2km route from the Abu Samra checkpoint to the Friends Meet and Greet Area in Al Qalayel. Public transport will also connect them with Doha Central Station in Al Messila, about 90km away.
  • The parking reservation service is open from November 1.
  • Commercial vehicles looking to enter the country will be restricted during the tournament between 11pm and 6am to prioritise fan traffic. This will be in place from November 15 until December 22.
  • All payments for parking can be made via the Hayya app.

Can you take the bus?

Fans staying in neighboring Saudi Arabia will be able to take a bus into Qatar if they have a Hayya card.

After reaching the checkpoint, you can take a connecting bus into central Doha.

Qatar expects around 1.5 million fans for the World Cup.

About 75 percent of the World Cup ticket holders have already applied for the mandatory Hayya Card, officials announced on Sunday.

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