Qatar has a good system of modern roads and well-maintained highways, and the extraordinarily cheap price of fuel makes driving a very attractive option. However, driving standards can be erratic, so drivers who are new to Qatar are advised to be cautious. In Qatar, you can learn to drive at the age of 18 and you drive on the right-hand side of the road. Unlike some countries in the Middle East, there are no restrictions on women driving. Qatar has a zero-tolerance policy in relation to drinking and driving, and if you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol you are likely to be arrested, fined and banned immediately. Driving without insurance is also illegal.
For short visits, foreign nationals may be allowed to drive on a valid licence issued in their home country or apply for a temporary Qatari licence for up to three months. People who hold an international driving permit can drive on it for up to six months, but if you intend staying for longer or taking up permanent residency you must apply for a Qatari driving licence and will usually have to take the country’s driving test.
If you want to take your car with you to Qatar, be aware that any motor vehicle that is over five years old cannot be imported to the country. Many expats choose to buy cars in Qatar, and the large transient workforce in the country means there can be some really good deals on used cars as people leaving the country sell theirs on. If you buy a new or used car, you will need to register your ownership and renew it on an annual basis.