If you are planning on living in Qatar for an extended period, one of the first things you need to do is to get Qatar Driving License. Depending on whether you are getting your very first license or you are an experienced driver, you need to be informed of the driving license regulations.

Requirements for Qatar Driving License

Age Requirement

18 years is the minimum age requirement to apply for light motor vehicles and motorcycle licenses in Qatar. However, 21 years is the minimum age requirement to apply for a license for heavy vehicles like trucks, buses, forklifts etc.

Residency Requirement

It is compulsory that the applicant has a valid Residence Permit (QID) in order to get Qatar driving license. In case the Qatar ID is not issued, a visa copy and original passport is required.

Profession Requirement

Expatriates with some specific professions (which do not require driving) are not eligible to get Qatar driving license.

The Traffic Department explains this to be a move to reduce traffic congestion on the roads. If you are a company-sponsored expatriate please verify the profession mentioned on your Qatar ID with a driving school.

Is Your Current License Valid in Qatar?

Before you enrol for a driving course in Qatar, you have to check if your current driving license (if you have one) is valid for exchange or direct test. Depending on the country of your existing driving license, you may be eligible for a simpler process:

  1. Driving licenses issued by some countries can be directly exchanged for Qatar Driving License without a driving test.
  2. Driving licenses issued by some countries make you eligible for direct road test without enrolling for a driving course.
  3. Driving licenses issued by some countries make you eligible for a shorter training course, which means you can take the half course (20 classes) instead of a full course (40 classes).

To determine your eligibility you need to check with any authorised driving school or the Traffic Department.

Qatar Driving License Procedure

The procedure to get Qatar driving are as explained below:

Step 1: Select your driving school

There are several government-authorised driving schools in Doha. The applicant can choose any one of these.

Step 2: Apply for NOC (No Objection Certificate) on Metrash2 mobile application

Earlier the applicant had to get NOC from his sponsor in writing. Recently this has been changed to online approval which can be done through the Metrash2 mobile app or MOI website.

  • For company sponsorship: NOC has to be given by the company by using company Metrash2 application.
  • For personal sponsorship: NOC has to be given by the sponsor using Metrash2 application.
  • For Qatari male: NOC is not required.
  • For Qatari female: NOC has to be given by the guardian using Metrash2 application.

Steps to apply for Driving License NOC on Metrash2:

  • Login to Metrash2 mobile app
  • Click on “Traffic” -> “License Service” -> “License NOC”
  • Enter the sponsored person’s QID or visa number in the specified box
  • Select “New Issue”
  • Select the required driving license category (motorcycle, car, bus etc.)
  • Enter the email id and click “Next”
  • On the next page, confirm after reviewing request details

Once approved, the sponsor will get a Metrash notification on his phone.

For companies and individuals with smart cards, these steps can also be done on the MOI website as explained below.

Steps to apply for Driving License NOC on the MOI website:

  1. Go to E-Services page on MOI website
  2. Click on “Traffic Services”
  3. Click on “Driving License”
  4. Click on “Driving License NOC”
  5. Complete the required fields and submit the form
  6. Once approve the sponsor will receive a notification

Step 3: Eye test for Qatar driving license

An eye test (vision test) is mandatory for all applicants and can be done at most driving schools. Alternatively, you may bring an Eye Test Certificate from an optometrist or ophthalmologist approved by the Traffic Department.

If the test is done at driving schools, they will update the test result on the MOI portal. The fee for eye tests ranges between QR 25 and QR 50.

Step 4: Decide course duration

If you have a previous driving license from another country, you may be eligible to opt for half course. In such a case, you have to get approval from the Traffic Police office by submitting your old driving license. Your driving school will check your eligibility and advise the course suitable for you.

Generally, a full course has 40 practical classes (in addition to theory classes and simulator classes) while a half course includes only 20 practical classes.

Step 5: Submit the required documents and pay the course fee

The applicant may submit the documents at any approved driving school of his or her choice.

Documents required for expatriate residents

  • Valid Qatar ID (original + copy)
  • NOC by Metrash2 (explained above)
  • Colour Passport Size Photos (4 pcs)*
  • Eye Test Certificate
  • Original valid home country license if applying for half course

*If you are using spectacles while driving, ensure your photos are with spectacles.

Once you pay the fee, your driving school will open an online file for your driving lessons. They will also give you a guidebook or CD for theory lessons. Some driving schools have their own mobile app for theory lessons.

Step 6: Theory lessons

Theory classes will be mainly about traffic laws in Qatar, traffic signs, driving ethics etc. Some schools offer these classes on a computer or tablet. You can also do mock tests with instant results to track your progress. Most driving schools offer theory classes for five days. In addition to this, some schools also offer simulator training that helps to improve steering balance and vehicle control.

Step 7: Theory test

Upon completion of theory lessons, you can take the theory test. Nowadays theory tests are conducted online using the driving school’s computer. You have to give the correct answer to at least 37 out of 40 questions. The test is available in a number of languages.

Step 8: Practical lessons – Parking

Practical lessons will be one-to-one driving lessons with a driving instructor. Most driving schools offer male and female instructors as per your requirement. There might be a higher fee if you require a female instructor.

In the first phase of practical lessons, you will be given lessons on parking. The two main tasks to master here are for parking tests known as “L” and “P”.

Step 9: Parking test

Once you complete your parking lessons, you will be assigned a test date for the parking test. You have to complete both the “L” and “P” tasks on the same day. “L” refers to perpendicular parking and “P” refers to parallel parking. The tests are computerised and you get the results instantly.

Step 10: Practical lessons – Road training

In the second phase of practical lessons, you will be given road training by an instructor. You will drive on the main roads and get used to all the driving techniques and skills required

Step 11: Final Road Test

Upon completion of road training, you would be given a date for the road test. The final road test is done on a driving school car with three or four people in the car taking turns to drive. A Traffic Police Officer will be present in the car to evaluate your driving skills.

A driving licence is issued immediately after successfully passing the test.

Normally a half course or full course entitles you to two attempts for the road test. If you are not able to pass even after two attempts, you may be asked to join another course.

 

Time Required to Complete Driving Course

On average will take approximately 90 to 110 days to complete the regular full course (Theory training & test + Waiting time + Practical training + Tests).

The regular half course will get over approximately 65 to 90 days (Theory training & test + Waiting time + Practical training + Tests).

Please note that this time frame may vary from driving school to driving school as the waiting period may be longer at some schools.

 

Driving Test Procedure in Qatar

You have to pay a nominal fee and register for the test. Driving tests usually consist of the following modules on different days:

  1. Theory Test (for road and traffic signs)
  2. Parking Test (L and P)
  3. Road Test

Each of these tests is a prerequisite to enter the next one. But, if you have passed one, you need not repeat it. If you fail one part of the test, you will not proceed to the next stage of the test.

If you fail the test you can retake it within a specified time frame without additional charge. Parts of the test that were successfully passed previously do not have to be retaken.

As per the Rule of Traffic Department effective March 1, 2016, Full Course and Half Course will have 2 chances of Road Test. Signal and Parking Tests will be unlimited but if failed the applicant has to pay QR 50 test fee to book another date.

Qatar Driving License Fees

  1. Qatari Citizen (Light Vehicle) – QR 500 & 10 Years Validity
  2. Expatriate Resident (Light Vehicle) – QR 250 & 5 Years Validity
  3. Qatari Citizen (Heavy Vehicle) – QR 600 & 10 Years Validity
  4. Expatriate Resident (Heavy Vehicle) – QR 300 & 5 Years Validity
  5. Qatari Citizen (Motorcycle) – QR 300 & 10 Years Validity
  6. Expatriate Resident (Motorcycle) – QR 150 & 5 Years Validity
  7. Driver’s learning license (all vehicles) – QR 150 & 3 months Validity
  8. Permit for driving taxi vehicles, limousine and public transport vehicles – QR 250 & 1 Year Validity

All transactions at the Traffic Department must be paid for using a credit/debit card.

Automatic or Manual Transmission Vehicles

For light vehicles, a choice of manual or automatic transmission vehicles is available at all driving schools. If you pass your test in an automatic car, you can only legally drive automatic cars. If you pass in a manual car you can drive both manual and automatic cars from then on.

How To Exchange / Transfer A Foreign License in Qatar

Driving licenses from some countries (mainly western countries) are eligible for direct exchange. To know if your driving license is eligible for direct exchange, please check with any driving school. Please note that only expatriates with valid Residence Permits can apply for this.

If you have a driving license from any GCC country (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia or UAE), you can take a direct test without attending the training course. To get a test date you have to contact any driving school and pay the necessary fee.

Recent Changes To Qatar Driving License System

In the past few years, the Traffic Department has introduced a number of changes to the driving license system. Here are some changes that you need to know:

  1. Unified driving curriculum: The Traffic Department has introduced a unified driving curriculum to be used in all driving schools.
  2. Unified contract for all driving schools: All driving schools in the country have adopted a unified contract that clearly outlines their obligations to the trainees. Driving schools are banned from imposing any additional fees on the trainees other than what has been specified in the unified contract. The contract forces the school to refund the balance amount, as per the provisions of the contract, in case the trainee discontinues the course in between.
  3. Guardian can accompany female driving trainee: In case the trainer is a male, a female trainee may demand the company of a male guardian.
  4. 18 languages: The unified curriculum is now available in more than 18 languages which are commonly used in Qatar instead of the earlier 10 languages.
  5. Road test after passing theory test only: No trainee will be allowed to take a road test unless he passes the theory test based on information provided in the new curriculum.
  6. You need to know the basics of automobiles: In addition to driving skills and traffic laws, the syllabus addresses issues such as how to check the safety of a vehicle, lights, engine, engine oil and the pressure of tyres.
  7. No more short courses: Short courses have been abolished and new learners have to take either the half or full course.
  8. No more exceptions for Saudi, Kuwait license holders: The provision of granting a driving licence to those holding licences issued by Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have been discontinued in Qatar. They are now required to enrol in driving schools and take the tests.