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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2006 > November
Fact Sheet
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
November 1, 2006


Doha 2006 Asian Games

The Doha 2006 Asian Games will take place in and around Doha, Qatar, December 1-15, 2006. For additional information on the 2006 Asian Games, including information on hotel accommodations, tickets, transportation, and advice for spectators, please see the website of the Organizing Committee of the Doha 2006 Asian Games. American citizens traveling to Qatar for the Games should visit U.S. Embassy Doha’s website at http://qatar.usembassy.gov/.

Before You Go:

U.S. citizens will need a valid U.S. passport, Qatari visa and a confirmed hotel reservation to travel to Qatar. For information on how to acquire or replace a U.S. passport, please see the Department of State's webpage on Passport Services and Information.

In general, a U.S. citizen traveling on a U.S. passport may obtain a single-entry tourist or business visa at Doha International Airport upon arrival. Single entry visas cost $16 and can be paid by credit card only. Cash is not accepted. Visas are valid for 21 days and may be extended for an additional 7 days for a $15 fee through the Airport Visas Section of the Immigration Department at Doha International Airport. However, U.S.-citizen travelers will be able to clear Qatari immigration more quickly and be granted a longer stay in the country by obtaining visas prior to arrival. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of the State of Qatar (http://www.qatar.embassy.net/) at 2555 M St NW, Washington 20037, tel. (202) 274-1600, and fax (202) 237-0061. See the State Department’s Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Qatar and other countries.

The Department of State urges you to register with the U.S. Embassy in Doha, preferably before you travel, via our Internet-Based Registration System. This will help us locate you in the event there is a general emergency or if someone in the United States needs to reach you. Travel registration is a free service provided by the U.S. Government to U.S. citizens who are traveling to, or living in, a foreign country. Registration allows you to record information about your overseas country of residence or upcoming trip abroad. You should also leave a copy of your itinerary, a copy of your passport data pages, and your contact information with family or friends.

While Qatar does not require visitors to have insurance, the Department of State urges Americans traveling overseas to have adequate medical insurance coverage, including insurance for medical evacuations. Medicare recipients should know that Medicare does not cover medical expenses abroad. For more information, see the State Department’s flyer Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad.

During the Asian Games, Americans should anticipate difficulty traveling within, to, and from Qatar. While a temporary terminal will be opened for athletes, officials, and VIPs, the influx of visitors and departure of residents may result in significant delays and unavailability of flights at Doha International Airport (DOH), which is already operating at maximum capacity. Due to a number of ongoing road and transportation construction projects, vehicular travel will likely be delayed significantly. Hotel space will be limited or unavailable throughout Qatar. While grocery stores and restaurants will likely stock up in advance, supplies may nonetheless be depleted before, during and after the Asian Games. As a result, travelers and residents should prepare for and anticipate these difficulties well in advance.

Qatari customs and immigration authorities enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Qatar of professional, protective or law enforcement gear and/or equipment and any item seen as a potential security threat. This equipment will be confiscated upon arrival and the bearer detained by Qatari immigration and customs officials. They also enforce strict regulations of items such as alcohol, narcotics, pork products, and anything deemed pornographic by Qatari authorities. While importation of religious material for personal use is acceptable, importation of religious material for the purpose of proselytizing is not. Please contact the Embassy of the State of Qatar in Washington, DC, for more information regarding customs requirements.

While There:

During the Asian Games, healthcare and emergency medical facilities are likely to be strained as existing resources are dedicated to official events. At the same time, U.S. Consuls stand ready to assist Americans in a variety of emergency situations overseas, including lost and stolen passports, illness, temporary destitution, crime, or arrest. If an American citizen becomes seriously ill or injured abroad, a U.S. Consular Officer can assist in locating appropriate medical services and informing family or friends. If necessary, a Consular Officer can also assist in the transfer of funds from the United States. However, payment of hospital and other expenses is the responsibility of the traveler. Your medical insurance company can advise you on whether your policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as medical evacuation (see "Before You Go" section above). For information on dentists and doctors in Qatar, please see the List of Doctors and Dentists in Qatar who have expressed interest in serving American citizen clients.

If your U.S. passport is lost or stolen, you will need to apply for a replacement at the U.S. Embassy in Doha before continuing your travel abroad or returning to the United States. For more information, please see the State Department’s Frequently Asked Questions or the U.S. Embassy in Doha’s passport instructions.

American citizens who need financial assistance should explore commercial options such as Western Union or other money wire services, credit card advances, or automatic teller machines (ATMs). In emergencies, the U.S. Embassy can help you contact family and friends to request that they send money. For more information, please see the Department of State's flyer on Emergency Financial Assistance for U.S. Citizens Abroad and its link to the Department's flyer, Sending Money to U.S. Citizens Overseas.

Please note that Consular Officers at the U.S. Embassy in Doha cannot act as travel agents, banks, lawyers, investigators, post offices, or law enforcement officers. They cannot find you employment, get you residence or driving permits, act as interpreters, search for missing luggage, or settle disputes with hotel managers. They can, however, tell you how to get help on these and other matters.

Americans traveling or living in Qatar are subject to the Qatari legal system and can be arrested for violating local law. The Department of State or the U.S. Embassy in Doha cannot have an American released from prison. However, U.S. Consular Officers can provide other types of assistance. For more information, please see the State Department's flyer on Assistance to Americans Arrested Abroad. If you seek an attorney in Qatar, please see the Embassy's list of lawyers who have expressed interest in representing American clients.

Despite the best preparation, crises like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or mass-transportation accidents can occur. For information on what you can do in a crisis and how the U.S. Government can assist you, please see the Department of State’s web page on Crisis Awareness.

Security Assessment:

The U.S. Government remains deeply concerned about the heightened threat of terrorist attacks against U.S. citizens and interests abroad. Any large-scale public events like the upcoming Asian Games, therefore, could be a target for terrorist acts or other forms of violence. U.S. citizens planning to attend Asian Games events or to participate in any large-scale public gatherings during the Asian Games are advised to use caution and to be alert to their surroundings at all times. As security increases in and around Asian Games venues, terrorists may shift their focus to more unprotected venues, open public spaces, hotels, transportation systems, houses of worship, restaurants, and other sites not associated with the Asian Games.

While there have been no specific, credible terrorist threats to the 2006 Asian Games, in the post-September 11th world, the threat from international terrorist groups at major public events is always a principal concern. This includes the periods immediately before and after these events. Al-Qaida's demonstrated capability to carry out sophisticated attacks against sizable structures – such as ships, large office buildings, embassies, and hotels – makes it one of the greatest potential threats to the Asian Games. Threats could also emanate from extremists who may not be directly controlled by al-Qaida.

On March 19, 2005, a suicide bomber detonated a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) at a theater in Doha regularly frequented by westerners; a citizen of the United Kingdom was killed, and several other individuals were injured. As may be the case with the additional security measures in effect for the Asian Games, increased security at official facilities may lead terrorists and their sympathizers to seek softer, less fortified targets. Other locations of potential concern include any venue where U.S. citizens and other foreigners are known to congregate in large numbers such as public assemblies, sporting events, restaurants, residential areas, clubs, places of worship, schools, hotels, etc. In most instances, the Embassy cannot gauge the appropriateness of security for a given event prior to its commencement. The Embassy strongly encourages American citizens to avoid large crowds and demonstrations whenever possible. While Qatari security and law enforcement services will deploy extraordinary measures to protect the Asian Games and in controlling demonstrations, even peaceful events can turn violent, and Americans are therefore advised to avoid any areas of public protest.

One way to make your foreign travel safer and more enjoyable is to inform yourself of what you will find when you arrive overseas. The Department of State publishes a Consular Information Sheet for Qatar that includes information on entry and exit requirements, safety and security (including the risk of terrorism), crime, medical facilities and health information, and criminal penalties, including drug penalties. Consular Information Sheets include information designed to help you make your own informed decisions about travel.

For additional information on safety/security in Qatar, please see the following:

Useful Contact Information:

U.S. Embassy in Doha 

  • Tel. from within Qatar: 488-4101
  • Tel. from the U.S.: 001-974-488-4101 
  • Consular inquiries: 488-4101 x.6086 during normal business hours, x.6600 after hours. 
  • Consular Section fax: 488-4176 
  •  Address: 22nd February Street, Al Luqta Area

Department of State's Office of Overseas Citizens Services 

  • Within U.S. and Canada: 1-888-407-4747 
  • From overseas: 001-202-501-4444

Department of State's National Passport Information Center 

  • Within the U.S.: 1-877-487-2778
  • TDD/TTY from within the U.S.: 1-888-874-7793
  • American citizens overseas should contact the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for information about passports.

    Emergency assistance for English-speaking visitors in Qatar: 
    • Police (while in Qatar): 999
    • Ambulance (while in Qatar): 999
    • Fire Department (while in Qatar): 999

Useful Links 

2006/986


Released on November 1, 2006

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