Saudi to Qatar by road | Gear up for AFC Asian Cup 2023

Saudi to Qatar by road | Gear up for AFC Asian Cup 2023

Over the next month, 24 football teams will compete in Asia’s biggest sporting event hosted in Qatar! The 2023 AFC Asian Cup matches will begin on Friday, 12 January 2024, and end on Saturday, 10 February 2024. For anyone thinking about driving to catch an Asian Cup game (or visit a tourist), we’ve compiled a step-by-step guide with all the travel information you need to travel hassle-free to Qatar by road!

It is easy to drive from Saudi Arabia to Doha and get back, all on the same day. Just make sure to get your car insurance and visa for Qatar entry online to ditch the queues – It’s quick, convenient, and saves you a ton of time at the border.

Saudi Arabia to Qatar by road — Entry & Travel requirements

Border Crossing RequirementNotes
For Saudi Nationals National ID/ Passport with +3 months validity
For Saudi ExpatsPassport with 6 months validity

Copy of Exit re-entry visa for Saudi Expats Original Iqamah of the Sponsor if you’re a Saudi Visitor
you can easily get 🔗Hayya e-visa with simpler approvals and less paperwork online.
Vehicle DocumentsIsthimarahif you’re driving a leased car (or a car not registered under your name), get a letter of authorization from 🔗Absher.
Qatar car insuranceMandatory Third-party liability insurancebuy it online from (🔗Qubinsurance) to avoid border delays.
Qatar Entry Requirements at a Glance

What to expect — the drive

Drivers can enter Qatar through the Abu Samra crossing located on Salwa Road. The drive from Khobar to Doha is roughly around 388 km and will take an average of 4 to 5 hours. Shortcut Alert! Take the newly opened Al Uqayr-Salwa (coastal route) to cut down nearly 100 kilometers and an hour from your trip! 
From Riyadh to Doha, the trip is only approximately 581 km and can be completed in less than 7 hours.

Traveling to Qatar by road cost breakdown— Khobar to Doha

ExpenseSAR/ QARNotes
Fuel130A full tank should be enough for a one-way road trip from Khobar to Doha
Visa on arrival / Hayya eVisa100Indians & Pakistanis are eligible for visa-free entry
Exit Re-entry Visa (Saudi Residents)200Per person; applies to Saudi residents only
Compulsory Third-Party Car Insurance145Mandatory to gain entry to Qatar

Just a heads-up: travel costs can change depending on where you’re starting your road trip and your group size.

Crossing Abu Samra border

At the Saudi Side of the Border – Salwa Port

  • Drive to 📍 Salwa Port
  • Checkpoint 1 – Saudi Customs will be your first stop. Hand over your Istimara at the window, and you’ll get a small paper listing of your car details and passengers. Hold onto this, you’ll need it until you cross to the Qatari side.
  • Checkpoint 2 – Saudi Jawazaat (Passports). In the next cabin, show your passports and the manifest (that’s the paper you got from the previous cabin). Be ready to show your Iqamah and maybe give your fingerprints. The officers will say farewell with a passport stamp.
  • Checkpoint 3 – Saudi Security Inspection. Next, customs and security officers will inspect your luggage and the car. All clear? Drive towards Qatar!

 At the Qatari Side of the border – Abu Samra

  • Drive to 📍 Abu Samra border crossing station
  • Checkpoint 1 – To gain entry into Qatar, All Adults above 6 years need to have their fingerprints and other biometrics done. They usually do it from the car, but at peak season, you may need to park your car and head to another separate building to have your face scanned at immigration in Qatar.
  • Checkpoint 2 – Present all your travel documents: passports, car manifest (from the Saudi side), and e-visa (if applicable) for verification. The officers will check if everything is in order and perform a light security inspection. Don’t worry formalities are quick.
  • Checkpoint 4– Insurance. Ditch the lines and get your car insurance online in advance on 🔗 qubinsurance. To gain entry to Qatar, you must buy Third-Party car insurance to cover your stay. One-day insurance starts from SAR/QAR 120, and you can pay conveniently with cash or credit card.
  • Checkpoint 4 – Security Check. Show your stamped passports and online insurance confirmation. After a final security check, you’re officially in Qatar! From Abu Samra border, it’s a smooth 1.5-hour drive (around 95km) to Doha.

Dos & Don’ts: travelling to Qatar by road


  • Get car insurance online before you arrive to avoid queues at Abu Samra border.
  • Plan fuel stops every 3 hours & take short walks to stay energized.
  • Check tire condition and check pressure before you hit the road.
  • Use cruise control to avoid overspeeding and potential fines.
  • Download the stadium maps to plan your journey.


  • Drive at night as there are no street lights and the sand moves into the road turning 2 lanes into 1.5 that you share with trucks
  • Drive a leased car without external authorization
  • Take the shortcut — yes, this might sound counterintuitive! But if your car isn’t in tip-top shape or you prefer a worry-free trip, you’ll be better off! The road is still super new, all it offers is one side sea and one desert view. So, there are no gas stations, cell service, or roadside assistance. It’s a place you don’t want your car to breakdown!
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