The e-gates at Hamad International Airport were originally a paid-for convenience for frequent travellers. Since 2016, however, all legal residents of Qatar can use them with their passport or Qatar ID. There’s no need for a separate application.
The e-gates operate based on the information stored in your Qatar ID. This includes your fingerprint and retinal scan. If your fingerprints or eye scans have not yet been stored, you can use a manned kiosk next to the e-gates to record that information. It only takes a few minutes, and then you can use e-gates for the duration of your time in Qatar.
Upon arrival in Immigration, veer to the left, where you’ll find the e-gates, which will read your Qatar ID or passport. A glass barrier will open, and you’ll be prompted to give your fingerprints or allow a retinal scan. Once confirmed, the second gate will open.
Queues have been growing longer, however, as not all users are familiar with the e-gate system, and instructions are only in English and Arabic. That said, e-gates are usually quicker than waiting in the main immigration hall queues.
We know you rarely travel outside without kids, but don’t forget that when travelling solo, you can breeze past those long immigration queues simply by whipping out your Qatar ID.
Doha Family Tips
- Technically, only adults from 18 years of age can use the e-gates. We’ve heard that the service has recently been extended to 16-year-olds with permission from a parent or guardian, but this is anecdotal. If you are travelling alone with a baby, they may allow you to go through the e-gate and have your baby stamped at the female-only line
- If the thought of standing in line with children at immigration stresses you out, try booking Al Maha (www.al-mahaservices.com) which escorts your family into a dedicated lounge, helps you clear immigration and collects your luggage
- If you need a record of your entry and exit, you can access them via Metrash2
- E-gate is valid for the duration of your residence in Qatar. There is no need to renew e-gate permissions. However, if you renew your passport, make sure to update your Qatar ID or else you may have trouble at the e-gate