Official advice for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas

  • Reviewed: 9 January 2020, 16:40 NZDT
  • Still current at: 24 February 2020

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Exercise increased caution

Exercise increased caution in Qatar due to the threat of terrorism.

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On 3 January 2020, an Iranian military commander and Iraqi paramilitary leaders were killed in a U.S. airstrike near Baghdad International Airport.

The security situation in the Middle East region is unpredictable and may become increasingly volatile.

Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates have suspended all flights to and from Qatar from 6 June 2017 until further notice. Qatar has also suspended all flights to and from these destinations. New Zealanders travelling between Qatar and Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, or from New Zealand via Qatar to these destinations, are advised to contact their airline or travel agent to see if their bookings are affected and make alternative travel arrangements to reach their destination if necessary.

Normal entry requirements continue to apply for New Zealand passport holders for transit and entry to the United Arab Emirates, regardless of whether you also hold a Qatari residency. 

Terrorists have, and continue to threaten to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, as well as places of worship, military, oil, transport and aviation interests. 

New Zealanders in Qatar are advised to maintain a high level of personal security awareness, particularly in public and commercial areas known to be frequented by foreigners. 

Civil unrest
New Zealanders in Qatar are advised to avoid any protests and demonstrations, as even those intended as peaceful have the potential to turn violent. 

Local travel and maritime safety
Travellers entering the Gulf area by sea should be aware that many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf. Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected. Mariners are advised to make thorough enquiries with local authorities before entering these waters or visiting  ports. 

General travel advice
It is recommended that New Zealanders travelling to Qatar familiarise themselves with local laws and customs. There are serious penalties for acts that may not be illegal or inappropriate in New Zealand.

New Zealanders are advised to respect religious and social traditions in Qatar to avoid offending local sensitivities. Modesty and discretion should be exercised in both dress and behaviour, particularly in relation to personal conduct and sex and relationships.

Female visitors are advised to take extra care when travelling alone, especially at night. Men have been known to occasionally verbally and physically harass women on their own.

Obscene language or gestures, defamation, behaviour that disrespects the Government, local culture or Islam, and alcohol-related offences may result in complaints and charges being laid by local authorities. This includes offence caused via online mediums, and taking photos of people without their permission.  

New Zealanders travelling or living in Qatar should have a comprehensive travel insurance policy in place that includes provision for medical evacuation by air. 

New Zealanders in Qatar are encouraged to register their details with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Travel tips

The New Zealand Embassy Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates is accredited to Qatar

Street Address Suite 2503, International Tower, Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE Postal Address PO Box 62292, Abu Dhabi Telephone +971 2 496-3333 Fax +971-2-496-3300 Email Web Site Hours Sun - Thu 0830-1600 Notarial Services: Mon and Wed 0900-1200 hrs, and Thu 1330-1530 (by appointment only) Note Facebook: @nzembassyuae Twitter: @nzinuae

See our regional advice for the Middle East

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Accredited New Zealand Embassy United Arab Emirates

Street Address
Suite 2503, International Tower, Capital Centre, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Telephone: +971 2 496-3333

Fax: +971-2-496-3300



Hours: Sun - Thu 0830-1600 Notarial Services: Mon and Wed 0900-1200 hrs, and Thu 1330-1530 (by appointment only)

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