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Qatar upgrades land border to handle 4,000 football fans per hour

A sign directing visitors to the FIFA Fan Festival in Qatar. The World Cup begins on November 20 Reuters/Hamad I Mohammed
A sign directing visitors to the FIFA Fan Festival in Qatar. The World Cup begins on November 20

Qatar’s Ministry of Interior has announced how it will process the thousands of World Cup fans expected to cross the Abu Samra land border in the next two months.

The crossing between Qatar and Saudi Arabia has been upgraded and extra passport counters have been added, said the state-owned Qatar News Agency, citing a ministry spokesman. Abu Samra can now handle more than 4,000 people per hour.

From November 1 until December 23, Qatari residents with a QID can enter the country as normal at the crossing, as long as their vehicles have a Qatari numberplate.

Visiting football fans with their own private vehicles must have an entry permit from the Hayya portal. The permit is valid for one-time entry and users are barred from driving in certain areas.

Fans who have tickets to attend one match or more within 24 hours can enter and exit at Abu Samra with the Hayya one-day permit. A hotel booking is not required.    

Visitors travelling on buses will also need a Hayya permit. They should proceed to the arrival terminal to finalise their entry measures and get on Qatari buses.

Commercial trucks will only be allowed to use the Abu Samra crossing at night – 11pm until 6am – from November 1 to December 22.

Humanitarian cases that do not hold Hayya cards can enter Qatar through airports only and should submit applications through the ministry’s website, the news agency added.

World Cup fans will also be arriving by air and sea. All commercial flights will land at Hamad airport while charters and private jets will arrive at Doha airport. Cruise ships will dock at Hamad port.

The FIFA World Cup begins on November 20 with a match between the hosts and Ecuador at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor. The final will be on December 18 at the Lusail stadium in Doha.