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Recently, Doha has switched from the old Doha International Airport to the new Hamad International airport. The new airport looks a huge improvement on the old one, which is good, but the switch does leave some confusion on what advice / information online still applies....

Qatar has quite strict rules on alcohol, which include tourists not being able to import it into the country, and tourists only being able to buy it at certain international hotels. (Tourists can't apply for or get an alcohol license, so can't follow the normal expat routes for buying it in shops)

On an upcoming trip, I'm spending a few days sightseeing in Doha during a stopover. However, I'd ideally like to buy some slightly unusual alcohol before the trip, to give as a present at my final destination. I'm quite happy with somehow leaving it at the airport to collect when I leave, but I don't want to have it thrown away!

Looking at the Doha wikivoyage page, we see:

Importing alcohol is not permitted – all bags are x-rayed upon arrival and any alcohol will be confiscated and held for you. With a claims receipt you can pick up your bottle again when you leave.

However, it isn't clear if that applies at the new Hamad International airport, nor how it works. Other pages online are similar, in both vague-ness and lack of clarity on old vs new airport behaviour

So, if I fly into Hamad International airport, with some alcohol in my checked suitcases, and I want to leave Doha with it (unopened!) a few days later, is that possible? And if so, how does it work with declaring it / handing it over / getting it back / getting it into your outgoing checked luggage?

(Due to liquid restrictions, I believe it'll have to be in checked luggage not hand luggage)

  • I assume buying for the duty free in Doha is not an option? – Nean Der Thal Oct 28 '14 at 2:36
  • Ideally I'd like to bring stuff with me that's not easily available beyond the region it's made in, so wouldn't be available in Doha duty free, if that's possible – Gagravarr Oct 28 '14 at 2:43
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    Apparently, the old airport offered a service to look after your alcohol for you before customs, with a claim on departure, I'm trying to find out if the new one does too or not. (I explicitly don't want to try to take it with me into Doha, I'm trying to see if I can leave the alcohol "air side" while I visit Qatar for a bit) – Gagravarr Oct 28 '14 at 2:46
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    That page says you're not allowed to bring alcohol into Qatar, which I'm already aware of. The old airport used to let you leave alcohol "before entering" Qatar, for collection "after leaving", which was a strange and unusual but helpful setup, with the booze staying inside the airport – Gagravarr Oct 28 '14 at 2:52
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    That page says you're not allowed to bring alcohol into Qatar, which I'm already aware of. The old airport used to let you leave alcohol "before entering" Qatar, for collection "after leaving", which was a strange and unusual but helpful setup, with the booze staying inside the airport – Gagravarr Oct 28 '14 at 3:03
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Hamad International Airport has:

As a transfer passenger you may carry alcoholic beverages in your baggage. However these must be packed in containers of less than 5 litres.

Please note if you intend to exit the airport and visit Qatar before continuing your journey, then alcoholic beverages cannot be brought into the country under any circumstances. These will be confiscated and you won’t be able to retrieve them at any time.

The airport website security page does say specifically that you may carry alcohol through the airport IF you are only transferring from one flight to another in Doha. It then warns you that you may not leave the airport terminal with alcohol.

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Doha's airport security and customs page is too specific for my liking. Excerpts from three different sections:

Your hand-baggage will be security screened for prohibited items before you can proceed to the baggage claim area. These will be confiscated and you won’t be able to retrieve them at any time.

• Weapons, firearms and ammunition

• Alcoholic beverages

Customs

• Select the Red Channel if you have “Something to declare”.

• Alcoholic beverages (cannot be imported under any condition)

Prohibited items

Please ensure that you’re not carrying any of the following prohibited items. These items will be confiscated, and you won’t be able to retrieve them at any time

• Weapons, firearms and ammunition

• Alcoholic beverages

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    That would seem to imply that the new airport doesn't support holding+claiming of alcohol for tourists on a layover like the old airport did, but ideally I'd like to find something that explicitly references that case either way to be sure! – Gagravarr Oct 28 '14 at 2:48
  • @Gagravarr check this link, it clearly says it is not allowed to bring it and it can not be retrieved. – Nean Der Thal Oct 28 '14 at 2:49

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