Qatar has said that its Hayya platform which it launched to manage visits to the country for the World Cup last year, has now been expanded to process all business and tourist visa applications.

Qatar Tourism said that with immediate effect, the Hayya platform will become the single portal to apply for tourist and business visas to Qatar.

It said that this will unify visa processes for tourists, GCC residents and companions traveling with GCC citizens (whom are issued an ‘Authorisation Electronic Travel’ permit).

Visa applications can be accessed through the portal, or through Hayya’s smartphone app too.

Hayya holders can make use of the e-gate entry facility at Hamad International Airport.

For those entering Qatar via land at the Abu Samra border, the Hayya platform provides a pre-registration option for faster entry for vehicles.

For GCC nationals, Hayya also has an option to apply for an entry permit for companions.

Apart from visa processing, the Hayya platform also provides further services to help visitors including maps, transportation options, offers and information about events.

“Qatar’s national tourism strategy seeks to welcome over six million visitors a year by 2030. Already, Qatar is considered the most open country in terms of visa facilitation in the Middle East and the eighth most open globally, with more than 95 nationalities granted visa on arrival,” said Akbar Al Baker, chairman of Qatar Tourism and Qatar Airways Group chief executive.

Qatar hosted over 1.4 million visitors from around the world who travelled to the country to watch the World Cup last year. Each of them had to make use of the Hayya portal to gain entry.