My name is Joe, Irish, living in Newcastle UK. I might be starting a job in Qatar by the end of the summer. I have four weeks in the summer holidays before I need to be in Qatar (guess what my job is!).
I'm in a fix over what to do with my car and then the adventure tickle in me itched ... could I drive. Obviously there'd be a couple of thousand miles driving but is it feasible? How easy/difficult will it be to get across borders, get visas, breakdown assistance if needed, etc etc.
If I do make it there, Am I allowed to own a car registered in a different country? Will I be able to insure it, etc. This may sound silly - but is diesel in the middle east the same as diesel in the british isles?
I'd be extraordinarily grateful if any of you can throw some light or logic on this.
Hi Joe, sounds like an ambitious endeavor. The first thing you will need to learn, before even considering the journey, is what the import tax/duty on vehicles is in Qatar. Usually when you drive cross-continental, you get a Carnet de Passages, basically a passport for your car. The reason behind this is so that you don't sell the car along the way. Many countries have heavy duties on vehicles, which is why most people will buy the car when they arrive. There are also penalties for abandoning the car as well in some places. Since you are moving to Qatar, my guess is that it won't be possible to avoid the import duty. As for the route, you would be able to get across europe and down through Jordan quite easily, however, it might be difficult to obtain a visa to cross Saudi Arabia. You would have to contact the Saudi Embassy to find out. Good luck with your planning.
I have to say it does sound very ambitious indeed, but could be fun if you pull it off.
Another thing that you will have to consider is the terrain you will be crossing and how it will affect your car (what is it by the way??).
Where will you be working...Doha? Like most places in the middle East, the larger cities tend to be sounded by miles upon miles of dessert and you would therefore require modifications to be made to the car to deal with the sand, hills and roaming camels etc.
You might also have problems crossing boarders from Saudi etc. I'm guessing you are of a 'white' ethnicity being from Newcastle'man, so can imagine you might get a few shady looks driving across the dessert in your little ford. and will be subject to many searches.....
I've never tried anything like that, so good luck.
It would also make for a great TV program; maybe see if Ewan McGregor wants to get involved.
[ Edit: Edited on 17-Feb-2009, at 21:46 by jadeverell ]