The FIFA World Cup will kick off on 20 November in Qatar.
Around 260,000 Hayya fan ID cards have been issued to ticketholders, a top Qatari official revealed, weeks ahead of kick off at Al Bayt stadium.
The digital Hayya card, which the State of Qatar controls, will be the only gateway for any fans wishing to enter the country during the World Cup.
The number was revealed by Saeed Al Kuwari, Executive Director of the Hayya platform at the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, who spoke to CNBC Arabia TV this week.
In past statements, Al Kuwari said the Hayya card was issued as part of the country’s security strategy for the winter tournament.
The Hayya card will serve as an entry visa for international fans, including GCC nationals who purchased a match ticket and act as a required permit for those wishing to enter the World Cup stadiums.
Hayya cardholders will also be allowed to remain in Qatar until 23 Jan 2023 and can freely travel in and out of Qatar as they like.
After purchasing a FIFA match ticket, fans must apply for the required Hayya card, which serves as a ‘fan ID’ and entitles them to various benefits, such as free public transit and access to activities during the World Cup affair.
Al Kuwari said approval for a Hayya card takes five days for applicants from outside Qatar and three days for those who apply within the country.
“We have a complete team comprising about 80 people to ensure that the approval would be done on time. The given time of five days from outside and three days from Qatar is before the World Cup begins. During the tournament, however, the approval time will be made faster,” Al Kuwari said.
Hayya Card to be reviewed
According to a report by Qatar Tribune, Hayya cardholders may not be required to enter Qatar 12 days after the commencement of the World Cup.
Depending on Qatar’s condition at the time, the Hayaa Card case will be reviewed, the report said, citing Al Kuwari.
“After the first 12 days of the tournament, the entry procedures would be reviewed in line with the existing situation then. The Arab world’s first-ever FIFA World Cup is expected to bring more than 1.7 million people to Qatar in those months,” the official said.
FIFA has announced that 2.45 million tickets have already been sold for this year’s edition of the World Cup in Qatar. Around 500,000 seats are still available and will be sold to the public at the end of September for the final stage of match tickets.
The next phase is likely to gain interest from GCC nationalities, particularly Saudis, who are expected to come in large numbers to attend the first World Cup in the Middle East.