Qatar’s new license plates

This isn’t really a topic that’s of super importance. It’s not like there aren’t better things to talk about, but I just wanted to share my views on the new license plates.

The reason we’re told that the plates have changed is because of an agreement that the GCC had to unify the look of the plates. Sadly, I don’t really see that because the only thing that’s similar is that they’re now in English. The overall design varies greatly from GCC country to country.

Now let’s get the first thing out of the way. Yes I know that the number system that the west uses is actually Arabic and that us Arabs decided to shift over to using Hindi numerals. I still don’t understand why we did that, but that’s the way it goes. You could argue that shifting over our license plate numbers back to the original numbering system is our way of claiming back what’s rightfully ours in a passive agressive sort of way, but trust me, you’d be thinking too much.

Back to the topic, here’s a quick image of how the licnese plates in Qatar have evolved. Check out for more.

In 1983, the license plates were actually quite similar to the ones in Bahrain.

Then we changed them in 1997 to what we all became accustomed to. It was quite special because the plate looked organized and used Arabic (Hindi) numbers.

On our facebook page ( we asked “Which GCC country do you think has the best looking car license plates?” to our 18,000+ page on Nov 9. We actually didn’t know the plates were going to change. What a coincidence! It was a 50-50 split between people voting for Qatar and UAE. Click here to see a dubai plate

Qatar then changed the new plates to look like this:

It kind of makes me feel uncomfortable… It’s like an inverted Qatari flag, the numbers are not centered, there’s a tiny hologram on the side (why… were people making fake plates or something?), and ‘Qatar’ is written in two styles.

I feel like it’s not organized anymore. It’s also sad that we don’t have the Arabic (hindi) numerals, it was a way of possibly educating a predominantly expat population. It probably wasn’t that easy to put together a design (perhaps one of the readers can show us how it’s done ), but I feel like UAE’s one now look’s much nicer 🙁

What do you guys think of the new plates?


  • Ramy

    I don’t like the new ones to be honest, I think the ‘old’ ones are much simpler and I love the fact that the Arabic numbers are given much more attention on them.

  • Chizz

    I like the new plates, but they could have kept the Arabic numbers, with smaller numbers in English underneath as before…like the injection of colour on the side..the plates were too boring before!

  • Khalid Al-Jaber

    i think all GCC countries are following the same standard with different designs.  

  • Greetrosiers

    I actually learned the Hindi numbers by looking at the license plates… It’s a pitty indeed, I like the ‘old’ license plates better

  • AC Santiago

    Better with big bold numbers easy to identify unlike the old one.

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  • Emily

    The inverted Qatari flag gave me pause as well (I don’t know what it’s like here, but in the US, having the flag backwards is disrespectful), and the Arabic (Hindi) numbers were/are my way of learning/remembering them! 

  • Smoke

    My thoughts exactly when i first saw it…did they seriously not see the flag inverted? How does that show its a “Qatar” flag? Overall its must better to look at, clean clutter free and big numbers you can see from a distance. i think they need to redo the flag part…and also remove that logo as well…LOL ok that was a joke 😛

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  • Rks

    it sucks
    da prvious plates wer beter

  • D.

    Finally they change the numbersand not anymore in arabic. Now will be easier to identify the persons involved in accidents who run away.

  • Tattoo691

    I just think it is hog tht plates has to be changed to fall in line with other countries, already the identity crises runs deep here in Qatar be unique and stand out, stop doing the copy thing….and to dis ur flag that way surely is not on….

  • Roxanne

    I like the new ones!

  • Sindhu

    I liked the new ones. It is much easier to get the numbers in accidents etc.

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  • dmightysolomon

    the new plate is more visible and readable.  So in cases of accident, it’s much easier to read.  That is I think the primary purpose

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  • Michael

    The new style number plates are designed to be read by the NRS, which I assume will be part of the governments plan to track and identify vehicles electronically – this can be used to find stolen vehicles, check registration status and track the movement of vehicles around the country – Big Brother is tracking you – beware

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    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.