Hundreds of fans stuck in limbo ahead of the World Cup as data error with visa application casts doubt over whether they will be allowed to travel to Qatar

Hundreds of football fans have been left in limbo ahead of the World Cup due to data error over their visa applications. 

Supporters must hold a Hayya card, a form of ID and fan pass, in order to gain entry to the state of Qatar for the tournament. 

But a huge number of applications are stuck in ‘pending’, with fans unsure whether the issue will be resolved in time for them to travel in time for the tournament’s start date of November 20.

Sportsmail has seen multiple WhatsApp groups including over 400 people who are all experiencing the same data error with their applications. 

A spokesperson from Qatar’s Supreme Committee insisted the process is ‘running smoothly’ and that the response time from application to approval is 72 hours, but this is not the case for many fans.

One anonymous England supporter, who spent a total of £2,630, including flights, tickets and accommodation, told Sportsmail: ‘The operator will tell me that there is a data error on the application, when I ask them why, they tell me that they are not sure as all of the information I have input correctly matches the information that is on my uploaded passport.

‘When I ask them if they can then approve [the application] they tell me that they are unable to approve and assure me that it is with the technical team. 

Supporters must hold a Hayya card, a form of ID and fan pass, in order to gain entry to Qatar

Supporters must hold a Hayya card, a form of ID and fan pass, in order to gain entry to Qatar

Qatar is readying itself for the FIFA World Cup that gets underway on November 20

Qatar is readying itself for the FIFA World Cup that gets underway on November 20

State-of-the-art stadiums could show empty seats if supporters can't get to Qatar in time

State-of-the-art stadiums could show empty seats if supporters can’t get to Qatar in time

The host country has been installing decorations and features throughout Doha recently

The host country has been installing decorations and features throughout Doha recently

‘I explain to them that I have had the same conversation every day for a month and ask how much longer it might take. They tell me they cannot say how long it will take but remind me that the technical team are apparently working on it.

‘When I ask what will happen if the issue is not corrected before I have to fly, they apologise but are again unable to give an answer. 

‘When I ask whether my accommodation will be refunded they tell me only if the application is formally rejected, but if the application remains as ‘data error’ it will not be refunded.

‘After watching England go so far in the 2018 World Cup I vowed that I would not miss the next one, now I have got everything and order and am left wondering at the final hurdle.’

Hundreds of supporters have all been given the same message, that they must ‘wait’ for the problem to be resolved. Sportsmail spoke to one of the operators at Hayya but the phone call, which lasted over 30 minutes, offered no solution to the on-going issue.

England boss Gareth Southgate could be under-supported in Qatar due to application issues

England boss Gareth Southgate could be under-supported in Qatar due to application issues

England will get their World Cup campaign underway against Iran on November 21

England will get their World Cup campaign underway against Iran on November 21

A spokesperson for the Supreme Committee in Qatar said: ‘The Hayya Card is a pre-approved entry permit to the country, ensuring fans have a smooth journey to the FIFA World Cup. 

All fans will need their Hayya Card to enter Qatar’s eight spectacular stadiums, as well as receiving access to free public transport throughout the duration of the tournament.

‘The Hayya application process is running smoothly with the vast majority of travelling fans having already received their approved Hayya cards. 

‘For the minority of cases that are in process, our service standard response time from application to approval is 72 hours.’

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