If you would like to rent your own property, apartments can be found online prior to your move, in local newspapers or by visiting a letting agent directly.
In order to rent accommodation, you will require your residence permit, Qatari ID card and a copy of a sponsor’s ID card (this is generally provided by your employer).
Prices vary from neighbourhood to neighbourhood with costs ranging from about 6,000 QR to 18,000 QR per month for a two-bedroom apartment or 10,000 QR to 30,000 QR for a five-bedroom villa. Some employers are able to provide accommodation and/or a housing allowance as part of a contract, so it is advisable to confirm this ahead of your move.
Expatriates are also able to obtain freehold ownership in certain areas of Qatar. The Pearl, West Bay Lagoo and Al Khor are all popular areas for purchasing property. In most cases, a deposit of 20 per cent of the asking price is required to secure any deal. Any remaining money must then be paid in instalments of five per cent.
Foreigners who purchase property in Qatar are immediately granted residency for the duration of ownership. This also extends to the owner’s immediate family.
- Electricity: 240v, 50Hz AC
- Plug type: D and G
Provided by the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (QEWC), domestic electricity and water supplies in Qatar are efficient and reliable. Both utilities are metered with residents receiving bills throughout the year based on usage. Gas is not generally used in Qatari homes.
Water is safe to drink straight from the tap, although many expatriates still prefer to purchase bottled water.
The vast majority of expatriates opt to send their children to private international schools. Following different curricula (American, British, Indian, etc.), these schools offer exceptional levels of education.
Presided over by the Ministry of Social Affairs, Qatar’s childcare industry is well-regulated with special attention paid to health and safety. Unfortunately, the price of care is not regulated, so it is advisable to compare prices from different providers.
Children typically attend nursery between the ages of four months and four years, although some facilities may take children up to the age of five. Most facilities offer an international education, generally in English.
Expatriate toddler groups are also very popular in Doha and run throughout the year. These are an excellent way for both parents and children to socialise.
The state is able to offer a high standard of service in public healthcare facilities, similar to that available in westernised cultures, and boasts a range of superb, high-tech facilities.
The country’s private facilities are of an exceptionally high standard and amongst the most cost-effective in the Gulf.
Homeschooling is also an option. Doha Home Educators (DHE) plays a vital role in improving the standard of education received by children whose learning opportunities are significantly enhanced through regular lessons, activities and events.
The Qatari school day typically runs from 7:30 to 14:00. The academic year starts in September and concludes in June. The term times run September - December, January - March and April - June. Summer holidays run throughout July and August.
Cost of Living
Basic ingredients for cooking are reasonably priced (a litre of milk, a kilogram of rice and a dozen eggs can be bought for less than 40 QR), while a three-course meal for two can be enjoyed for around 200 QR.
Carrefour Villaggio, Lulu Gharafa, Megamart Ain Khalid are amongst the most popular supermarkets in Qatar and are all fairly priced. Lulu Gharafa and Megamart Ain Khalid are highly recommended for purchasing imported goods.
Depending on your location, you may need to factor transportation costs into your budget. At around 1.90 QR a litre, petrol is very cheap, while travelling by bus is also economical as a city centre ticket costs just 5 QR. Taxis provide a convenient method of transportation too and charge just 2.50 QR per kilometre.
Domestic utilities can cost around 250 QR every month, although it is worth checking whether water and electricity charges are included in the cost of your accommodation. Accessing the internet can be slightly higher at 300 QR per month, and domestic help can be hired for an hourly rate of just 33 QR.
Mobile Phone Operators
Once you have moved to Qatar, remaining with your current mobile provider can prove costly. Instead, it is advisable to switch to a local SIM card to take advantage of premium plans. Qatari phone companies offer some of the best prepaid SIM deals in the Middle East, allowing you to save money on calls, texts and data.
Ooredoo and Vodafone are the two main telecoms operators in Qatar and both compete to offer customers the very best deals. Ooredoo is the most popular network and has the best coverage and speeds while Vodafone offers the best prices.
SIM cards can be purchased from official telecom stores, supermarkets, corner shops and service stations. Ooredoo even has a kiosk at Doha airport, allowing you to switch your SIM upon arrival. It is advisable to have your phone with you when making the switch, to be sure your device is compatible with your new SIM card. If there is a problem, a member of staff should be able to help.
Coverage is very good in more populated areas with 2G, 3G and 4G services available.
Top Mobile Phone Operators:
Internet access is available in most areas of Qatar and the country is able to boast some of the fastest speeds in the world. Ooredoo and Vodafone each offer attractive packages which vary in price depending on the services included (internet and landline connection, TV packages, etc.). Both prepaid packages and annual subscriptions are available.
Internet cafes can be found in larger towns and cities such as Doha. Connection rates vary but tend to be around 5 QR - 10 QR per hour.
The average download speed is 59.05 Mbps, while upload speeds come in at 16.06 Mbps.
Culture and Lifestyle
Dining, Tipping and Service
Typical Qatari ingredients include chicken, beef, lamb, camel and seafood, as well as dates, potatoes, rice, wheat and yoghurt. Traditional dishes include machboos (spiced rice cooked with a meat of your choice), thareed (similar to a pot stew and packed with meat and vegetables) and harees (a mix of cracked wheat and meat, usually resembling the consistency of porridge).
For food aficionados, Doha offers a plethora of world-class eateries that are certain to please any pallet. Whether you prefer traditional Middle Eastern delicacies or tempting treats from North America, the Mediterranean or the Orient, Doha’s bustling city streets are lined with outstanding restaurants serving delicious cuisine from around the globe.
When dining out, a service charge is often included in the bill, however, this is rarely passed on to the waiting staff. If this is the case, an additional tip of around ten per cent may be necessary in order to show your appreciation.
Qatar truly is a unique part of the world and has plenty to offer in terms of entertainment, from towering cityscapes to incredible rural retreats.
For history enthusiasts, the Doha Fort, known as Al Koot Fort, is a historical military fortress in the nation’s capital. Located in the midst of the famous Souq Waqif of Doha and the site of the old town, it was originally built in the 19th century and served as a police station before being converted into a museum.
Katara Cultural Village (often referred to as the Valley of Cultures), is a fascinating place to visit, especially for those interested in traditions, theatre, art and architecture.
Animal lovers may enjoy the delightful Doha zoo, one of the most exciting and family-friendly places to visit in the state. Situated about a 30-minute drive from the city centre, the zoo represents a miniature animal kingdom and offers a great opportunity to see traditional zoo animals and some of the region’s desert creatures.
City life is a huge part of modern Qatari culture and there are plenty of modern shopping malls to browse. Visiting the bustling metropolis of Doha also gives you the chance to view the incredible Barzan Towers that dwarf the neighbouring landscape and provide a wonderful place to gaze out across the glistening sea.
Sports and Culture
Sport is a huge part of Qatari life and is celebrated annually on ‘National Sport Day’. This nationwide event, occurring on the second Tuesday of February, celebrates sport and healthy living and offers people the chance to take part in a variety of activities including running, football and golf.
Sport is adored on a daily basis, too. Horse and camel racing have long been part of Qatari culture and are still well-observed in modern society. Camel racing events, in particular, are fascinating spectacles that offer a unique blend of colour, noise and excitement that keeps fans captivated throughout the winter season.
Qataris are also renowned for their participation in falconry, fishing and pearl diving, the latter being the country’s main source of revenue before the discovery of oil.
In terms of modern sports, football is by far the most popular. As the host nation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Qatari government has assembled an impressive array of facilities that have significantly improved the country’s sporting infrastructure, a move that has revolutionised the standard of football, as well as other sports, for generations to come.
The country is also able to boast an 18-hole championship standard golf course, as well as a 9-hole floodlit academy course, complete with putting greens and regular coaching sessions. Cricket, tennis, basketball and swimming are also very popular in the state.
Recreational drugs are banned, as are some prescription medications. Expatriates are advised to establish which medicines are permitted in Qatar prior to their move. The same applied to users of e-cigarettes.
New Year’s Day – 1 January
- National Sport Day – Tuesday of the second week in February
- March bank holiday – First Sunday in March
- Eid al-Fitr – 1-3 Shawwal*
- Eid al-Adha - 9-12 Dhul-Hijjah*
- Qatar National Day – 18 December
*Islamic holidays are determined according to moon sighting – holiday dates in the Gregorian calendar vary.
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