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Living as an Expat in Qatar

For an expat living in Doha, Qatar; life is an everyday mixture of Arab customs and modernity, declared the capital of Arab culture in 2010.
 
Life in Doha means living in a metropolis that is at the heart of the Arabian Gulf region, which is constantly growing and evolving.
 
The skyline of Doha, Qatar’s capital city is growing at a breakneck pace. Signs of its new wealth are evident everywhere one goes; from supercars on the roads to VIP shopping experiences in the many malls.
 
Qatar Business Visa and Residency Permit
All expats, except those from the GCC countries, are required to have visas and residence permits to reside in Qatar for work and business.
The Department of Immigration is responsible for issuing work permits, some business visas may be arranged by authorized local business counterparts.
 
Tourists and businessmen from Western countries and other nationalities can get a visa on arrival, which is valid for 30 days, at the Doha Airport.
 
QShield has created the first HR software cloud based technology Immigration platform in Qatar. It is completely tied into the Ministry of Interior back-end delivering accurate and timely information with real-time tracking status.
 
Qatar Exit Permit
When deciding to leave Qatar, all expat residents except for the spouse and children under the sponsorship of their family members are required to obtain a Qatar exit permit.
The sponsor is responsible for arranging the exit permit.
 
Applications for an exit permit can be made online, in person at the MOI Passports and Airport Security Department or at immigration offices.
 
Health care in Qatar
In order to receive medical treatment from clinics and hospitals, expat residents must obtain Qatar health cards. Cost is a nominal fee of QR 100 per person. Health cards must be shown on all clinic and hospital visits.
 
Cost of living
Although we aren’t able to provide a specific monthly expense for you and your family, we've looked at the average costs of things like flat and villa rental, car purchase, average school fees cost, utilities and clothes shopping and all the everyday things you are going to need living in Qatar.
 
We have taken the mid-price range to give you a rough idea of how much things cost in Qatar and what you are likely to be spending money on.
 
Below is a rough estimate of the cost of living in Qatar
 
Initial setup
 
Vehicle
Small Car (2013)      QAR 50,000
SUV (2013)               QAR 150,000
 
Household
Furniture for 3 bed  QAR 80,000
 
Monthly costs
 
Housing
Villa 3 Bed                  QAR 15-20,000
Apartment 3 Bed      QAR 10-16,000
 
Household
Groceries        QAR 2,000
Utilities           QAR 300
Internet          QAR 350
Mobile                        QAR 300
TV Package    QAR 350
 
Car
Petrol              QAR 2-400
Insurance       QAR 4-600 (Depends on the value of the vehicle)
 
Education
Nursery School          QAR 20,000 (Annum)
Primary School          QAR 25,000 (Annum)
Secondary School      QAR 45,000 (Annum)
 
Obviously a lot of this monthly budget will depend on your needs and what is included in your expat offer, such as housing and school fees.
If you chose to be careful with your money, you may be able to save a good percentage of your tax-free earnings whilst living in Qatar.
 
Where to live in Qatar
It's not easy finding a place in schools so you might want to stay in temporary accommodation until you have the schools sorted out and then find your place to live.
Rent prices in Qatar depend on the type of property and its location, and can be ridiculously high for expat accommodation.
 
Most expats in Qatar are based in Doha and choose to live in an area based on availability and its proximity to work or their children’s school.  Different areas of Doha will appeal to different tastes, but it has no ‘bad’ neighborhoods.
 
The Pearl
Man-made islands with high-end apartment buildings with luxury shops, restaurants Highly coveted area by high-income expats and Qataris alike.
 
West Bay/Dafna
Home to large, ostentatious villas line its two-lane main roads. Most foreign embassies and diplomatic staff have accommodation in West Bay, along with the City Centre Mall.
 
Mushereib
Situated in downtown Doha, ideally placed between the popular communities of Musheireb, and Al-Doha Al-Jadeeda lies Musherib Doha, the hotel district of the city. 
 
Al Waab/Al Sadd
Predominantly consists of modern family compound accommodations, very popular within the expat community in Qatar due to being close to the Villaggio mall.
Traffic is mainly related to school sessions; on the plus side Al Waab offers easy access to the main routes
 
Abu Hamour
Close and easy access to most schools makes this area popular for teachers, with a good mix of  apartments and free-standing villas.
 
Al Gharaffa
Popular among expats that work for government agencies, such as the Qatar Foundation or Qatar University, due to it’s proximity to Education City.
 
Lusail
Located just north of West Bay Lagoon, Lusail is the development project that embodies the Qatar National Vision 2030 for real estate development. With new Lusail Iconic Stadium choosen as for both the opening and final matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup .
 
Nightlife in Doha
There is a slow but steady increase of nightlife activity in Doha.
 
Most international hotels have a selection of bars and nightclubs, although the dining options still far outnumber the drinking ones. Gordon Ramsey has two restaurants in Doha and the Market at the W Hotel offers contemporary dining in the trendy surroundings of a downtown hotel.
 
The Jazz Club at the Oryx Rotana has one of the few live music venues around, and as can be expected, it gets very busy on weekends. Reservations are essential.
 
For a more traditional dining experience, expats can embrace the ‘café culture’ that made this region famous. Souk Waqif has an array of cafés and restaurants that offer a vast selection of regional cuisine, Arabic coffee and Sheesha.
 
Off the main drag there is a labyrinth of alleyways packed with stalls to get lost in. It is safe to say that practically anything can be stocked-up on here; from tourist gifts and sweets, to domestic pets and industrial kitchen equipment.
 
We at QShield can help you navigate through the various requirements and provide you with the assistance needed to close all the formalities on time. 
Qshield’s relocation specialists are ready to accompany you every step of the way, providing unrivalled professional relocation services
 
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