Guide for Living in Qatar

Having decided to move to Qatar, the next step is to plan for this stage. You need to know what documents you will need, what to expect in the first few days and weeks, how to find a place to live and much more. Below are some of the topics you will need to take into consideration and which are covered in detail here at Hukoomi.

Find a Suitable Place to Live

Qatar may be very different from your home country, which means there is a great deal to learn and discover before you arrive. In addition to Hukoomi, there are a number of useful websites that will give you a better idea of what it is like to live in Qatar.

Qatar offers a wide choice of accommodation, from studio apartments to grand villas with 10 or more bedrooms. In Doha, space is a premium and rents could be considered on the pricey side. However, as with any city in the world, you will find more affordable options in certain areas of town if you do your research.

Bear in mind that, Doha is a relatively small city, yet the roads do get busy during peak times, so a priority when looking for accommodation is proximity to your workplace and, if you have a child, schools.

Plan your finances

Make sure to plan your finances and ensure that you have budgeted for accommodation, transport and basic needs. You may also need to budget for electricity and water connection (provided by Kahramaa, the national utility provider), internet and telephone service (Vodafone or Ooredoo).
Many banks in Qatar now offer special deals. For further details, walk into a branch and ask what the bank offers to new arrivals.

Find a school place for your child

Finding a school place for your child is one of the biggest challenges for most people moving to Qatar. The key is to apply to as many schools as you can before your family arrives and persevere with your search. Places do become available as people come and go all the time and more schools are opening every year to meet demand. You may also consider switching schools when a place at your preferred school becomes available. Some parents arrange for their child to be schooled at home until a place becomes available. Here’s a list of schools.

All schools in Qatar operate under the direction and guidance of the Supreme Education Council (SEC). The SEC’s primary role is to enhance the standard of education in Qatar with the aim of meeting the needs of the country in human resources and competencies with respect to the different sectors. Schools in Qatar are divided into categories; independent schools, ‘Arabic Private Qatar Curricula’ schools, ‘international curriculum’ schools, ‘Community related to Embassy’ schools, ‘evening’ and ‘home’ schools. There are also higher education institutes.

While most public schools separate between boys and girls from the primary stage, private and international schools are largely co-educational. The majority of schools use English as their language of instruction although this may not be the case for some community schools.

Check the type of curriculum of each school as this can vary. More information on nurseries, pre-schools, general schooling and further education can be found under Education and Research on Hukoomi as well as on the websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) and Qatar Foundation (QF).

Get around

Qatar Rail is investing in a new metro network that will be rolled out in phases. The Doha Metro is an integral part of the Qatar Rail Development Program (QRDP). Consisting of four lines, the Metro network will cover the Greater Doha area and will include connections to town centers and vital commercial and residential areas throughout the city.

Moreover, there are local and international car hire companies offering a choice of vehicle, from zippy city cars to large 4x4s. Check out the documents you will need to drive in Qatar.
Karwa is a taxi service operated by national transport company Mowasalat. Its vehicles can be recognized by their light blue livery. Taxis can be hailed on the street or there are taxi ranks at the airport, malls and main attractions around the city. To book in advance call Karwa’s 24-hour Call Centre on (+974) 4458 8888.

Taxi fares around Doha start at QR4 (US$1.09) then QR1.20 (US$0.32) per kilometre inside Doha and QR1.80 (US$0.49) outside Doha.
A taxi from the airport, available outside the arrival terminal, costs a little more; the meter starts at QR25 (US$7) then QR1.20 (US$0.32) per kilometre inside Doha and QR 1.80 (US$0.49) outside Doha.
Mowasalat provides a bus network that covers Doha and is an affordable way of getting around the city.

Sign up for healthcare

Every resident of Qatar is eligible for the National Health Service provided by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and the health care centres that offer subsidized health services. It is essential to have the Health Card issued in the country to enjoy the health services.

People living in Qatar may obtain health insurance if they choose to seek medical services outside of government-run facilities. High-quality private clinics and facilities are abundant in the country. Many companies provide their employees with insurance.

The social health insurance scheme “Seha” in the State of Qatar provides universal health insurance for all people in the country, offers members a choice of providers from across the public and private sectors. It forms a key part of the realization of the National Health Strategy and the overall Qatar National Vision.

For more information on health, health cards, health care in addition to a list of hospitals and medical centers, please visit the Health Care and Well-Being section on Hukoomi.