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).
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.
Morning everyone. It has only been a day, and I already have to digress from our “schedule”. “Shopping Saturday” will have to wait a while. I have been inundated with questions regarding the “how to get an RP post”. Here are some of the FAQs.
Anybody else want to share their experience, you are welcome to. Also, post your questions so that someone who has already been through the drill can answer them.
- Is there an official site where I can get all the information regarding the matter?
We did try finding one. There is no checklist/ documents required put up anywhere online. We asked around and kind of made up our own list. I am guessing it would differ slightly depending on your nationality as well.For the forms and other details go here http://www.moi.gov.qa/site/english/channel/Residents/index.html
- How do I get my documents attested?
Here I can only answer for my Indian friends.We used an “attestation service”. Not really sure how to do it otherwise. We needed seals from the MEA (ministry of external affairs), notary and the Qatar Embassy.The fee varies depending on the number of certificates. Also, if it’s an educational certificate (a degree certificate for example), it has to be attested by the HRD ministry as well. The service we used was quick and professional.We submitted the certificates with our passport copies and paid the fee at one of their offices in India. We were given a login ID and password to their site. We could track the progress of our documents. The whole process took less than 5 days.This is the company we used. They have branches in several Indian cities, the middle- east and even Australia I’m told.
- Did you submit the originals?
No. The letters form the company and the sponsor NOC were in original. Everything else (including the rental contract) were colour copies.
- Did you submit your water and electricity (KAHRAMA) bill with the rental contract?
Yes, we did.
- Did you fill the form in English or Arabic?
We filled it in Arabic. You can take it any of the typing/ translation centers here and get it filled for a nominal fee.
- Do you have to pay a fee during submission?
- How do you check the progress/status of your application?
The visa status can be checked online-
- What do I need to carry to the medical commission? Timings?
Just your passport and printed copy of visa. But we always kept copies of the sponsor’s (your spouse) passport and his Qatar ID on hand, just in case. Also, you need to carry a debit card to pay the 100 QAR fee. Last I checked, they don’t accept cash.Medical commission timings- 7 am to 7 pm. (Ramadan working hours may differ)
- Medical commission test results? How do I know it is over?
You would have given your mobile number at the medical commission. They will intimate you via sms. Also, you can check you status online.
- What next?
Once you clear your medical, there is another form for you to fill out. Can be downloaded from the MOI website. You will also need 3 passport size photographs (please check the form for specifications for photo background)
- Where do I need to go for the fingerprinting and RP stamping?
Here is a list of service centers-http://www.moi.gov.qa/site/english/channel/ServiceCentre.html
We went to the one at Musaimeer. They work till 7 pm. Things move pretty quickly at the women’s counters. Carry your spouse’s Qatar ID with you.
- RP fee?
Depends on how many years you want it for- one, two or three. We chose three (980 QAR). We paid the same amount for our daughter after she was born.
Any other questions? Comment below….
KIndly note– I do not claim to be an expert or an official spokesperson. All this information is to the best of my knowledge. Rules change everyday. So, please do cross-check. This is how we did things. I remember being frustrated because we could find any information online. That is the only reason I am doing this- to help fellow expats.
Until next time…