International Moving to Doha

Moving to Qatar

In Moving Guides by Steven Kane

We are pleased to provide you with our guide on moving to Qatar from Dubai, UAE. Please make note of the special links at the foot of this page.

Capital City: Doha
Population: 2.45 Million
Official Language(s): Arabic
Currency: Qatari Riyal (QAR)
Time: GMT +3
Internet domain: .qa
International dialing code: +974


Qatar was the center of the pearl industry for many centuries due to its strategic position on the Persian Gulf. Following various rulers including Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Ottoman and eventually became a British protectorate in 1916, following world war 1.

In the 1950’s oil began to overtake fishing and pearling as the main revenue source. By 1971 Qatar declared its independence and is today a constitutional monarchy ruled by the Al Thani family.

Qatar is made up of 7 municipalities subdivided into 98 zones. It is a mostly flat, sandy peninsula covering 11,699 square km.

Oil and gas has transformed the country in recent decades and with 15% of the worlds national gas and 15 billion barrels of oil reserves, Qatar is one of the richest per capita countries on earth. Unemployment is less than 1% and no-one lives below the pverty line. The population has quadrupled since 2001 however, Qatari nationals make up only 15% of the population.

Expats in Qatar

Most expats will find themselves based in the capital city of Doha. Qatar is a Muslim country and although less strict than Saudi Arabia, sharia law shapes much of the legal system and new arrival should be respectful and observant of rules and regulations.

Whilst the official language is Arabic, English is widely spoken and broadly understood. However, it is wise to learn a little Arabic; greetings and phrases can be very useful and are certainly appreciated by the locals.

Getting around is mainly by taxi or car. The transport system is improving but has definitely not kept pace with the development of the country and can be lacking especially during the hotter summer months.

The climate in Qatar can be extreme. From April each year the temperature rises to very high levels making it almost unbearable and many people especially spouses and children leave the country between June and August. Winters are very pleasant with much lower temperatures and bearable humidity levels.

Qatar is generally a very safe country in which to live. Provided you observe the Islamic and traditional customs your life should be relatively calm and pleasant.

Most expats live in apartment buildings of houses/villas which make up gated communities. Many of these have good facilities such as play areas, swimming pools, squash courts etc.

Cost of living (Doha)

A meal at the standard restaurant is likely to cost roughly QAR30-40 per person with a beer priced around QAR40 and soft drinks around QAR2 per can.  A reasonable bottle of wine costs approximately QAR70 and a coffee typically sets you back around QAR16

At the local supermarkets a loaf of bread is priced around QAR5, a litre of milk approximately QAR7 and a dozen eggs roughly QAR11

Public transport in Doha is not great and most people use cars or taxis. Taxis start around is QAR15 and then around QAR2 per kilometre thereafter. Petrol is around QAR1.20 per litre.

Accommodation is expensive. A typical 1-2 bedroom apartment in a prestigious area of the city would be approximately QAR10,000 per month. Less desirable buildings or areas would reduce monthly rent to around QAR6,000

Basic utilities for an average two-bedroom apartment will be around QAR400.  Prepaid mobile phone charges are approximately QAR1 per minute and broadband internet is roughly QAR300 per month.


The school year runs from September to June. Education is compulsory and generally starts around the age of 5 or 6 through to 17. Pre-school and kindergarten is widely available and very common.

The general standard of education is very good. There are public schools (all Qatari citizens are entitled to a free education), but it is most likely expat children will attend an international/private school. There are a growing number of institutes in Qatar, which offer either an American or a British curriculum.

Enrolment needs to be well planned since waiting lists for many schools can be long. Assuming you can find a place at a school, it is wise to co-ordinate this with your home search as the morning rush hour can make school runs very challenging.

The cost of education is substantial. Many schools charge in excess of QAR 70,000 per year. Along with rent this is a major cost component. Most employers will cover or at least subsidise. Non-refundable deposits are normal.

Moving Documents

When moving to Qatar from Dubai, importing Household Goods and Personal Effects, you require

  • Copy of passport (incl. entry stamp)
  • Letter of employment (no objection certificate)
  • Permanent residence permit / Work permit
  • Detailed Packing list in English
  • Bill of lading / AWB

Note: This document is provided as a guide for people moving to Qatar from Dubai, UAE and for information purposes only. Customs regulations can and do change at any time, usually without notice. Your mover will provide you with more information.