Everything You Need to Know About Moving to Qatar

Qatar Skyline - Moving to Qatar - Everything you need to know!

Whether you move to Qatar for the beautiful desert coastline, endless undulating sand-dunes or tax-free salaries, you’ll be entering a very different community and culture. With this guide, your move to Qatar from the UK will be painless, stress-free and the best decision you’ve ever made.

Why Move to Qatar?

The Pearl – Qatar

Located on the north-eastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, and sharing a border with Saudi Arabia, Qatar is an economically powerful oil and gas state. The capital city of Doha is home to 2.4 million people (almost the entire population of Qatar) and will host many of the World Cup 2022 football matches. It’s known for its growing financial sector and rapid, multicultural expansion in recent years.

The currency used is the Qatari rial, and at 4.78 QAR to one pound sterling, the cost of local goods is low (more on the cost of living later on). If the country can complete many of the goals set in its National Vision 2030 project, then the continual modernisation, growth and social development will see Qatar become one of the leading nations in the Middle East.

Many expats are looking to live in Qatar for the high salaries, great career opportunities and exciting natural beauty all around. It’s also an exciting chance to see another part of the world and work with new people.

Visas and Entry

If you’re looking to move to Qatar from the UK as a British citizen, you’ll need a business visa. There are several time options for this type of visa, and it must be obtained before you enter the country. This process is typically facilitated by the company you plan to work for, and their sponsorship will be instrumental in making this possible. Many companies will offer services to arrange your visas and those of your family too.

Before the visa can be granted, it will be reviewed by the Ministry of Interior and could take several weeks or longer to be accepted. You’ll also need to apply for an Exit Visa before you can leave the country. Your employer will often take care of this too, but make sure to ask about the visa arrangements.

Climate and Lifestyle

Sand Dunes in the desert of Doha, Qatar - International Removals to Qatar from the UK
Doha, Qatar – Desert Sand Dunes

Qatar is very much a desert state, and the climate reflects this. Very mild winters dropping to around 18.5C in January are followed by hot summers climbing to a maximum of 43C in June and July. Rainfall is minimal, with many areas experiencing less than 100 millimetres every year. People often consider November to March to be the ideal time due to lower temperatures.

The Qatari lifestyle, especially for British expats working there, is concentrated on working and career development. Similar to Dubai, there are plenty of British expats in Doha (where the majority of the foreign workers live). More than 22,000 Britons call Qatar home, so there will be plenty of people to get to know.

The Souq Waqif area of Doha is always a favourite amongst expats, with colourful and energetic markets, beautiful Islamic architecture and exotic food. Weekends are often spent by the side of the pool in the bright sun or sat outside in cafes and restaurants.

Cost of Living in Qatar

Qatar Currency - Qatari Riyal
Qatari Riyal – Currency in Qatar

If you want to live in Qatar, expect house prices to be around 20 per cent lower than in London. An average restaurant for two people should cost approximately £40 and a one-bedroom apartment outside of the city costs about £750 per month. Getting around the city and country is cheap, with average monthly public transportation costs not much more than £30. Qatar is a dream for car enthusiasts too, as the significantly lower price of both vehicles and fuel are much-loved features of many Middle-Eastern nations.

Goods like wine, beer and coffee are more expensive than the UK (as not many Qataris enjoy these). However, bottled water, cigarettes, school costs and house prices are all quite a lot lower than the UK. 

Where to Live

Skyscrapers in Doha, Qatar

The principle residential destination is the capital city, Doha. The Al Sadd district is inhabited by a lot of expat couples, and with plenty of bars and restaurants close by, this is one of the best areas for a thriving social life.

Al Waab is the best area for families with children, as the quieter lifestyle and proximity to shopping and entertainment is ideal. There are new buildings being constructed constantly, and many are next to green parks and international schools.

Abu Hamour provides a mix for those seeking convenience and safety as well as fun and energy. The area is right next to several of the larger international schools, making it great for families. It also has open-air markets to wander through and the huge Safari Mall nearby too.

For the most sought-after area, head to the West Bay zone, where luxurious high-rise apartments and private villas are all you’ll find. This is one of the most expensive neighbourhoods in Doha, and also houses many of the most prestigious hotels too.

Health and Education

SEK International School, Qatar

The national language in Qatar is Arabic, with English as an unofficial second language. Learning Arabic won’t be necessary to get by, but will help hugely in assimilating with local people and getting to know the country and culture more.

There’s a wide range of schooling options for children, with more than 65 international schools instructing in English in Doha city alone. This means there are also plenty of teaching roles for those with the right background, experience and qualifications.

Healthcare standards in Qatar are high, with national health insurance providing cheap care for many citizens. Although the quality of care is good, waiting times are often quite long. Most expats receive private health insurance from their employer, or purchase it themselves.

What Can You Do For Fun?

The National Museum of Qatar - Things to do when moving to Qatar
The National Museum of Qatar

A weekend with friends in Qatar is likely to mean a few relaxed days in the sun by the pool, but if you’re feeling more adventurous, then there’s still a lot of options out there.

Getting out into the sand-dunes in a big four-wheel-drive vehicle is often high on the list of excited expats. Getting the chance to head out into the desert is a unique experience and combining it with a stay in an overnight desert camp with the stars for company, can be spectacular. The low cost of living in Qatar means more disposable income for adventurous trips like this.

For the history aficionados, there’s no shortage of museums and architecture. The Museum of Islamic Art and Katara Cultural Village are great ways to understand more about the local Islamic traditions and ways of life.

If you’re interested in international removals to Qatar, you’re sure to enjoy incredible weather, high salaries and a thriving expat community, ready to welcome you and show you around. Shipping all your belongings to your new home in your new country will be the last thing you want to deal with during a big international move.

Let 1st Move International take care of it for you, making your big change easy and straightforward. Get in touch now!

About 1st Move International

1st Move International are a specialist international moving and shipping company offering packing, shipping and insurance for shipping household goods and personal effects overseas. We have a global reach covering over 80 countries and 6500 worldwide destinations. You can get an international removals quote here or find more information on our international moving services here.

Avatar for Mike Harvey
As the Managing Director of 1st Move International, Mike Harvey brings more than two decades of logistics expertise and three years of specialised experience in international relocations to his role. His comprehensive knowledge spans the intricacies of overseas shipping, secondary yet crucial areas such as visa application processes and immigration requirements, and the wider topic of moving abroad including topics such as comparative analyses of cost of living, healthcare and educational systems worldwide. This expertise allows 1st Move International to equip people with the information they need to not just move overseas, but to make informed decisions about whether, and where, to relocate.