New residents and visitors can discover the country through this guide, which provides fundamental information about life in Qatar.
Qatar is the world's biggest exporter of liquefied natural gas. Its total land area is approximately 11,521 square kilometers with 563 km of uninterrupted coastline, extending northwards into the Arabian Gulf. The country’s total population as of March 2017 stands at 2.3 million, most of whom live in the capital city of Doha. In 2010, Qatar was awarded the right to host FIFA World Football Cup 2022.
Local time is GMT/UCT + 3 hours. There are no daylight savings adjustments.
Qatar has a desert climate with year-round sunshine, hot summers and mild winters. Mean monthly temperatures range from 17°C in January to 36°C in July, sometimes reaching highs of 40°C+ during the summer. Rain is infrequent, falling in brief showers mainly in winter.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday, with most offices closed on Friday and Saturday. Government offices working hours are from 07:00 to 14:00.
- National Sport Day: Second Tuesday in February.
- Eid Al Fitr: Varies with lunar calendar.
- Eid Al Adha: Varies with lunar calendar.
- Qatar National Day: December 18.
The monetary unit of Qatar is the riyal (abbreviated to QR or QAR). The exchange rate is fixed at US $1 = QR3.64. ATMs can be found in many locations, mall, markets, hospitals, government and touristic buildings. Most shops and restaurants accept major credit cards.
Visa and Immigration
The standard immigration procedure for obtaining a residence permit includes a medical check (blood test for HIV and TB and chest x-ray) and fingerprinting. Once medical results are published online, fingerprints must be taken by the Criminal Evidence and Investigation Department (CEID). It usually takes about 2-6 weeks to get an RP and applicants cannot leave Qatar before then. For more information, see the website of the Ministry of Interior.
Families can come to Qatar for a visit on a short-term Family Visit Visa that is valid for one month. This visa can be extended to a maximum of six months for immediate family members. Family members who wish to stay longer than one month have to undergo a medical examination within 72 hours of arriving in Qatar, while other relatives can extend their stay to a total of three months. For more information, see the website of the Ministry of Interior.
e-Government services (traffic, immigration etc.)
Schools in Qatar follow a wide spectrum of curricula such as American, British, French, German, Finnish, Indian, Lebanese and Egyptian. High demand among nationals and expat families can result in waiting lists for securing a school place. Most public schools have separate schools for boys and girls, whereas private and international schools are normally co-ed. The majority of schools use English as their medium of instruction.
- List of public schools (Ministry of Education And Higher Education)
- List of private schools (Ministry of Education And Higher Education)
Learning Arabic and other languages
- Translation and Interpreting Institute Language Center:
- Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center (Fanar)
Although transportation in Qatar largely depends on driving your own car, you are not short of other transportation options. There are a lot of public and private taxis brands down the street, and you can use commercial mobile apps to hire a limosine car that comes to your place anywhere in Qatar.
Driving and vehicle maintenance
Buying a Car
- Franchise car companies and dealers in Doha
- Qatar Sale
You can hire Mowasalat Karwa taxi service by contacting booking line: (+974) 4458 8888 or downloading their App for Android and iPhone mobile devices. You can also hire Mowasalat buses by contacting (+974) 44588869.
- Accessible Qatar: An App showing the public and touristic locations and outlets in Qatar that are accessible to people with physical disability and in what way.
Expats can choose between public and private healthcare. Qatar has many private and public facilities offering a full scope of medical services. A Health Card issued from Hamad Medical Corporation entitles to receive low cost treatment at well-equipped government health facilities, including the Cuban Hospital. More information about the Health Card can be found on the website of the Hamad Medical Corporation.
Major private hospitals include Al Ahli Hospital, Doha Clinic Hospital, American Hospital Doha, and Turkish Hospital Doha.
The Sidra Medical and Research Center offers outpatient clinical services for women and children, as referrals only by one of the primary health care centers. For more information on the available clinics and services, please visit Sidra website.
Tourism, Culture and Social Life
Doha Bus: Shuttle between the Museum of Islamic Art and Mathaf and Arab Museum of Modern Art
- Sunday to Wednesday from 11 am to 5 pm
- Friday 3 pm to 8 pm.
- QTips – Bite sized cultural Qatari tips:
- Sheikh Abdulla Bin Zaid Al Mahmoud Islamic Cultural Center:
Places to Visit in Qatar
- Museum of Islamic Art (Show Map)
- Souq Waqif (Show Map)
- Katara Cultural Village (Show Map)
- Fort Zubarah (Show map): "Outstanding Universal Value of Fort Zubara on UNESCO Website"
- Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani Museum
- Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art
- Fire Station Artists in Residence
- Al Riwaq Gallery
- Qatar Museums Gallery Katara
- Arab Postage Stamp Museum
- Souq Waqif Art Center
- Al Markhiya Gallery