Regulations for Buying a Property

Find out the rules for and restrictions on foreigners buying a villa, apartment or commercial property in Qatar...

Regulation was introduced in 2004 to allow foreigners to buy property in a number of large-scale developments, but it is only since 2009, as these projects have been finished, that the first formal transactions with non-Qataris have been completed.

The three main freehold developments are Pearl Qatar, West Bay Lagoon and Al Khor Resort Project, although others are likely to follow. The developments include apartment blocks, commercial properties and villas. The developer of a particular property can advise initially whether it is legal for foreigners to purchase a unit, but this should also be verified with Doha Municipality or the Ministry of Justice’s Real Estate Registration Department, or a reputable estate agent. Some properties in other areas are also permitted to be sold to non-Qataris on a limited leasehold basis – again, thorough investigations should be made by the purchaser as to the property’s status before making a commitment to purchase.

It should be noted that fewer than 100 non-Qataris were reported to have completed purchases by early 2011, and only 10 of those had obtained the associated property-owner’s residence permit.

Property Owner’s Visa

Non-Qatari home purchasers are entitled to apply for a homeowner’s residence permit, which is valid for five years and allows the owner and their immediate family to live in Qatar.

The application process for the visa is similar to that for obtaining a work residence permit, with proof of ownership documents replacing the need for a sponsoring employer. A medical certificate is still required (see Residency in Qatar), and a Certificate of Good Conduct must be obtained from the purchaser’s embassy.

After confirmation that the property is in a permitted area has been received and the property registered, the buyer must go to the office for registration of real estate for non-Qatar nationals, located in the Doha Municipality office in Al Sadd (see Contracts, Documents and Fees). The visa can then be processed by the Ministry of Interior.