Update: So I emailed the Pearl (specifically TPQ) with some questions that I got answers to.
Q So that I understand, a foreigner can apply for a 1 year RP and extend it to 3 years. What happens after 3 years? Does a person need to reapply or leave the country?
A After 3 years, the person will only renew the RP through our offices. There will be no need to leave or reapply. It will be the ordinary RP renewal.
Q After the person enters the country, he/she has to get an Exit permit from MOI? So if coming to the country to visit, he/she cannot leave the country without an exit permit? (I think that will turn off a lot of foreign investors)
A No exit permit required at all. (this answers question 3)
Q What is the process for applying for an exit permit?
See answer to question 2.
Q What are the fees mentioned?
A The fees are QR 300 for the Master Clearance issued from our (UDC) department after the unit is cleared from any outstanding (internal process) and then we apply to the government if hopefully the application gets approved and the visa is issued there will be an amoutn of QR 4,000
Wait a minute… so she’s saying (the person who responded to me was a woman) that there is no guarantee to the RP. I wonder under what circumstances the RP would NOT be approved.
Now I should add that it’s great that people don’t need exit permits, but the fees don’t make sense… It’s 200 QR (I think) for a 3 month visa. That’s 800 QR per year. Multiply by 3 and that’s 2,400. It’s CHEAPER to simply come on a visit visa rather than on the RP….
We’re trying to get people to invest in Qatar right? At least I thought the country was hoping to get foreign investors with projects like Lusail, Al Waab City and The Pearl.
One reason many people choose to invest in another country (besides making a profit) is the fact that you become elegible to receive a residence permit. I mean, if I was going to invest in an apartment in London, I’d like to know that I could visit that apartment anytime I wanted to.
So The Pearl, and other developers, announced that foreigners who invest in property in Qatar would be entitled to a Residency Permit. *sound of Angels singing* and all was well in the world. People got excited and flocked to man made islands in Doha, Dubai, and Manama hoping to get a new home, an RP, and quadruple their investment in 6 months. Oh how naive they felt when news came out that Dubai didn’t issue a single RP to investors and weren’t entirely sure they were going to issue them. People gasped. “Oh no! They aren’t keeping their promise?”, people questioned in surprise. People who read those articles then scratched their heads and squinted as the cogs in their heads started to spin until “PING”, a new question was formed. “What does that mean for Qatar?”.
I’ve had LOADS of people ask me what the process was to receive an RP at The Pearl long ago. At the time, UDC wasn’t sure, because there was no process put in place by the government. Quite recently, a friend received the following letter from UDC:
“With reference to your inquiry, we would like to inform you that United Development Company (UDC), Master Developer of The Pearl-Qatar (TPQ), has released to all investors on the Island the possibility to apply for Qatari Residency Permits under the new rule that allows a non-Qatari to own real estate and residential property in the country.
The issuance of Residency Permit to the housing unit owners is for 1 year (renewable for three years) and the sponsorship for non-Qatari’s applying for residence permits will be held by the Ministry of Interior, who will also provide exit permits upon departure from the country.
Residence permit will be granted regardless of the number or size of property owned, and for the first time in the region investors are able to sponsor their dependents and next of kin. But in the other hand, this residency permit will not allow to unit owners to work or practice any business activity in Qatar.
In order to start the processes of your residence permit application
Kindly provide us with required documents as below:
1. Photocopy of your valid passport / current visa if available.
2. Photocopy of the Sale and Purchase Agreement.
3. Hand over date of your apartment.
4. No objection letter from current sponsor signed by authorized signatory stating that you don’t have objection to cancel your residence and reissue residence under the sponsorship of the property / if available.
5. Copy of Computer Card for the company (commercial registration) / if available.
Please be informed that Government fees and The Pearl-Qatar Central Authority Directorate “TCAD”
administration fees are applicable.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.”
Let’s dissect this for a second. So basically they’re saying that you get an RP for a year, extended to 3 years, but THEN what? Do you need to do a dead-run and leave the country and reapply? Your ‘sponsor’ is now the Ministry of Interior who you now have to get an exit permit from. Wait what?! You’ve invested in a property, entered to visit your lovely summer get-a-way in Doha, then need to apply for an EXIT permit to go back home? I guess to many already in Qatar, they’re accustomed to having to get an exit permit, but to the rest of the world I’m pretty sure they’ll be unpleasantly surprised. I mean, think about Mr. Euro-Millionaire who’s buying properties around the world; I’m pretty sure he doesn’t like to be controlled. (I guess the argument here to some would be, if he doesn’t like it, then he shouldn’t invest. I wont go into that right now). I’ve contacted UDC so that they could explain what additional ‘fees’ there are (you’d think that after spending millions on their properties that there wouldn’t be additional costs for an RP), what the process is for getting an exit permit, and how long this whole process will take.
I like to put myself in people’s shoes, so I got to thinking myself. Imagine if I had now bought a home in England. Decided to go visit it for summer, then told that I couldn’t leave the country without an exit permit (oh and by the way, you can’t get a job here either).
It’s a confusing situation. What is the country asking from investors? Do we want people to LIVE in Qatar? Do we want them to enter and spend even more in the country? Do we not want them to leave? Perhaps the answer is simple. Give us your money and get lost.
IMPORTANT NOTE: I’d like to end this with letting everyone know that this isn’t The Pearl’s fault. They don’t make up the rules and the laws in the country.