Invested in The Pearl? Want a Residency Permit (RP)? Here’s the catch. – Updated!

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….

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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. 

 

  • Mac

    Mr. Q…you always provide very useful information!  Hopefully, for those of us looking to buy because we love Qatar and want to live here long term–through 2021 and beyond : )  things will be ironed out on the RP issue.  Does anyone know anything about  Msheireb…will foreigners be able to buy housing property in Mshreireb…or will sales be only to Qataris?  

  • Nandotorres79

    The properties in Msheireb are only for lease and not for sale. I think it’s mentioned on the website http://www.msheireb.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/yutopian Ismet Hajdarović

    I wouldn’t call it a catch but cheat by both, UDC and the Government by changing the terms.  Original terms were unlimited RP while you own the property, just before the Pearl completion they changed to renewable 5-year RP and now, one year with exit permit upon approval?! I can see panic sales within expat owners community and easy profit made by (local) estate opportunists.

  • Expat

    Stupid !

  • amnesia

    Yup no ownership (not event for locals) in Msheireb. I remember asking them at an exhibition and being told its rent only

  • U.kh

    great info M.Qr and its true because we went to pearl to have a flat. sooo when we ask them for RP almost same things they told us i can say they told me more worst rules then that 

    they said that if your children age is above 21 he cant have RP
    they said only the owner and the children under 18 they can have RP.  lolzzzzzzzzzzz and so many other shirt rules 

  • Ametis

    Buying an apartment in London does not grant you an automatic Visa…

  • Kane

    I dont understand why many people expect from Qatar and other countries different rules than that is available in home country.

    Buying a property in UK does not grant you an automatic entry Visa
    Buying a Property in UK does not grant you an automatic right to get a job…

    You must still follow normal procedures, unless of course you are a Citizen… so the same applies eslewhere..

    Infact may eurpean countries do not even allow non citizens to own land.

  • amnesia

    I never said it did…
    “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.”

    When I bought my apartment, I applied for a 3 year visa and received it. Renewable every 3 years.

  • Ametis

    You bought in London, knowing the rules , buying in qatar is the same – if we want  to stay in a country as a guest, we must first study the law, than decide if we want to be part of that community, and not try to change the rules.

    I love the region but I know I can never call it Home due to their rules…

  • amnesia

    Not sure if youre comment is directed to me (or why two posts in different usernames)

    1- As a Qatari I expect reasonable rules for everyone
    2- I expect the promises made to be kept (or not made at all) so we don’t disappoint people who invested
    3- the promise made to foreign investors at the beginning was much different than what is being shared today.

    Now in regards to the reference to the UK. I will quote my exact comment again.

  • amnesia

    Hff

  • amnesia

    You do know that I’m Qatari right? I’m not a guest, I’m a citizen and I’m saying that we need to make sense if we want foreign investors. As a Qatari, I can try to encourage better rules to make this country a better place.

  • kane

    amnesia in many ways I would have thought that Qatar would have learned from the mistakes of Dubai  of making promises and than changing your mind next morning.

    With reference to Law in UK, you are fortunate, many people buy property in UK expecting to be granted Visa and are disappointed..

  • amnesia

    I agree. we have a lot to learn from Dubai. The issue is that a lot of investors bought here based on promises made.

  • MIMH

    There is also the other catch. No legal protection of your investment. In Europe if the government tried to repossess your property at least you would be able to go to court for a fair hearing. In Qatar no one wins against the government be they citizen or residents. So you make a huge costly investment, no guarantee of residency, not able to work or start a business and you can be kicked out anytime the govt wants. No thanks

    New blog in Qatar!

    http://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5620053643548576859#editor/target=post;postID=8254922816678069674

  • Erik

    Thus far I have traveled in and out of Qatar with so much frequency that I have not needed the Permit, but I would still like to be able to obtain one. It would be nice to open a bank account, rent an apartment instead of living in a hotel, buy a car, etc. The company I work for has a firm here in Doha, but I do not want to be on their sponsorship because then I cannot hold other employment. I considered buying something at the Pearl in order to get the RP, but then I still cannot work. Is there a way that I can work as an independent consultant, have a multiple entry/exit visa, and just live life and spend money in Qatar? I understand the Labor Laws that are in place because of the foreign service laborers, but as an American expat I get caught in the middle of a pretty unusual situation of where I can easily find work, but cannot get paid for it or deposit it into a bank account because I do not have some permit. …And companies with which I would offer independent consulting services to would not sponsor because I am not an employee. Any advice???

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