Jeffrey Asselstine
Managing Director
NelsonPark Property LLC

With Cabinet Resolution No (28) of 2020, the Qatari authorities sent a very clear message to foreign investors, “Come and invest in Qatar real estate”. Whilst the previous laws were always favourable to foreign investors, the changes announced in November 2020 have fundamentally enhanced the investment landscape with:

  • More areas to invest in
  • More opportunities to invest in including commercial properties
  • Expansion of areas that are designated for Freehold
  • Two tiers of investment levels to obtain a Residency Permit with greater benefits for the higher tier level
  • Ability to use a foreign owned company or investment fund to purchase real estate assets

Expatriates can now buy properties in 9 areas on a Freehold basis:

  • West Bay Lagoon (Legtaifiya)
  • The Pearl Qatar
  • Al Khor Resort
  • Al Dafna (60)
  • Dafna 961)
  • Onaiza
  • Lusail
  • Al Khairaj
  • Jabal Thailab

Of particular note is the inclusion of Lusail in the Freehold list. Over the last few years a number of developers have been very successful in bringing projects to the market, where there is a lot of demand from both Qatari and foreign investors. However, for some their preference for Freehold held them back from investing in Lusail. With the change in the law, we have noticed an incredible increase in the amount of foreigners that are looking toward Lusail.

There are also 16 areas where foreigners can invest on a 99 year Leasehold basis:

  • Msheireb
  • Fereej Abdelaziz
  • Doha Al Jadeed
  • New Al Jadeed
  • Al Refaa and Old Al Hitmi
  • Aslata
  • Fereej Bin Mahmoud
  • Rawdat al Khail
  • Mansoura and Fereej Bin Dirham
  • Najma
  • Umm Ghuwailina
  • Al Khulaifat
  • Al Sadd
  • Al Mirqab Al Jadeed and Fereej Al Nasr • Doha International Airport

Under the old law foreigners could purchase a property and apply for a Residency Permit (RP) if the property had a minimum size of 75m2. Under the new provisions, the main determining factor is the value of the property.

Tier One – Residency Permit (RP)
If you purchase a property as a foreigner in any of the areas designated above with a value of QAR 730,000 (USD 200,000) or above then you can apply for a Residency Permit for yourself and your family.

Tier Two – Residency Permit (RP) with the Benefits of Permanent Residency
If you purchase a property as a foreigner in any of the areas designated above with a value of QAR 3,650,000 (USD 1,000,000) or above then you can apply for a Residency Permit for yourself and your family, with the benefits of permanent residency. These benefits include:

  • Enhanced health care privileges
  • Educational benefits for your children in governmental schools
  • Investment in some commercial activities without the requirement of a Qatari partner

In a number of articles some commentators have referred to the second tier as “Permanent Residency”. It is very important to note that purchasing a property at this level does not provide Permanent Residency, but rather a Residency Permit with the Benefits of Permanent Residency. The reason that it is not permanent, is that the benefit disappears if the RP holder sells the property.

Ownership is also now allowed residential complexes and commercial malls throughout the country.

We are already seeing much greater interest from foreign investors who are looking to begin or expand their property portfolios in Qatar. With excellent underlying economic fundamentals in the country, a solid legal framework and a zero personal income tax regime, the benefits of investing in Qatar are obvious. When these benefits are added to the attraction of being able to obtain a Residency Permit, it is very clear that serious investors should give solid consideration to investing in the country.

As with all regulations there is finer detail that needs to be reviewed which is not necessarily included in this document. At NelsonPark Property, we would be happy to sit with you and review your needs to make sure that not only do you have the right property from a real estate standpoint, but also in regard to Residency Permit issues if this is more of your focus.

This article was published as part of the fifth edition of Property Finder Qatar’s Trends Report