Qatar does not levy personal income taxes on employee earnings. Employer-provided allowances provided as part of employment income to local and expatriate employees are not taxable for income tax and social security purposes.
Partnerships consisting of individuals, as well as individuals carrying on business as professionals or sole traders, are taxed on net business income at the corporate income tax rate of 10%.
Capital gains on the disposal of real estate and securities derived by individuals are exempt if the assets are not part of the individual’s taxable activity.
Dividends and capital gains derived from shares of companies listed on the Qatar Stock Exchange are also exempt from local tax.
Individuals are considered resident in Qatar in any of the following circumstances:
- They have a permanent home in Qatar.
- They are physically present in Qatar for 183 days or more during a calendar year.
- Their center of vital interests is in Qatar.
Estate and gift taxes
Qatar does not levy estate or gift taxes.
Income from succession and inheritances falls outside of the scope of the local tax law.
Qatar does not levy any social security taxes.
Qatar has entered into double tax treaties with the following jurisdictions.
Algeria Japan Portugal
Armenia Jersey Poland
Austria Jordan Romania
Azerbaijan Korea (South) Russian Federation
Belarus Kyrgyzstan Senegal
Bulgaria Latvia Serbia
China Lebanon Seychelles
Croatia Luxembourg Singapore
Cuba Macedonia Slovenia
Cyprus Malaysia South Africa
France Malta Sudan
Georgia Mauritius Sri Lanka
Greece Mexico Switzerland
Guernsey Monaco Syria
Hong Kong SAR Morocco Tunisia
Hungary Nepal Turkey
India Netherlands United
Indonesia Norway Kingdom
Iran Pakistan Venezuela
Ireland Panama Vietnam
Isle of Man Philippines Yemen
Qatar has signed treaties that are not yet effective with the following jurisdictions.
Albania Estonia Mauritania
Bangladesh Ethiopia Montenegro
Barbados Fiji Nigeria
Belgium Finland Peru
Benin Gambia San Marino
Bermuda Germany Spain
Bosnia and Iceland Thailand
Herzegovina Kazakhstan Turkmenistan
Brunei Darussalam Kenya Ukraine
Ecuador Libya Uruguay
Egypt Lithuania Uzbekistan
All visitors to Qatar, with the exception of nationals of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, must obtain valid entry visas. Completed visa application forms may be submitted to the immigration authority in Qatar or to Qatari embassies abroad. Visa ap plications (excluding applications for business visas) may also be submitted online to the government visa service at www.gov.qa.
Business visas, which are valid for one month, are granted to visitors for business purposes. Only companies that are approved by the Qatar immigration authorities may sponsor and apply for business visas. Entry into Qatar on a business visa requires a pre-application in Qatar. This rule applies to all nationalities. A copy of the business visa is required on arrival at the port of entry. Business visas may be renewed for an additional two months on a monthly basis.
Tourist visas, which are valid for 14 days, are granted to visitors on application if the visitor has a confirmed booking with one of the recognized hotels in the country. Visitors must stay at the hotel through which the visa is obtained. In general, most visitors must apply for a tourist visa before travel to Qatar. However, residents of certain specified jurisdictions are permitted to travel to Qatar without obtaining an entry visa before traveling and may obtain a tourist visa at any port of entry in Qatar. The following are the 33 approved jurisdictions.
Andorra Hong Kong SAR New Zealand
Australia Iceland Norway
Austria Ireland Portugal
Belgium Italy San Marino
Brunei Darussalam Japan Singapore
Canada Korea (South) Spain
Denmark Liechtenstein Sweden
Finland Luxembourg Switzerland
France Malaysia United Kingdom
Germany Monaco United States
Greece Netherlands Vatican City
Tourist visas for nationals of the countries listed above are initially granted for one month and are renewable for another month.
Visitors’ visas for stays of up to three months may be obtained on application by a sponsor residing in Qatar. The sponsor may be a company registered in Qatar or an expatriate who resides and works in Qatar. This type of visa may be extended for an additional three months. Citizens and residents of GCC-member states do not require visitors’ visas. On arrival in Qatar, they are granted visas valid for up to one month.
Foreign nationals may work in Qatar only if they have valid em ployment contracts sponsored by companies resident in Qatar. An employment (work) visa is issued only if the applicant’s employment contract is approved by the Ministry of Labour.
Foreign nationals may work only for the particular company that sponsored them and must leave the country if the sponsoring company no longer requires their services, unless an arrangement is made to transfer the foreign national to another company. A transfer of employment from one sponsor to another requires the approval of the Department of Immigration at the Ministry of Interior.
The sponsorship laws of Qatar require that employment visa holders obtain exit permits from the Ministry of Interior before leaving Qatar. An exit permit is valid for only seven days from the date of issue. Senior staff may apply for a multiple-exit visa that is valid for one year.
The above rules are currently under review and may change during the course of the year.
Employment visas are valid from one to five years and are renewable.
Application for employment visas should be made in Qatar. The application process takes approximately two to four weeks after all documents are received from a foreign national. The following documents are required from an applicant:
- A passport
- Four passport-size photos
- Educational certificates
- For certain nationalities, a health declaration
- Proof that the applicant has no criminal record
Residence permits are generally granted to foreigners only if they have valid employment visas. Foreigners must leave the country when their employment terminates. However, foreign nationals and members of their immediate family who own land or property rights in leased properties are entitled without sponsorship to residence permits for five years with renewal options for the duration of their interests in their properties. In addition, foreign nationals with investments in businesses under the provisions of the Foreign Capital Investment Law No. 13 of 2000 are also entitled to entry visas and residence permits for five years with renewal options over the period of their investments.
Residence visas may also be issued to professionals, including doctors, accountants and lawyers, if they are sponsored by Qatari nationals or Qatari companies and if the necessary permits are obtained from the relevant government department.
Family and personal considerations
Family members. Qualifying individuals who have resident permits can sponsor their spouse and children for the obtaining of residence permits in Qatar. The non-working spouse of a holder of an employment visa does not automatically receive the same type of visa. An independent application must be filed.
Property ownership. Foreign nationals may not own property in Qatar, other than in designated real estate developments, including the Al Khor Resort, the Pearl of Qatar Island and West Bay Lagoon. With the exception of these developments, ownership is restricted to Qatari and GCC nationals. Foreign nationals may purchase the right to enjoy the use of apartments in multistory buildings in residential areas for periods of up to 99 years.