Qatar on April 19, 2018 announced the approval of a draft law on regulating the ownership and use of properties by foreigners.
The decision was announced during a Cabinet meeting chaired by Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser Al Thani.
• The draft law rules that non-Qataris might own and use properties under specific conditions.
• The law applies to land space including buildings and residential units, in addition to the detachment units in residential complexes.
Current property regime in Qatar for Non-Qataris
• According to current property ownership regime in Qatar for Non-Qataris, they may invest and own land, buildings and constructions in three designated projects:
- Pearl – Qatar
- West Bay Lagoon
- Al Khor Resort Project
• The Non-Qataris are also allowed to acquire rights over:
- Real estate that is leased for a term of 99 years and is renewable on similar terms.
- Residential Units for a term not exceeding 99 years and in general a right to convey property belonging to another person for its own profit, utility or advantage.
• The law also allows non-Qatari owners to apply for visas and residency for themselves and their families without any local sponsorship.
• On August 9, 2017, Qatar granted visa-free entry to citizens of 80 countries including India, Canada, US and UK, to become the most open country in the Gulf region.
• The move was aimed at encouraging more people to travel to the nation and discover its renowned hospitality, cultural heritage and natural treasures.
• In November 2016, Qatar introduced a free transit visa that allowed passengers of all nationalities transiting through the nation to stay there for a minimum of five hours up to maximum 96 hours (four days).
• The Qatari government has also undertaken several key measures to establish other sources of imports to overcome the economic blockade imposed on it by its Gulf neighbours.
• Since June 5, 2017, other Gulf nations including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt have cut diplomatic and trade ties with Qatar, accusing it of funding and supporting Islamist extremists and fostering ties with Iran.
• Qatar has consistently denied the charges.