Shipping and Removals in Qatar

Expats moving to the emirate should think carefully about what shipping and removals in Qatar entail. Most housing is already available fully-furnished, and international provisions are widely available at only a slightly higher price than in the country of production.   

Furthermore, customs officials are known to take unwritten liberties when it comes to confiscating illegal goods, as prohibition laws are based on the premise of banning items sensitive to the Middle East security situation. Such a vague statement specifically includes:

  • Firearms and weapons

  • Pork products

  • Alcohol and narcotic drugs

  • Pornographic and political material

  • Explosives

  • Ivory

  • Wireless transmitters and communication equipment

Additionally, any printed matter, including DVDs, books and electronics can be confiscated under the emirate’s policy of censorship.  

Items subject to restriction include jewellery, precious metals and stones, tobacco, and prescription and over-the-counter medicine.

If shipping is an unavoidable necessity, expats should take note that the process usually requires the collaboration of four parties:

  • The packer

  • The overseas shipper

  • The clearing agent

  • The storage and delivery, unpacking and setting

This can become costly even before processing fees, handling fees and unclear service charges are applied by the Qatar customs and port authorities. If possible, relocation should be organised through the employer, and the contract should be negotiated to include these costs.

Moving expats will need to include a detailed inventory of the items they’ll be shipping, as well as a “No Objection” certificate from their sponsor claiming that the items being shipped are for personal use, not resale. It’s best to make copies of all documents, and to keep them on file to facilitate the export process.

Shipping a car to Qatar

While many expats will agree that importing a car to Qatar isn’t really efficient or economical, some foreigners still prefer to do so. It should be kept in mind, however, that vehicles over five years old can’t legally be imported into Qatar and that it’s necessary to secure a residence permit before being able to register a vehicle. Furthermore, a five percent import duty will be levied on the value of the car, in addition to legalisation fees. Expats will also need to include an export certificate for the vehicle as well as proof of an insurance policy.

Small-scale shipping

There are a few reliable options for expats shipping small amounts of inventory, or simple items such as documents. Qatar lacks a formal postal code system and, in order to receive packages, it is necessary to open a post office box at the local Q Post office.  Most major logistics companies, such as DHL, FedEx, Aramex and UPS also deliver to Qatar from abroad.