Being a Woman in Qatar and Dressing the Part

For all your Abaya needs

When I talk about living and working in Qatar to friends, family and acquaintances from the US and UK, I usually get asked two questions, the first being, ‘Have you ever had any trouble because you are a woman working in the Middle East?’

The answer to this question is simply ‘No’, but I’d like to elaborate on this.

Because the majority of the population of Qatar are expatriate and migrant workers, these are the people I come into contact everyday.  I work with people from the US and UK, Australia, France, and other parts of the Middle East (Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon).  The people who work in the grocery stores and shopping malls, restaurants, and the men who drive the cabs are all mostly from India, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and the Far East, and as a result, oftentimes you’d be hard pressed to name which country you were in by just looking at the people around you.  By some odd twist of fate, these people seem more like locals than Qataris.   Partly for the reasons mentioned above, and partly because of the people I work with, I really don’t notice that much of a difference between my working day here and in the UK.  It’s difficult to explain but it’s also because of this that I’m not really sure if my experience gives a good representation of what it’s like being a female in the Middle East.

Population stats aside, Qatar is a very safe country if you are a woman (or anyone for that matter) on your own.  Although I am only speaking from personal experience, I feel very safe in Doha, and I have never run into any trouble or faced any situation that made me feel uncomfortable (knock on wood).

The second question that I get asked most often when I mention living in Qatar is, ‘Do you have to wear a burka’?  This is a huge resounding ‘NO’ because a) Qatari women (and the majority of women in the Gulf region) do not wear Burkas and b) foreigners are not required to cover up.

Burkas are garments that cover the entire body from head to toe, like a sheet, leaving only an opening for the eyes.  Qatari woman wear what is called an Abaya, a black robe with long sleeves that fastens down the centre.  These can be plain black although some women like to wear embellished Abayas with embroidery or sequins and jewels around the neckline and sleeves.  On their heads they wear a shawl/scarf called a Sheila (pronounced Shay-la).  This wraps around the head, as opposed to covering the top of the head and neck like a Hijab.  Some women also cover their entire face with a garment called a Niqab, leaving only small openings for the eyes.  This is usually a fabric that matches the Abaya but sometimes I have seen older women wearing metal plates over their faces and noses but I do not know what these are called or the significance and/or difference between them and the Niqab.  I also do not completely understand why some women (choose to?) cover their entire faces while others opt for just the Sheila.

Qatari men wear a white garment called a Thobe or Dishdasha.  On their heads they wear a (usually) white, small cotton cap called a Tagiyah with a scarf-like Kufiya over it, held in place by a black, cord Egal.  Kufiyas are usually white but you also see red and white and black and white patterned ones, which may have different names, I’m not sure.  Oh, and they top off the look with mirrored aviators, always mirrored aviator sunglasses.  If the State of Qatar were to have a pair of ‘national sunglasses’ it would definitely be the Ray-Ban mirrored aviator.

I have an HR contract which states what is acceptable work attire; dresses, trousers/skirts below the knee and blouses with a modest neck line and no less than half sleeve.  Outside of work I am free to wear what I want however, I tend to stick to the general rule of always keeping my shoulders and knees covered.  I have seen expat women wearing much less and, although I could probably get away with it too, I find it a bit rude and disrespectful.  If you have taken the time and effort to move to another country then I really think you must also make the effort to respect the local customs and views as best you can.


About Alexandria Lipka

Alexandria is the Lab Manager of a small biotechnology company based in Doha, Qatar. She was born and raised in the United States, where she received her undergraduate degree, before moving to the United Kingdom to work and further her studies. After 10 years in a rainy, grey London, she decided she might like living in the desert.

84 Responses to Being a Woman in Qatar and Dressing the Part

  1. Julie S. says:

    I am a pediatric emergency RN in the states. There are currently several jobs in Doha at a new hospital for positions in my field. Do you happen to know anything about people who have gone over to Qatar and taken their family (i.e. kids/spouse) or even what RN salary happens to be in Doha for a US trained RN? Your blog is very helpful, by the way. Thanks!

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi there, thanks for the comment.
      I know A LOT of people who have come to Qatar with spouse and/or kids in tow, it is very much a common situation. Usually it’s the husband that comes over for work, with wife and kids following and being sponsored by him. Depending on the age of the children, mum will then either stay at home or try and find work here. I don’t know if you have younger children or not but I have several friends in Doha who do and they have told me that Qatar is excellent in terms of activities and events for kids.
      I’m afraid that I don’t know anything about RN salaries in Doha but everything should be made absolutely clear by your potential employer. Salary packages are usually quite lucrative and include several allowances (housing, car, children’s education, etc.) but again, make sure this is all spelled out before you commit to anything.
      Good luck!

  2. Frances says:

    Hello there,

    Thanks for posting the information. I’m considering a move to teach in Doha and wandered if you could tell me how easy it is to mix with people and have a social life. I’m 28 and single and would like to know there are opportunities to find marriage-material (probably western) men (well, I don’t want to be single forever!). I’m also very sporty and am slightly concerned about the heat being restrictive in hotter months – how do sporty/outdoorsy people get around the heat?

    Many thanks,


    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Oh Sarah, I’m just in the process of writing my next post which is a ‘Things to do in Qatar/How to make friends-type’ topic so watch this space!

      I personally know of several people who have met their future partners here. Two friends came here, separately, about 18 month ago, met, fell in love, and are getting married at the end of this month so finding marriage material in Qatar is definitely a possibility. I have many single friends in Doha too, and their social lives are not lacking…but that’s not to say that you can get by without putting any effort in. The expat community here is small and generally, I’ve found that people are very friendly and more than willing to accept newcomers. My advice to you is to find something you like doing and join a club, and if there is no club, start one. There are also various, well-established expat social groups (some are free, some have joining fees) that meet several times a month for dinner and/or drinks; Facebook and internet forums will help you in this area. It may also be worth registering at your Embassy if you move here because many of them host social event throughout the year.

      As someone who used to cycle to work everyday, go for runs at the weekend and partake in various aerobics classes, I was also very concerned about the heat and Qatar’s indoor lifestyle before I moved. And I can report that my fitness levels are on par, if not better than when I lived in London; it’s difficult to make excuses when it’s sunny and warm in February! There are so many gyms and fitness centres in this country, you really are spoilt for choice, and many running/sports/activity clubs that meet all year round. Going to the gym can get a bit tedious in the summer when it’s 40+ degrees outside however, I see people walking in Aspire Park and along the Corniche all year long, no matter how hot it is. I must say, my 1st summer here I wilted in the heat but during my second summer, there were only a few weeks in August when I had to forgo my evening run because it was too hot so you very well may get use to the temp.
      Hope this advice helps, you’re only 28 (so young!!), of course I’m going to tell you to go for it!

      p.s. I also know several teachers in Doha and they are usually very well looked after by the schools they work for. Most of them have accommodation provided which means they live in close proximity to the other teachers and thus have an almost instant social circle; it may be worth checking this out and researching the demographic of the other teachers at the school you could be working at.

  3. Geetika says:

    Hi Alexandria,
    I am moving to qatar soon for a year, your post gave me lots helpful information. I have got my more queries though. Can you give your email id for the same :)

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      I’d like to keep this blog public because some people may have the same questions that you do. Please feel free to ask as many as you like and I’ll do my best to answer.

  4. addyson says:

    i think they should be abel to look how they want and us not to make fun of them DONT judge other by how they look think if they may be nice think in a positive way i have an aunt that is from there STOP IT!!!!!

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      I think you seriously misunderstood the point that I was trying to get across.
      In no way was I (or the people who have left comments) judging or making fun of anyone. What I wrote was meant to be informative and an opportunity for people who have never experienced Qatar firsthand to gain a bit of insight into the way of life in this tiny country.

  5. Sangeetha says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    Your posts are really helpful,i will be moving to Qatar soon with my husband and child,am keen on working would like to know if women need separate visa to work or can they work with their husbands visa? In UAE women can work with their husbands visa.Is it the same in Qatar?


    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi Sangeetha,
      You will not be able to work on your husband’s visa but he will be able to sponsor you so that you can get your own work visa. Either that or whoever employs you will have to sponsor you and obtain the visa but many employers prefer it if wives were sponsored by their husbands as it saves them time and effort plus, if your husband sponsors you, you’ll be able to switch jobs as you wish without worrying about No Objection Letters and the like.
      Good luck with your move,

    • Sarah says:

      how is the cost of living? and is it easy to get a job in Qater?

  6. Daiana says:

    Hello! My name is Daiana. We thinking with my husband and our son, are caming in Qatar.
    We are from Greece both.
    My husband speak english very good, than me , who i don’t speak good , and i don’t understane everything.
    Do you know if you live greek families in Qatar?
    Have more activities for children?
    The american school is good?
    The weather all months is hot or only summer?
    How is the life in Qatar?
    How can i learn? Do you know any site?
    How is life in Qatar?
    Thank you very much!

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      I found this link, maybe you can find some more information about Greek families in Qatar;

      There are many activities for children including play areas in the malls and parks, classes (dance, art, music) and one off events like festivals, theatre events and carnivals.

      There are several American schools in Qatar but I do not know firsthand if they are any good as I don’t know anyone whose children go to those schools. There are many good schools in Qatar, and they are not necessarily American.

      Only the summer is very hot, now it is about mid 40s during the day and it will probably stay like this until at least September. October is still very warm, as is April. The winter is very pleasant during the day, and can even get a bit chilly during the evenings. Even in the middle of summer though, people are out and about in the evenings, picnicing in the parks and walking along the Corniche.

      Life in Qatar takes some getting used to but generally, I have found it easy to make friends and settle. Like any place, you’ll get out of it what you put in so enjoy yourself and you’ll have a great time.

      Try having a look at Qatar Living, or Expat Woman, Time Out, Expat Arrivals, Just Landed and Qatar Visitor, although these sites are all in English.

      Good luck,

  7. The Rain in Spain says:

    Hi Alexandria Lipka,

    I just came upon this website by chance, having Google-ed working in Qatar. In fact, I was looking more about life in Qatar in general, and then I saw this site and read the chain of responses and remarks about teaching posts.

    I am from the UK, married to a Spanish lady and we have 2 small children aged 4 and 6. We live in Spain with I currently work for a US technology company based in Spain. There is a strong possibility that I could be offered a post in Qatar. My wife works as an English teacher. We are both aged 40.

    I have been told that the benefits package for the potential post in Qatar would be around $7000 USD (tax free), this includes housing and transport costs. Apart from that, the company would pay upto a 14,000 USD for school fees for the kids (total, not per child).

    I would appreciate if you could let me know :-

    1) Does this benefit package sound good to you? Could a family of 4 live “decently” on this salary?
    2) How much is renting a good home, in a nice area etc?
    3) What are schools like, for young kids? What’s the level? Are they for expats, mixed (sex)?
    4) Would there be any possibility for my wife to get a teaching post in Qatar (teaching English or Spanish any age/level upto an including high-school).
    5) Any other recommendations you have about life or even moving to Qatar

    Thanks so much

    Rain in Spain :-)

    I would

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi there,
      I would check out this site here as it gives a good overview of the cost of living in Qatar and it’s up to date. As far as your questions go, it is very difficult for me to comment because I don’t know your spending habits but I can try to give you some advice.
      Would $7000 be enough for you and your family to live comfortably in Spain? If so, then I think you can use the cost of living section from the above site to help you out with the details of what you may spend the rest of your money on. Also, I am not clear on the amount, does the $7000 mean that your housing is paid for already or that it will come out of that amount? If it comes out of that amount then you may struggle as housing is quite expensive in Qatar; a 3-4 bedroom villa in a nice area (although most areas of Doha are nice) will cost from 12,000-20,000 QAR or roughly $4000-6500.
      The schools in Qatar, like most contries range in popularity and price and the level of education is generally very good. Public (free) schools exist but they are (with rare exception) only for Qataris thus all schools for expats are private and have fees which can range from $5000-17,000/year for each child (although I have only gotten this info from the internet, I don’t know 1st hand). You can find schools that are both mixed and single sex and expats and Qataris alike attend. Many schools follow either a UK or US curriculum but I do know of a French school and a German school of Qatar too. And many of the schools here regularly recruit teachers from overseas so your wife would stand a very good chance of finding a post….although you know, nothing is ever certain.
      I think I’ve answered most of your questions, other suggestions for Qatar would be to keep doing what you’re doing and using the internet as a resource, and to keep asking questions.
      Good luck!

      • Fredjed says:

        Hi soon enjoyed your blog, my husband is coming to Qatar to work August, if I like it when I visit him I might stay, I am a social worker currently working as a probation officer in uk, but would do any job, what do you reckon would be my chances of getting work as I don’t want to be a prisoner in a luxury apartment in Qatar, many thanks any advise would be soo helpful

        • Alexandria Lipka says:

          I think there are plenty of jobs to be had in Qatar and once you are here, it will be a lot easier for you to get a feel for the place, see if you like it, and look into finding the job that you want.
          Good luck,

  8. Anjali says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    Your blogs have been very helpful. I am single women and I wish to shift to Qatar from India and look for new opportunities. I have experience in both Finance as well as HR. How is the job platform for single women in Qatar? I have heard that the salaries in Qatar are quite good, and I wanted to know if that still holds good.
    Another query would be with regards to accomodation. Are single women allowed to share accomodation ?

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      I think women (single or otherwise) are treated very fairly in the workplace in Qatar so you should not have a problem. And it does still hold true that the salaries are generally quite good in Qatar, this is the main draw for many people moving here.
      For accommodation, single women are allowed to share with other single women only.
      All the best,

  9. Anjali says:

    Thank you, it is so rare these days to see such a prompt reply :)
    Another query I have is that would now be a good time to look for a job in Qatar.?I am very keen in moving there within 2months at the most. So advice me on this regard.

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      No time like the present, things in Qatar move at their own special pace so I would say go for it now, definitely.

  10. lady archer says:

    I do enjoy reading your blog. I’m a teacher in the Philippines and I hope to find a work there in Doha. Can you give me some website where I can find a job, please.

    More power!

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi there,
      I have listed some helpful Qatar/Middle East jobs sites as responses to many comments on this blog. If you’d like to have a look and go through all of those, please do. Otherwise, I’ll be addressing this topic in my next entry so hopefully you can wait until then; watch this space…..

  11. Mary says:

    Hello Alexandria,
    I have come across your blog today and find it very informative.It is great to read the experience of a female who has moved to Qatar on her own and who has developed a business. I have been offered a position in Qatar (due to start at the nd of August) which leaves me in a similar position to you…going over to develop a new start up company. I am single and will be travelling on my own and am 33 years old.
    Someone told me recently that men and women cannot eat together in restaurants….that they have to sit in separate sections….is this true?
    Do you work with many Qatari nationals in your job or is it mainly expats? It is difficult for Western women to gain respect in the workplace when dealing predominately with Qatari men and is the business environement there very hard nosed, or slightly softer? Do you deal with many women in work? Also, what area of Doha would you recommend living in?
    Apologies for all the questions…just part of my research process before I leave! :-)

    Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      There are so many single women in Qatar, don’t sweat it!
      Men and women absolutely DO NOT have to sit in separate sections in restaurants here; there are sometimes ‘ladies sections’ in some restaurants but women sit there by choice.
      I mainly work with expats but I do often do business with Qatari nationals…and the majority of them are women. I regularly deal with men (mostly expat, few Qatari) although the majority of the people in my company are female so can’t really tell you much about predominantly male Qatari workplaces. Having said that, I’ve never really had a problem with gaining respect, if anything, being a woman has worked in my favour in predominantly male situations as they let you jump queues and make sure you have a place to sit.
      Anyway, I think business environments are dependent upon the people that you work with so it is difficult to generalise about hard nosed v. soft situations. I will say though that the pace of things in Qatar is quite particular, as is the amount of bureaucracy involved so if nothing else, you’ll need to be patient.
      I would recommend living in West Bay.

  12. Mary says:

    Hello Alexandria,

    Thanks for getting back to me!


  13. Gra says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    Great blog with a lot of very useful information. Thank you.

    What is the work ethic like in Qatar? I’m in the Uk currently where it’s generally Mon-Fri with choice of long hours in between being yours and job dependant. I visited Hong Kong recently and was put off seeking work there due the work ethic there, seriously long hours, near 6 days.

    Apologies if someone already asked you this question. I did check but couldnt find a similar question.



    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi Grainne,
      I kind of brought up this topic here. Long hours are job depenant in Qatar as well. The work week is Sunday-Thursday and generally the days start earlier; my hours are from 7:30am-3:30pm with an hour for lunch. However, I do know of some engineering/construction companies where employees work 6 days a week (Saturday-Thursday with one Saturday a month off) and then other establishments where the work day is 6:30am-1:30pm (no lunch break).
      Although I hate generalising, I will say that the work ethic in Qatar leans towards the relaxed end.

  14. ayan says:

    I enjoyed reading your blog, a lot of useful info. I live in UK, and thinking to move to Qatar with my four children. My first question is will I get any help with school fees in British schools in Qatar if we got the British citizenship?, and also how hard will it be to get a job if I haven’t got any qualification a part from speaking Arabic and English fluently?

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      There are some British schools in Doha that will only accept children if they hold a UK passport but the school will not help with fees; only your employer would, potentially, offer an education allowance for your children.
      I don’t know how difficult it would be for you to find a job here, but speaking English and Arabic would definitely be an advantage. You could try having a look for some jobs from the links in my previous post and see what you come up with.
      Good luck,

  15. Fredjed says:

    Hi Alexandria , just wanted to say thanks for replying to my question, much appreciated, jed

  16. prasad says:

    Hi Alexandria Lipka,

    I enjoyed reading your blog, a lot of useful info, I am a software professional from India , i am planning to move Qatar in next couple of months, with my wife and we have one child aged 6.
    I am looking for a single bed room house, and want to lead a very simple life with no much luxury around and want to save some money for my kids future. So as per your knowledge how much money would you think that will be sufficient for us to live in a given month , so that i can plan my savings accordingly.
    Your help on this is greatly appreciated!!

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi there,
      I hesitate in telling people specifics involving money because every situation is different. Please have a look at the post I wrote on the cost of living here. Also have a look at the cost of living post on this website. Furthermore, I have never come across any one bedroom houses in Qatar so you will probably have to go for an apartment instead. Check out Qatar Classifieds or Qatar Living to get a good idea of how much one bedroom properties cost.
      All the best,

  17. Teemah says:

    I enjoy reading your blog cause it been useful to and encouraging.i live in Nigeria but planing to move to Qatar soon would like u to give me some advice,would be coming to Qatar to work but i have only my SSCE result with me which work do u think would be good fro me

  18. Sue says:

    Hello Alexandria,

    I am planning to join my fiancé in Doha once my house has sold here in Canada. When I am there (we will not be marrying until 2014) will the fact that we are not married be an issue? He is currently working in Doha as a project manager, I have extensive Logistics and Inventory Control experience and hope to get employment once I get there.
    I have been told by friends and family that I will have problems once I arrive due to the fact that we are not married. Would you be able to confirm or deny this? I am getting mixed messages and would like the facts beforehand so I can plan accordingly.

    Thank you for any info you can provide. I am enjoying your blog! Sue

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Everything in Qatar is linked to your Residence Permit (RP), which is linked to your employer. Without an RP you will not be able to open a bank account, get a driver’s license, rent an apartment, etc. If you come to Qatar without a job you can stay on a tourist visa for 30 days or something. After that time is up (and you don’t have an RP), you’ll have to leave and come back to get another tourist visa (or totally disregard the fact that the visa has expired, no one will check, but this is illegal); this is why most people come to Qatar with employment already sorted out.
      If you are not married and not living together, that will not be an issue but again, you will not be able to get your own place until you find a job, get sponsored and get an RP. Some husbands/wives are sponsored by their spouses but because you’re not married, your fiance will not be able to sponsor your RP. If you live together, what you are doing is technically illegal, but there are no ‘religious police’ in Qatar who will check this so being smart and discrete is the way to go.

      You can come here without a job and live with your fiance but it will not be easy and there will be no guarantees. My advice would be to start looking for a job here now, in the hopes of getting sponsored. Alternatively, and if it’s possible, I would suggest that you come out here for a visit and get a feel for the jobs market.

      Hope this all made sense,


      • Sue says:

        Thank you for responding Alexandria. I understand what you are saying and will certainly consider my options. Again thank you for your imput. Sue

      • Alexandria Lipka says:

        I was thinking about my response and need to clarify one thing…
        In my haste I said that it is illegal to stay in the country once your tourist visa runs out; I cannot confirm 100% that this is illegal, but it definitely is frowned upon.

  19. Rita says:

    Hi I’m looking to move to Doha as a single mom. I Recently broke up with my long term boyfriend and we have a child together. I have been offered a brilliant expatriate deal with a big firm and wandering if being single and or a single mom is an issue.

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Hi there,
      I don’t think you will get any hassle for being a single mother, it should not be an issue. As long as you have a secure job which will sponsor you, you will be able to sponsor your child. You may need to provide proof that you are legal guardian however, maybe have a look at the ‘Travelling with Children’ section here.

  20. Rachel Devs says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    I found your article really helpful in trying to understand Qatar and what its all about! My partner is moving to Doha in the near future and I really want to move with him. His work are willing to give me a working visa, however we’re not married.

    In your experience, is it a real problem for couples to live together unmarried?? Do you know any way we can get around this if so? We want to marry eventually but are not in a financial situation to do so, nor do I want to marry for a formality. I’d really appreciate your comments!

    Thanks again!

    Rach x

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      If you will be sponsored by your partner’s company as well then that is half the battle.
      I’ve been asked a lot about unmarried couples and my answer is always the same; you will be fine in Qatar, you just need to be smart about it. There are no religious police who will come after you or try to track you down. You will need to practice a fair amount of discretion, and you should both probably find separate places to live.
      That’s my advice,

  21. jeanie says:

    Your blog is very informative; I’m hoping your information will help me.
    I’m 56yrs old my partner is 54yrs. We would like to semi retire to Qatar, perhaps open a small B&B business.
    We would like to live in Qatar during the winter and spring months of the year the remainder in Britain.
    We have around 50K once our home is sold here to take to Qatar to fund the B&B.
    Would moving there and starting a business be easy?

    Thanking you in advance


    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      In short, no, moving here and starting a business would not be easy. If I am not mistaken, all businesses need to have at least 51% Qatari backing, so that is your first obstacle. Have you ever been to Qatar? Either way, I am wondering why you would want to semi retire here (not really possible but more on that later). There really isn’t a tourist industry in Qatar, people do not come here to see the (very limited) sites. Most people who travel to Qatar are either in transit or come for business and/or conferences…and they usually stay at the bigger hotels. There are smaller, boutique hotels in Qatar but really no family run B&Bs as such, nor is there really any way for you to come over here and build your own, things like that just don’t happen.
      As for retiring here, that is not possible either as being a resident in Qatar (and being able to stay here legally) requires a Residence Permit (RP) which is almost always linked to your employer. Simply put, no job, no RP, no chance of staying in the country. I know an older couple who have lived and worked in Qatar for over 40 years. Once the husband retired, he was no longer able to stay in Qatar and so now only spends a few months at a time here (on a tourist visa) to visit his family in Doha.
      If you are really interested in starting this business here, I’m afraid I cannot offer any other business-like advice because I simply don’t know.
      All the best,

  22. Bev Price says:

    Hi Alexandria,
    Your posts are very informative thank you.
    Can you confirm if single women are permitted to come to Qatar and work on their own please?
    If so, what do they need to do in advance to allow this?

    ALso, do you know of any other useful sites advertising jobs in Qatar?

    Thank you

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Single women are without a doubt allowed to move to Qatar and work on their own with no problems. In order to do this women (and men) will need to find a job first as it is usually an individuals employer who sort out the work/residence permit. Have a look at this post I wrote about job sites.
      All the best,

  23. Thanks for your info Alexandria. Husband and I are currently living in Japan and are looking at Qatar as a possible ‘next move’. I am not sure if you have already answered this somewhere, and I hate to be a bother, but do you know approx. start dates for schools? Any info would be heaps appreciated, I have read start of September and August.
    Thanks for creating such a useful and informative website. Definitely appreciated :) It’s always good to find blogs that help out the expat community so we are not so much in the dark :)

    Lauren Donald

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      It depends upon the school but most tend to start mid-late August and run until mid June. And I think most either follow a UK or US curriculum so the holidays during the year will follow accordingly.
      All the best,

  24. awbry salonga says:

    I am not really sure if i will agree that qatar is a safe country. Although i have red your statement i have a doubt.. Please dont get offended my mother will go to the qatar and i am just being so worry about her. Its just that all my friends told me that middle east country are dangerous for woman but i am not saying that that is true. Please Feed me back. It will help me alot.

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      Do you live in Qatar or have you visited recently? Why do you have a doubt about Qatar being safe for women? If I didn’t think Qatar was safe for women, then I would not have written about how I think it is safe for women.

  25. Natalie says:

    I am a single mum, my son is 11 and I’m wanting some help/advice on wether I can move out in Qatar or across the middle east on my own with him? I’m looking for working work as a personal trainer and sports therapy treatment. If anyone has advice for me I would appreciate it.


  26. Melissa says:


    This was a very helpful article thanks. I will be going to Qatar for 3 months to work with a client there (large corporation). In the UK I typically wear ‘business’ dresses and jackets and want to know if this will be suitable: my dress typically skim my knees (i.e. not short but don’t quite cover my knees when I sit down). I don’t want to offend anyone or get unwanted attention… but equally don’t want to buy new clothes for this! Do you think these dresses are appropriate, or should I just bear a couple of pair or trousers? Thanks!

    • Alexandria Lipka says:

      I think trousers or longer skirts would definitely not hurt.
      I had an HR contract that stated that my skirts had to be below the knee or longer but that was just my company and lots of women who worked in my business complex wore much shorter skirts. I think your ‘knee skimming’ skirts will be fine but just wear trousers if you feel more comfortable.

  27. sarah says:

    Hi A
    Just wanted to say huge thanks for your blog – I am going to Qatar for teaching post and all the niggles I had have been resolved from your info.
    I wish the world was populated by clones of A as you are very generous with your time.

  28. Gina says:


    I am Gina, recently my fiancee moved to Qatar to work. We are getting married next year and we had the idea of me moving to Qatar with him. What are the possibilities of finding a job in Qatar? or Do I have to find a job before I move to Qatar? If yes, do you know any possible genuwine sites where I can look for available jobs?

    Awaiting for your response.
    Thanking you

  29. Ramya says:

    Hi Lipka,
    I’m a divorcee, and like to move to qatar within 2 months. Is it possible to process passport and visa without hub? do i have scope in finance or marketing…….R

  30. Maria says:

    Hi Alexandria,
    I´m reading your blog and I feel happy for all the women who finally get the dream to work there.
    I´m from Spain traying for a job in Qatar since four months .As you will know economic situation here is critical that´s why I need to move on for make my living.
    I´m an architect working as a real estate agent since 7 years. I know that you aren´t a job provider (laughing) but if you can help me a bit…I¨ll be very thakful. As I read in your blog almost all the population there is foreign and of course looking for residence or accommodation…may be you know any person in this field….
    Well; thanks for your blog and for give us confidence.
    Best regards

  31. Vza says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    Is there any age limit for an expat woman to get an employment visa in Qatar? I’m 53 yrs old and have 6 years experience in UAE.

    kind regards,


  32. Veronica Fitzgerald says:

    Dear Alexandra, I am an experienced Housekeeper, looking after pets and babysitting children, although I am not a qualified nanny. I am fully qualified in painting and decorating, interior design and carry out floor and wall tiling. I am retired, but looking to make some changes and move abroad and experience different cultures. Would you know whether my skills and experiences could be accomodate?. I am extremely reliable and CRB checked.

  33. eddie says:

    am contemplating applying for university teaching jobs in qatar but i have two big worries-age and marital there a maximum age limit for job/visa applications ? Are divorced women likely to find employment?I know that some M.E states frown on divorced or separated women.

  34. Kurian Joseph says:

    Hi Alexandria lipka ,,hope you r in good spirits.? I am Kurian and I am currently working in Qatar . I am planning to bring my wife to Qatar via family visa.My wife’s a computer science engg/software engg ,she’s currently working in India.i wanted to know the scope for comp science engg in qatar ,,especially for women.since I have been getting very poor responses .i have heard the scope of job for women in qatar in comp science engg is very this true?
    Can you suggest any job consultancies in qatar .thank you for your time .

  35. Natasha says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    I’m working for a nanny agency in Argentina and was asked by my agency if I wanted to respond to the want-ad from Qatar for a nanny with 2 year commitment to the job. I’ve never gone oversees for work for that long, away from the my family, but I got interested in this offer. How safe is it to be a foreign nanny in a Qatar family? My agency informed me that the family will be issuing the RP which will allow me to open a bank account and be attended medically. Does that mean, that my taxed will be already taken care of? Any other tips or information about this particular job placement to the best of your knowledge, of course.

    Thanks a lot,

  36. shadman says:


    Please tell me do girls work as civil engineer in qatar????

  37. anshu says:

    Hi Alexandria,

    I have gone through all your post regarding different different topic related with Qatar. So I would also like to ask you a question. My husband is working in Doha-Qatar & I also want to Join him. But currently I am working for Kellogs Ltd in India as a Admin Executive. So can you please suggest me any website or company or any organisation through whom I can search for same kind of job? by present in India……

    Thanks & Regards

  38. Maggie says:

    I’m planning to move to Qatar but I would like to know, can one get a RP resident permit with a tourist visa?

  39. Joanna Zreik says:

    Alexandria, i just want to congratulate you for this blog that is the best blog i found for qatar. Thank you for your time and important informations.


  40. Mina says:

    Hello Alexandria,

    thank you for your informative weblog,
    I am an Iranian single women, got an offer to work in Doha, but im not sure if I have to wear hijab(or cover up) there as I am Muslim (in my ID) !!! I mean is there any rule that all Muslim women have to cover up there, or the rule applies to local Muslim women only?(Malaysia is also a Muslim country but i don’t have to wear hijab there)

  41. Sam says:

    I gave just been offered a teaching post in Qatar and my husband a site manager role in the same school. We gave two children a 12 year old by my previous marriage and he has no contact with his biological father and a 3 year old together. We gave looked on lots of sites and tried contacting the Qatar embassy but are struggling to find out how we can come over as a family as we believe it may be difficult with my son being from a previous relationship. Please could you advise us as we are beginning to panic!!

  42. kevin says:

    Hello alexandria, you are doing a great work. am a guy I just want to know how easy it is to get a job in Qatar. am a motion graphic editor in nigeria I edit movies and music video. And I also want to know how I can get my RP and how I should apply for my visa. like looking for employment first online or after I get into qatar and I also want to school in qatar and know if there is any school of part time that offer course in computer science and how much it would cost me and will still be able to work am 23 years of age plz a quick respond would be appreciated

  43. nkallah masoud gasambi says:

    hi alexadria lipka!
    I am from kenya and very soon will be in qatar working with corp doha suites as a housekeeper, my husband also works with amwaj catering services as a cleaner, so you can see we dont earn that much for us to leave together. Bt my worry is now that we will soon be meeting and the qatar government dosent recognise our marriage certificate, will it be a problem to us? And we would really wish to leave together in one house but don’t know where to start! Plz help me out

  44. Marta Nobre says:

    Dear Alexandria

    I saw your blog, and hope you can help me;
    I’m a portuguese married woman, married and with a baby daughet. I had a job offer in Doha, but my question is if i’am elegible to a family visa, as i heard that as a woman, i could not take my family; Is that true?


    Marta Nobre

  45. R says:

    Dear Alexandria,

    I came across your block a couple of weeks ago, I think I’ve read everything – very informative, thank you for your efforts – it left me with only minor questions (I know you will not answer a major question like ‘if my package is such and such – will that be enough?:-) – I agree it is all relative and subjective). I also appreciate your view on safety and recognition of females in this country – I was concerned about that. You also answered almost all questions on female dress code (business attire is approrpiate), apart from two (and silly?):
    1. can women wear high-heels? (with say trousers as part of the business attire) – or better be avoided? (in other words – do I pack my high-heels shoe collection with me or better leave it behind for a while? – someone warned me the other day…) and
    2. another question (i think I’ve seen it eslewhere, maybe not on your blog, but cannot find the reference): if you go for a jog in the public place – what is the dress-code for a woman? Baggy trousers/long-sleeves or compressed style (tight on body) is allowed? Again, asking in a view what do I leave behind so as (a) not to disrespect the new (to me) culture and (b) not to waste space/money on transporting unnecessary items.

    Thanks very much! R

    ps. I noticed you stopped answering – I do hope it is temporary. But if permanent – thanks again for all efforts, contibution and assistance for new-comers to Qatar.

  46. aneka anderson says:

    Hi there,

    I found your posts really positive and informative. Thank you..

    I am looking into a position at an international school. The salary is £13,000 qr per month. The package includes free schooling for my two children, accommodation and electricity.

    I know everyone’s situation is different, but can you advise me on whether this would afford a good standard of living? I want to be able to save significantly so I am trying to work out if £30,000 per year over there will go very far..

    Thank you

  47. Ayesha Rubina says:

    Hi Alexandria,
    Im a graduate in computer science 2012 passout. I’m looking for a job in Qatar. Is it safe for me to travel alone? Please suggest the best job where I can utilize my skills. Also, Please let me know the procedure to apply for Jobs in Qatar. Thanks in advance.

  48. hiba says:

    Sir, please guide me a bit about qatar. I have got the job as an english teacher in doha. they have offered me 4500 us dollar salary with free accomodation and medical. i am single and want to take my parents and one married brother (without family) with me. would it be possible? can we live a decent living in 4500 us dollar? as i don’t know about the approximate monthly expenses in qatar. please tell me about this.

  49. Loise says:

    Dear Alexandria;
    I’ve been going through your blog and can’t help but get amazed at how good you can be to donate your time to answer all those blogs so keenly.
    Big up. you’re certainly a helpful person .

  50. kiran shrestha says:

    hello mam, I hav a question that me and my wife is going qatar seperately to work there so can we live togather in a same room there ? If we can then wht r the documents do we need to live togather ?

  51. Adeoti Segun says:

    Hello mam,
    As a Nigerian, is there any hope of getting a Job in Qatar?
    Me and my wife (no kid yet) are planning of moving to Qatar.
    We’re both Graduate.
    And what is the procedure for getting a VISA?

    Many Thanks.

  52. Melford says:

    Hello Miss Alex
    i’m a 29yr old from Nigeria,i’l be moving to Qatar next year, is there any good job for people without qualifications?

  53. renee says:

    hello, i will have my final interview next month, and most probably will get the job : ) do they allow now for the women to drive cars? kinda excited but still confused : )

  54. Semira says:

    Hi Alexandria
    I am 25 Years old and i have a BA Degree in Marketing Management . I have two years experience in sales. And i have been looking for a job in Qatar as a sales person in a retail business in a mall. I have applied for so many jobs but it looks that it is not working for me.I have an Ethiopian Nationality and if that is the case can u please tell me what i have to do and the other thing that i want to ask is that is it better to find work in the internet or is better to find work by coming to Qatar by tourist visa and how much does it cost to find a tourist visa.

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