Perhaps your job contract will be ending soon, you are planning to relocate to another country, or you are retiring and going back to your home country. Whatever the reason, the time will eventually come for you to leave Qatar “for good.”
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But before your bid this country goodbye, make sure that all your affairs are in order. This includes settling your finances, household bills, and rental contracts, as well as shipping (or selling) your furniture, car, and other items. If you have kids, the process would also involve notifying their school about your plans. And if you have pets, you’ll need to think about the requirements for relocating them, too.
What to Do Before Bidding Qatar Goodbye
Below is a checklist of the things you’ll need to do before you leave the country:
1. Plan ahead of time.
Before anything else, make a list of the things that you will need to do months before your planned date of departure. This includes having your residence permit cancelled (take note that you have 90 days to exit the country after your permit is cancelled or expired). You will also need to decide on the things that you can ship or bring with you, and the things that you could sell, donate, or leave behind.
2. Settle all your finances.
Keep in mind that you will not be allowed to exit the country if you have any “unfinished business,” such as an unpaid loan or credit card debt. Likewise, the bank will not release your end-of-service benefits if your finances are not yet cleared. As soon as you have settled all your debts, the bank will give you a signed and stamped letter, which you can give to your employer for faster and smoother processing of your end-of-service benefits.
3. Clear traffic fines (if any).
Just to be on the safe side, check with the Ministry of Interior (MOI) if you have any outstanding traffic fines. Otherwise, you might be stopped at the border if there’s a fine that you haven’t settled. You can pay your traffic fines at the Traffic Department, an MOI Collection Office, or through the MOI e-services portal.
To access the online portal, you will need to log in with your smart card, click on “Traffic Services,” “Traffic Violations,” and “Settlement of Violations.” These steps will reveal your traffic violations (if any), date, time, location, and amount to be settled.
4. Notify your children’s school.
If you have children living in Qatar with you, be sure to notify their school at least one month before leaving. This should give them enough time to prepare academic documents — like a School Leaving Certificate, which you will need to submit to your children’s next school. Don’t forget to check for any outstanding school fees, unreturned library books, and so on.
5. Get ready to move out.
Once you have a target date of departure, don’t forget to notify your landlord. This would enable you to claim any security deposit fees that you paid in the beginning of your rental contract. Of course, make sure that you leave your accommodation in good condition, as the landlord would check for any damages that could be deducted from your security deposit.
Before you move out, you’ll need to settle electricity and water bills as well. This involves arranging for disconnection of services by the Qatar General Electricity and Water Cooperation. As soon as you have settled your bills, they will give you a Clearance Certificate, which your landlord may require as proof that all your bills have been paid.
If you have landline telephone and Internet, don’t forget to contact your telecommunications company to request for your final bill and cancellation of services. You may be asked to pay for a cancellation fee if you haven’t reached the minimum service period. Also, be sure to ask for a Clearance Certificate, as your landlord may ask for this as well.
6. Ship (or sell) your furniture.
If you are planning to ship your furniture, look for a shipping company that can help you make the necessary arrangements. Another option would be to sell your furniture. There are many expats who might be looking for a secondhand sofa, dining set, and other furnishings. You can offer these to your friends and colleagues, or post your items online.
7. Ship (or sell) your car.
The same goes for your car. If you are planning to ship your car, look for a car shipping company that ships to your destination. Also, you’ll need to prepare these documents:
- Copy of your Passport;
- Copy of your Qatar ID;
- Your Driver’s License;
- Your original Car Registration;
- Car Export Certificate issued by the Traffic Department; and
- Certificate of Origin issued by Qatar Chamber (QC).
On the other hand, you could opt to sell your car. Again, you could offer it to friends, colleagues, or newly-arrived expats who don’t mind buying a secondhand car. You could also post it online; just make sure that you do all of this way ahead of your date of departure.
8. Relocate your pet(s).
If you have a pet and you’re planning to relocate it with you, don’t worry as there are some airlines (e.g. Qatar Airways) that allow pets. You’ll need to prepare these requirements first:
- Copy of your passport;
- Your pet’s updated vaccination records;
- Flight ticket (for your pet) confirmed at least five days before the flight;
- Travel box approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA);
- Veterinary Health Certificate issued by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment; and
- Other requirements for pet travel in your destination (these may vary per country).
On the other hand, if you do not have enough time to prepare all of these things, consider “re-homing” your pet instead. You might have a friend or colleague who would love to take care of your pet. You could also bring it to an animal centre for help in finding a new home.
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As you can see, leaving the country for good involves taking care of important matters, so that you do not encounter any problems or complications upon leaving. Once you have settled all of these things, you can now look forward to the next step of your life’s journey!