Starting an import business is very lucrative in Qatar, because it has a high income level and is a quiet country that is not affected by Middle Eastern tensions.
If you aspire to enter this market, your first step is to be aware of the import conditions in Qatar.
In the following lines we explain to you in detail what you need to know about:
- Import requirements and conditions in Qatar, in particular the import of cars and foodstuffs.
- Documents required when importing into Qatar
- Qatar’s customs clearance system, customs duties.
Your knowledge of these points will contribute greatly to the success of your import safely and successfully, so let’s start with the requirements.
Requirements for practicing import and export activity in Qatar
1. Commercial registration that includes import and export activity
You must establish an import and export company, and this company wishing to import or export goods for commercial purposes must ensure import and export activity among its commercial activities registered in the commercial register of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
2. Tax Card
The Tax Authority in Qatar issues the tax card to give the owner or owners of the project the authority to conduct business activity within the country.
Citizens and residents can obtain the tax card as well as check the status of tax issuance, with ease as well as can be extracted online The General Tax Authority in the State of Qatar provides the service of issuing the tax card online to save time, by attaching the following documents:
- The company’s memorandum of association, articles of association and corporate regulations.
- License to practice commercial activity, if any.
- A lease contract or title deed for the company’s headquarters, branches and buildings certified by the Land Registry.
- Authorization of an auditor registered in the UAE to represent the company before management.
3. Product conformity to Qatari standards
The conditions for importing into Qatar do not differ from the general import conditions found in most countries, which are related to achieving the highest standards of safety and quality to maintain the health and safety of the Qatari citizen, including the delivery of health safety certificates for health products, quality certificates, and packaging regulations.
4. Other requirements related to the quality of imported goods
There are other requirements for importing into Qatar depending on the nature of the imported commodity, the most important of these commodities are cars and food, so let’s get to know the conditions for importing each of them:
Conditions for importing cars to Qatar
The Qatari car market is an open market in terms of determining prices, that is, car prices depend on supply and demand, and compared to the cost of buying a car in the West, vehicle prices are cheap in Qatar, and one of the most important things when importing cars into Qatar is to check if the car is designed to withstand and operate in hot weather in Qatar, whether spare parts and repairs for the model are readily available, and the fact that vehicles in Qatar are steered from the left.
If you are not a Qatari national, you must obtain a residence permit before you can import into the country. If you have not yet obtained the permit, you can request from another party to import the car on your behalf.
But in general, the conditions for importing cars to Qatar are:
- The car must have an export plate and official papers.
- The presence of removal companies to ensure that the correct procedures are followed.
- In case the vehicle enters by road, temporary border insurance is issued for a fee of QAR 100, after which the car must be registered in Qatar within 14 days.
- It is forbidden to import cars that have sunk or that have been exposed to an accident, fire, overturning or damage to the structure.
- It is forbidden to import cars that were used as taxis, police cars, and cars bearing logos related to school transport or the like.
- It is forbidden to import vehicles in the event of damage to the external structure of the vehicle, unless it is at the port of arrival, and a certificate from the competent authority proving this shall be submitted.
- It is forbidden to import vehicles whose steering is modified from right to left.
- It is also forbidden to import armored vehicles and transport vehicles for residents.
The documents that must be submitted at the border and the point of import and registration are:
- Proof of ownership in the original.
- A certified invoice indicating the value of the car.
- Original import declaration.
- Certificate of registration (from Qatar).
- Current insurance policy.
Conditions for importing foodstuffs in Qatar
One of the most important conditions for importing foodstuffs in Qatar is, the availability of health documents because verifying them is the first practical step in inspection procedures, including:
- Food consignment registration and inspection form is filled from the Ministry of Public Health website from the link here.
- A copy of the customs declaration.
- Packing list or so-called content list.
- Original health certificate issued by the country of origin and certified by the Qatari embassy therein.
- If the imported resources are meat or poultry, it is necessary to have the following
- Certificate of slaughter of meat and poultry
- Temperature reading records during transport when required.
- Any additional documents that are required, especially in case of emergency.
The most important documents and documents required when importing to Qatar
1. Customs declaration:
It is a document that is submitted electronically or manually and includes the origin, source, type, value and other distinctive elements of the goods issued by the customs department.
2. Proforma Invoice:
An invoice-form quotation that can be requested by the buyer for several reasons, such as applying for an import license, contracting for pre-shipment inspection, issuing a documentary letter of credit, or converting hard currency, as it plays a significant role in international trade operations for import customs purposes.
3. Commercial invoice with details of the goods
An invoice is an official document issued by the supplier indicating the types, quantities and prices of the goods supplied, and it is an official obligation for the importer to pay his dues in accordance with the terms of payment. For the importer, it is a purchase document proving the value of the goods.
4. Certificate of Origin:
An official document that is essential in international trade and that proves that the product mentioned in it was manufactured from a specific country in which it is also mentioned.
5. Packing List:
A list showing the contents of the shipment, along with details about the quantity, description and weight of this content.
It is a single general statement of the ship’s tonnage, signed by the carrier, captain or maritime agent entrusted with the ship, and includes information on the name and nationality of the ship, the ports of shipment and the Lebanese port of destination, the types of imported goods and the gross weight of each shipment, the number, numbers and measurements of containers, parcels or other packaging units and their distinctive marks.
7. Bill of Lading :
It is a document issued by the carrier or shipping company and acts as evidence of a contract of carriage between the shipper and the shipping line to carry out the carriage of goods under the terms and conditions agreed between you as an importer and them.
8. Insurance Certificate:
It is an insurance policy on goods to cover the risks to which imported goods may be exposed during the import journey, starting from their exit from the port of the exporting country until their arrival at one of the ports in the importing country.
9. Quality Certificate:
It is a certificate to confirm that shipments comply with the relevant technical regulations and that the safety standards of the importing authority meet the specifications, metrology and quality and are suitable for use in the importing country.
10. Certificate of Analysis:
A public or private laboratory report approved by the competent authorities for random samples of the shipment proving its compliance with safety standards.
11. General authorization of the customs broker:
A power of attorney that makes the customs broker able to carry out the necessary procedures, submit and sign documents on behalf of its owner until the shipment leaves the customs port and delivers it to a specific destination.
Qatar Customs Clearance System (Al Nadeeb)
What is the customs clearance system in Qatar (Al Nadeeb)?
It is the “single window” for electronic customs clearance in Qatar, built to keep pace with technological developments, aims to link all ministries and government agencies with an electronic system that organizes and simplifies customs procedures and meets regional requirements and complies with international standards, from the services it provides:
- Viewing, modifying, activating and suspending user accounts
- Access to customs declarations and records
- Payment of customs duties
- Complete customs papers and documents including customs declaration
- View and modify company data
How to register in the Qatari customs clearance system (Al-Nadeeb)
You have two options for registering the company either online or through the customs office:
First: Through the website:
- The authorized signatory in the name of the company can log in to the Qatar Single Window system for customs clearance using the company’s smart card to register it.
- If the smart card is linked to more than one company, select the company you want to activate.
- Enter the CR number.
- Complete the details and click on the “Activate” key.
Second: You can visit the customs service office located at Doha Port and submit the following documents:
- Complete registration form, (can be downloaded from Qatar One Window for customs clearance website)
- Valid copy of commercial registration
- Valid copy of the original record
- A copy of the Qatari ID of the authorized signatory
- A copy of the Qatari ID of the company manager
- Trade or shipping license for traders and freight forwarders
- Customs clearance license for shipping agencies
Customs duties in Qatar
All goods imported into the State of Qatar are subject to a relative customs duty, based on the value of the goods (usually 5%), or on a piece basis, and the value of the goods is calculated in accordance with the regulations of the Ports and Customs Law.
- General cargo: 5%
- Iron: 20%
- Urea and ammonia: 30%
- Cigarettes, tobacco and tobacco products: 100% or QAR 1,000 per 1,000 cigarettes, whichever is higher.
Qatari customs exempts personal effects, household items, imports of charitable institutions and returned goods from customs duties, as well as diplomatic and military exemptions. Goods cleared for “free zones” and duty-free shops are also duty-free.
Importing to Qatar is undoubtedly very profitable,,, but you have to study the market and know its need and the amount of supply and demand well and develop a sales and distribution plan and a marketing plan, and before that identify all the requirements and conditions for importing to Qatar to be aware and not expose yourself to problems that you can avoid in order to achieve success and abundant profit, God willing.