Ready to start a new life in Oman? Nestled in the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, its location, prosperity and authenticity, have made this small sultanate increasingly popular among expatriates. If you are wondering about the standard and cost of living in the country known as ‘Switzerland of the Gulf’, Foyer Global Health is here to provide you with up-to-date information on housing, healthcare, education, food, and taxes. Keep in mind, however, that the cost of living in Oman will obviously depend on several factors including your lifestyle, location, salary, personal habits and preferences, and your family situation.
Standard of living
Compared to other Middle Eastern countries, the standard of living in Oman is relatively high. Thanks to their generally price-indexed incomes, expatriates based in Oman can enjoy a high quality of life. In return, Oman offers modern infrastructure, especially in the major cities, top-notch health facilities and a well-developed education system.
The national currency is the Omani riyal (OMR). 1 OMR = USD 2.59 (as of 27 March 2023). The Omani rial is pegged to the US dollar (1 OMR = 2.6 USD).
2023 Cost of living Index in…
(Reference index: New York = 100)
When planning a relocation to Oman, it is important to take into account your budget for accommodation, especially if you are about to relocate to cities such as the capital city Muscat, Salalah or Sohar. Rental prices in Oman depend on the location, type and age of housing sought after. In upmarket areas such as a three-bedroom apartment ranges in price from USD 915 to USD 2368. People living in Muscat will pay higher rentals compared to other capitals of similar size. If you are single and looking for a one-bedroom flat, you can expect to pay around 400 OMR (USD 1,039). Compared to the United Arab Emirates, particularly Dubai and Abu Dhabi, rentals in Oman are slightly lower.
Water, Gas and Electricity
Compared to other Gulf countries such as the UAE, energy in Oman is relatively affordable. The cost of one cubic metre of water is around OMR 0.25 and a kilowatt hour costs around OMR 0.07. It is worth noting, however, that generally these charges are not included in the rent.
For expat families, education is also a significant expense. While there are free public schools available throughout the country, many foreigners choose to send their children to private schools for language, educational and cultural reasons. Tuition fees for private schools can be expensive compared to Europe and France,in particular. For example, tuition fees at the Lycée français de Muscat range from USD 9,000 to USD 14,000 and at the American School of Muscat from USD 13,000 to USD 27,000.
Medical costs in Oman can be high, especially if you opt for a private healthcare facility. To ensure your health needs and related expenses are comprehensively addressed, it is essential to subscribe to an international health insurance policy specifically designed for expatriates. Compared to the UAE, public medical facilities are relatively more affordable in Oman.
Food prices vary depending on where and what you buy. Generally, food prices are quite affordable. While local food staples are cheap: OMR 0.4 for 1kg of potatoes, OMR 0.8 for a dozen eggs, OMR 0.22 for a bottle of water, imported food can be expensive. Local restaurants are significantly cheaper than in France and Europe, with prices ranging from USD 4,5 and USD 11. On the other hand, high-end restaurants are more expensive.
Internet and telephone services
For a monthly internet subscription, you should expect to pay between USD 65 and USD 91. Telephone subscription fees are, however, more affordable.
Compared to other countries in the region, oil is relatively expensive in Oman, although it is cheaper than in Europe, Asia and the UK.
Clothing prices vary depending on quality, brand and segment. Mainstream fashion items are slightly more expensive in Oman than in Europe and the UK. For example, a dress from Zara or H&M, will average between USD 43 and USD 120; one pair of average Nike running shoes will cost about OMR 31.59.
Prices for cultural activities are quite similar to those in Europe and the United States. For example, you should expect to pay between OMR 3 and 5 (USD 7.8 and USD 13) for a cinema ticket and between OMR 2 and 5 (USD 5 and USD 13) for a museum ticket. For nature and wildlife tours or private half-day and full-day cruises, you should expect to spend between USD 110 and USD 215, which is comparable to Europe, the United States and the rest of the Middle East. Sports are relatively more expensive than in France.
The VAT came partially into force in April 2021 (5%). A zero rate is, however, applied to almost 500 basic food products, with the consequence of keeping the cost of living quite low in this area. While there is no income tax for individuals, companies operating in Oman are taxed at 15%.
Foyer Global Health: one-stop for expats
Foyer Global Health is the private international health insurance partner of expatriates in Oman. We offer tailor-made healthcare coverage specifically designed for expats projects and needs. For more information, get in touch with our experts!