Visiting Oman? Read on…
The issuing authority of visas for Oman, the Royal Oman Police have announced that the Oman Visa application process is updated – read what needs to be done to apply for an Oman visit visa.
Initial newspaper reports on Feb 18th gave little additional information to the actual announcement.
“Announcement From Wednesday, March 21, 2018 applications for tourism visa and express visa will only be available online.”
Express visas are available to foreign businessmen whose work requires them to visit the Sultanate. These visas are issued to higher qualified professionals on the request of their Omani commercial partners.
Later an article in The National, the UAE newspaper, was published on 22nd after the journalist had spoken with
Oman’s police (who) insisted Thursday that the new measures are an improvement.
“You can apply from anywhere in the world, and, receive the visa in five minutes. All it takes are three steps. We hope to increase the number of tourists coming to Oman with the new online procedures in greater number than the old procedures.”
The Royal Oman Police reinforced their decision in an interview with Forbes media though they said that “there will be an area in the arrivals (airport) terminal where they can apply online for their visa” .
The changes mean that the only way (according to the announcement) to apply for a tourist visa for Oman is to apply for it online. However after dealing with this online process, I will show an alternative method not mentioned by the ROP or media. You should also be a national of the permitted countries for an ‘on demand’ visa as given by the Royal Oman Police.
The changes are concurrent with the opening of the new Terminal at Muscat International Airport on 20th March. Given that if the system is implemented for the ’21st March’ – its unlikely that the old system will be implemented for a single day at the new airport and then a change made the day after the new terminal is opened. I suggest that visa applications for any arrival a few days before the 20th March are also made as per the new requirements (note visa price changes made in 2017) – and as the application system is already operating – why not use it well before it becomes essential.
HOW TO USE OMAN”S NEW VISA APPLICATION WEBSITE
1: Register to use the website
2: Fill in the online form & attach documents
3: Pay online using credit card
4: Receive the eVisa by email (or rejection!)
5: Print the eVisa
6: Present the printed eVisa at an official point of entry (airport immigration etc) with your valid passport – valid for at least 6 months after arrival.
There does not appear to be any change to the 48 hour pass available to Cruise Ship passengers.
It may be prudent to allow more than 5 minutes to receive the eVisa, certainly if applying at night or over an Omani weekend. I blogged about the new system earlier.
There is the joint visa between Qatar and Oman (link is the Qatar government information). Obtaining a paid for visa stamp (not simply an entry stamp) from the Qatari immigration authorities at Doha (currently 100 Qatari Rials = 27.5US$) should allow you to enter Oman without a need for a separate Oman visa (link is Oman ROP information and note their site seems to be in process of a major update – current cost 20 Omani Rials=52US$). The flight should be direct and Oman must be the first country entered after Qatar. This process is confirmed by being noted on the websites of both governments.
There is also the option of the joint Oman / Dubai visa – this link is the Oman ROP notice & note that the UAE does not mention this on its own pages and that there have been apparent announcements by the UAE government regarding land border entry locations that preclude this! If you obtain a stamped entry visa (not simply an entry stamp) from Dubai Emirate (not the other UAE Emirates) and enter Oman through the Dubai / Oman common border without travelling elsewhere, your Dubai visa stamp should be valid for Oman. You should note the announcement by the UAE on land borders I blogged about here. A flight between Dubai and Oman seems to avoid this uncertainty. Note that this reciprocal process is not mentioned on the UAE visa page.
Regular visitors to the region will be familiar with policy changes, regulations announced that are not enforced or unannounced regulations that are enforced. So while the above is written in good faith, you should always undertake your own enquiries with official departments. I do suggest that an online application is made before travel simply because of the changes that are being made continually to the application process and as it will give 100% assurance that a valid visa has been obtained.