Visiting Oman? Read on as the Oman Visa application process has had major changes made.
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, based on their announcement.
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.
The changes are concurrent with the opening of the new Terminal at Muscat International Airport on 20th March.
HOW TO USE OMAN’S NEW VISA APPLICATION WEBSITE
1: REGISTER to use the website (essential and with many fields)
2: FILL IN THE ONLINE FORM (ensure you have Passport Validity after arrival into Oman of greater than 6 months and that you are a National of one of these countries = Country List 1 noted as G1 or a GCC resident with profession as here) .
- Select Visit Unsponsored Visa / Tourist Visa (or Dubai / Qatar Common Tourist Visa IF you have a PAID for Visa from either of these and arrive directly from them with NO cancellation of that Visa).
- Select your sub-type of category (for example 26A for 10day visit or 26B for 30 day)
3: ATTACH DOCUMENTS – Passport Details Page / Passport type personal photo / Last Oman Visa stamp page (if you have one) / – small size less than 500kb JPG each. Note there is a requirement for a Hotel booking detail that is optional though an online cancelable one (Hotel.com etc) can be used
4: PAY ONLINE using credit card (note that some nationalities do not have to pay – New Zealand included)
5: RECEIVE THE eVISA confirmation by email (or rejection!) after some time (or check your eVisa account inbox)
6: PRINT THE eVISA confirmation
7: PRESENT THE PRINTED eVISA confirmation at an official point of entry (airport immigration etc) with your valid passport that is 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 the 5 minutes claimed (see below) to receive the eVisa, I suggest allow up to 3 hours as the approval procedure is probably partially a part manual approval. The time of day affects the volume of applicants, certainly if applying at night or over an Omani weekend. I blogged about the new system earlier.
You must arrive within a ‘month’ of the issuing of the eVISA confirmation, I suggest that you plan on arrival within 28days as that is a month equivalent for February or 4 weeks depending on their calculation method. The reason is that the visa expires after that ‘month’ and at the very least you will have wasted time and money on the application.
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). 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 paid 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 (read frequently asked questions on the ROP site), regulations announced that are not enforced, or unannounced regulations that are enforced.
I have been advised (by the people who obtained them and were included in Country List 1 noted as G1,) that visitors have obtained an ‘on demand’ visa (that is without first obtaining an eVisa) at land borders without any difficulty, despite these announced changes.
The Visa on Arrival counter at the Airport (note there are 3 International Airports, Muscat, Salalah and Sohar) is still open to people included in Country List 1 noted as G1, just before the Immigration Hall in Muscat/Salalah.
My 2017 update to the Bradt Guide to Oman is available as an eBook from most online stores – click here to get it now. And paperback worldwide.
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 (rather than hoping that the land border will allow instant visas on application, or that the airport application option is still available) 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, and who wants to arrive and find the process has been changed.
Use the search box on my web site to check for any updates to visa regulations in Oman .
Below is the background to the changes so you can make your own decisions about what is needed; initial newspaper reports on Feb 18th about the Oman Visa application process changes, 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.” The announcement, however, was clear that tourist visas would 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” .