Oman is a popular destination for expat workers, particularly those who work in the construction and oil industries, but there are restrictions on how far overseas personnel can integrate into Omani society. For example, foreigners are not granted citizenship and cannot own property. If you are looking to visit Oman, you will need a visa. Please read on for further information.
Will I need a visa?
You will not need a visa if you are travelling to Oman from Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, or New Zealand.
If you are not from one of the above nations, you will need a visa. Therefore, if you are from the EU, Canada, the UK, the USA, or Australia, you will need to apply for a visa before you travel.
If you have a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) passport or residency permit, you can obtain a visa on arrival at any Omani border posts, by filling in a form at the border. Note that GCC citizens do not need a visa, but GCC residents do.
How do I apply for an entry visa?
The easiest way to apply for an entry visa is online. For a tourist visa, either single- or multiple-entry, Oman has now introduced an electronic visa. You will no longer be able to apply for this type of visa on arrival.
When applying for an electronic Oman tourist visa, you will need the following:
• A passport valid for at least six months upon arrival
• A valid hotel reservation in Oman
• A return ticket
• A valid email address, as the visa will be sent to you via this method
To complete your application, you must upload a scan of your passport and submit an international passport standard photo.
The single-entry eVisa (a.k.a. 26B tourist visit visa) is valid for 30 days from the date you arrive in Oman. It must be used within six months of being approved. If it is not used in this time period, the travel document becomes invalid.
The multi-entry eVisa (aka 36B visit visa) is valid for one year from the date you arrive in Oman. It allows multiple entries of a maximum of one month each time. It also must be first used within six months of its approval.
You cannot extend your eVisa, but must instead leave Oman and reapply. If you want to live and work in Oman, you will need a residence visa and a local sponsor. See below for information on how to obtain a work permit.
Oman has a number of other forms of visa:
• Employment visa (see below)
• Family joining/residence visa
• Student visa
• Investor visa
• Transit visa
You can check which visas are available on the website of the Royal Omani Police, who are responsible for issuing them.
How long does it take?
An eVisa should have a maximum turnaround time of 24 hours. In practice, some are issued within a few minutes.
How much does it cost?
A tourist visa costs 20 riyals (US$52).
What will I need to apply for a work visa?
You will need a work permit before you can legally work in Oman, and it is wise to set this up before you relocate. You will also need a sponsor, who can either be your employer or someone else (such as a business partner). They will be responsible for you while you are in the country, and they will need to find you accommodation, open a bank account for you and so on.
As with a number of other Middle Eastern states, because your employer is often your sponsor and has arranged your work permit, changing jobs can be difficult. Some employers require a six-month waiting period if you leave their employ, before you can get another job. Others may issue you with a No Objection Certificate, stating that you are permitted to seek other work. Generous employment packages, and the concomitant expense, mean that employers are reluctant to lose you at the end of your contract, as they have made significant investment in you.
The Ministry of Manpower must issue a permit for your company to bring you over. This Labor License will depend on:
• The company being compliant with Omanization rules, i.e. the maximum quota for foreign employees in that sector not having been reached
• The number of foreign staff being appropriate for the company’s operations
• You yourself having the appropriate qualifications for the job
Your employer will then need to submit:
• An Omanization plan, describing the positions that will be filled by Omani nationals at certain times
• A list of the expatriate employees required, including you, which discloses your position and gender
• A copy of your passport
• Attested copies of your qualifications
• Attestation from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in your home nation
• Attestation by the Oman embassy in your home nation
You may need to submit the results of a medical check.
Once permission has been granted to hire you, your employer will need to submit a visa application to the Immigration Department of the Royal Oman Police. You / your employer will need to submit:
• A copy of your passport with at least six months’ validity
• A copy of the Labor License
• Your letter of invitation or job offer from the registered company in Oman
• A medical certificate, if required
• Two passport photos
• Proof of your qualifications
You / your employer may also need to pay a processing fee and a fee for the visa itself.
Bringing a pet into Oman
You can bring your pet into the country, and you do not need to have it microchipped, although this is advisable. It will need to have:
• A rabies vaccination
• A health certificate
• An import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Animal Health Department – this permit must be applied for in person by either you, your sponsor, or an agent