Oman Tour Guide - Visas

Oman Tour Guide - Visas Last updated on Wednesday 14th April 2010

The Omani immigration authorities reserve the right to reject any applicant on arrival, even if the passenger meets all requirements as per the guideline.

Just a few years ago, Oman admitted no one -- even other Gulf Arabs -- without visas. That has all changed now and the sultanate was reckoned to receive some 50,000 tourists in 1995.

Tourism is still new in Oman and a cautious approach has been taken to promoting it. The government makes no secret of the fact that only tourists who are prepared to spend about $100 a night are the sort officialdom welcomes to Oman.

Unless you have a Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) passport -- i.e. from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar or the United Arab Emirates -- you need a visa in order to enter the Sultanate of Oman. It is possible to get a two-year tourist or business visa that allows multiple entries and a maximum individual visit of six months.

Prior to your being issued a visa, however, you must get a No Objection Certificate (NOC). This is an official document stating that neither your Omani sponsor nor the government has any objection to your entering the country. (Note that NOCs are no longer necessary for US citizens.)

Once the NOC has been issued, you will be informed of its number and a telex or fax will be sent to the airline from the Omani Immigration Department quoting the number of the NOC and authorizing them to board you on the flight to Muscat. If the airline does not have this authorization, you will not be allowed to board the plane.

Once you arrive at the airport in Muscat, you must go to the NOC window where you will receive a small slip of paper which you take to passport control and exchange for a visa.

Evidence of travel to Israel will result in your being denied entry to Oman.

Getting the NOC

Some five-star hotels can arrange an NOC for businesspeople or tourists in about a week. Seeb International Airport is virtually the only place where this kind of NOC can be collected.

Women traveling alone do not seem to have any problem in getting an NOC. Occupations, however, are a different matter. A journalist might or might not get a visa even if he or she is only visiting the country for a holiday. A journalist planning to do any work at all in the country should go through the Ministry of Information. People of Palestinian origin are also likely to have difficulties getting an NOC.

In order to get a visa through a hotel, the procedure is fairly simple. Telex or fax the hotel, make a reservation and send them a copy of the first page of your passport. It is sometimes a good idea as well to include a list of countries you have visited in the past year. The hotel may also want four photos.

Be sure to give the hotel your exact arrival details and include a contact number so you can be informed when the NOC is ready. The hotel will add a small charge to your bill for this service; normally you will be required to stay at least three nights in the hotel which arranges your NOC.

In theory, visa extensions are available to tourists and businesspeople through their sponsors, but you will probably have to have a good reason for wanting one. Two-year Exit/Re-entry visas are not available for tourists and are not necessary for resident expatriates.

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