Monday, November 23, 2009

Visas, and other Documentation Required to Enter Oman

photograph: Omani border checkpoint on the drive from Dubai
The movement of foreigners is tightly controlled in Oman, and issuing of visas and other permits is subject to strict bureaucratic procedures.

photograph: Omani visa

Those whose applications are denied have little chance of appealing their status. Fortunately, the average expatriate doesn’t need to deal with much of the bureaucracy. Most companies and institutions employ ‘fixers,´ whose job is to wade through the government´s red tape to obtain work and residence visas for foreign workers and their families. photograph: Omani securities forms

If you are assigned a fixer, he will also act as your guide whenever your presence is required at a government office

Even with a fixer, you will be required to assemble a number of documents in order to apply for entry into Oman. The required documents include the following: photograph: passport with UAE exit stamp, and Omani entry stamp

•a passport valid for at least six months (it’s useful to have at least three or four photocopies);
•at least six passport-size photographs;
•a marriage certificate (if applicable);
•birth certificates for all family members;
•a medical certificate in the case of workers.

Foreigners working in Oman must have a certificate to show that they’re in good general health and free from HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. In some cases, you may be able to arrange for a test after you arrive in Oman. Your sponsor will advise you what’s required.

Note that you will be disqualified from entry if you have any connection to Israel: Israeli passport, entry stamp, visa, and so on.

While you’re in Oman, you’re required to carry identification documents (either your passport or a national identitiy card), and you must have your entry and residence visas available at all times. Labor officials often carry out spot checks on businesses in search of workers employed illegally and to inspect foreign employees´ passports.

So long as you obey the law and carry the required documents, you will have a pleasant and hospitable stay in Oman.

This article is an extract from Living and Working in Gulf States & Saudi Arabia:

For tourists and touristas, Oman gives out two kinds of visa, a single entry stamp for 30 days, or a multi-entry stamp valid for 730 days with a maximum stay of 30 days at a time.

Visas: How to obtain a visa

For many years, Oman remained closed off from the rest of the world, and it was nearly impossible to gain entry.

The situation has changed and it’s now easier to enter Oman, a country known for its varied, beautiful landscapes and charming people. Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals can enter the Sultanate freely, while other foreigners require visas. In 2003, the Omani government passed new immigration regulations and a complete overhaul of its visa categories.

Single Entry Visa
This category covers tourists, businesspeople, and what were previously classified as "short-term visitors." Single entry visas are issued at all ports of entry in Oman. All you have to do is submit your identification and pay a small fee, and you will be issued a visa valid for one month.

These visas can also be obtained at Omani embassies and consulates abroad prior to your arrival.

If you are caught outstaying your visa´s validity period you will be penalized with daily fines equivalent to the fee you paid for the visa.

Multiple Entry Visa
This, too, is obtained at Omani ports of entry after you fill out an application and pay an application fee. Multiple entry visas are valid for a period of one year, though you may only remain in Oman for three weeks at a time. In addition, at least three weeks must pass between each of your visits. This visa is ideal for travellers who do frequent business in Oman, or those who frequently visit family.

Multiple entry visas cannot be extended. As with single entry visas, if you violate any of the stipulated validity periods you will be charged daily fines equal to the fee you paid for the visa.

Express visa
Foreigners nationals who are not eligible for single or multiple entry visas (check with the Ministry of Information ) have to apply for express visas. These are issued by the Omani Directorate General of Passports and Residency through Omani consulates and embassies abroad. Applications may also be submitted to Omani travel agencies abroad.

Express visas are valid for two weeks, and may not be extended. The same fines as multiple and single entry visas are applied if you outstay an express visa´s validity.

Employment visa
Foreigners between the ages of 21 and 60 are eligible for employment visas. In addition to the standard entry documents, employment visa applicants must submit a letter of invitation from their employer and an official work permit issued by the Omani Directorate General of Labor. Certain nationalities may also be required to submit labor permits or identification from the embassy of their home country. For more information, consult an Omani embassy or consulate.

Apply for an employment visa at an Omani embassy or consulate abroad. Your application will then be processed by the Omani Directorate General of Passports and Residence.

The Omani authorities are exrtremely strict about employment of foreign nationals. In processing your application, they will carefully consider your qualifications and work experience and whether your employer has Omani employees that could do the job. Furthermore, if the authorities determine that your job could be done by a hypothetical Omani national - in other words, doesn´t require a foreigner, they will reject your application.

If your application is rejected, you will not necessarily be told why.

Student visas
if you are coming to Oman to study at a university or language program you will require a student visa. In order to obtain a student visa, you will need a sponsor (your school will serve as your sponsor). Apply for a student visa at an Omani embassy or consulate in your home country.
Student visas usually cover periods of either one or two years, and are considered multiple entry visas. If you decide to continue your studies in Oman beyond your visa´s expiration date, you may apply for an extension with your original application materials through the Directorate of Passports and Residence.

Other visas
For information om additional, more specialized visa types (such as seaman´s transit visas), their required application materials and validity periods, consult the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs .

Visas issued by the Emirate of Dubai
If you hold a valid Dubai visa of any kind (except employment), that visa is also valid for Oman, and will remain so until it expires. Additionally, Dubai nationals are allowed to visit Oman for up to three weeks without a visa.


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