News Oman Travel

Oman Visa: New Rules

March 10, 2018

oman visa new rules, mandatory evisa, required e-visa A big change is coming to Oman’s visa rules. Starting March 21, 2018 all visas must be processed through the online eVisa system. Meaning, NO visas will be issued on arrival at any ports of entry from this date forward. This is a big change for Oman’s growing tourism industry. What’s the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Oman visa rule change?

muscat's new airport, mct

Update March 25, 2018: Reports are coming in that there is a desk at the new Muscat International Airport Terminal to handle any arriving passenger without eVisa. However, this facility will NOT remain. No timeframe is given. Also, it is unclear what will happen if your arrive at a land border without an eVisa. Finally, the ROP claim the “eVisa process takes only five minutes.” (if you are lucky ;)

Good

This rule change coincides with the start of operations of the new terminal at Muscat International Airport, and tourists likely will see reduced time waiting to clear immigration and officially enter the kingdom. I also imagine that computerizing the immigration system fully will streamline the record keeping process for the Royal Oman Police (ROP).

Bad

However, what time you save at the airport or border crossing, you’ll loose during the planning of your trip. No longer can you just hop on a plane or cruise over the border. This mostly affects expats in Dubai who use the Sultanate as their weekend playground. Now, no matter what, you must conduct your travels with slightly more preparation.

No reason for the rule change was given by the ROP even though I did reach out to them. What’s even more interesting is some local tour companies still do not know about this pending change. I imagine there will be a lot of unhappy folks at the border crossings in the coming months.

Ugly

This whole change is all well and good if the many pieces are in place to make all this happen. I fear it is not, but I am optimistic. Readers and friends have reported to me that the online eVisa system doesn’t always work as expected. Over the last two years of its existence I’ve always encouraged visitors to use the system to streamline their arrival, and keep the visa-on-arrival option as a backup. However, this old-school option is soon to be gone.

Oman Visa – Final Thoughts

Oman eVisa
For a complete guide to getting into Oman, visit my constantly updated Oman - Get In guide here. On this page I tell you about all the dos and dont's when coming to the sultanate, whether it's by airplane, car, or boat. I even give you my tips to go along with all the important visa information. Check it out.

If even ten percent of visitors face trouble with the eVisa system this will be a disaster to the Omani tourism industry. Word will quickly spread. However, with a decent online support crew and available web developers, the ROP can address any issue that arrises, preserving Oman’s welcoming image.

For those of us who like to travel on a whim there is no need to fret. Oman’s GCC resident tourism visas, once issued, are valid for three months from the date if issuance. Which gets you up to 28 days in Oman once you enter. So, just keep one in your pocket all the time for that last minute trip.

Normal tourist visas have a six month use period and give you 30 days in Oman. If that’s not good enough for you, consider applying for a one year, multi entry visa to keep on hand.

Finally, do not forget about Oman’s 21A “Dubai / Oman Common Visa.” This is your free ticket into Oman for 21 days as it, “allows a visit to Oman for a person who is on the list of eligible nationalities, and who has a current tourist visa which was used to enter the Emirate of Dubai, and now wishes to enter Oman directly from Dubai.” This one appears to allow you to enter Oman on your Dubai tourist visa, you just get an Omani stamp at passport control. At the time of this writing it’s not something you can apply for at the eVisa site, so my previous sentence is an assumption.

So, despite all the changes, the ROP should have you covered. You just need to a little more planning before your next trip to Oman. Be sure to check the eVisa site for all the current information BEFORE you leave on your trip.

13 Clues You've Been in Oman too LongStay up to date.





Rub' al KhaliIf you like this post, you will probably also like my podcast about Oman called Sultanate. Each month, I bring you along on my adventures across the kingdom to share with you something truly unique. From the unwritten history of Muttrah Souq to the endangered “tigers” in the Dhofari mountains, we cover it all. Click the play button to listen ⬇︎

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10 Comments

  • Reply Candice March 11, 2018 at 1629

    I think it’s a surprising move given the increasingly high profile of Oman as a tourist destination and the government’s apparent keenness to develop the tourism industry. Especially so if it’s been rolled out before everything is working smoothly and tour operators have been informed. OK, maybe that last bit isn’t surprising, but it’s unfortunate.

    • Reply D. Michael March 11, 2018 at 1800

      Totally agree. Wishing there was more press about it for the unfortunate souls who will be getting caught unaware at the border in the next few months. However this is Oman, and Inshallah, it’ll all work out.

  • Reply Chantal March 12, 2018 at 0528

    In the past few days, my mom has made repeated attempts to apply for her e-visa with no success. I totally agree– if they don’t get their site running efficiently very soon, it will certainly hurt tourism.

    • Reply D. Michael March 12, 2018 at 0730

      Hi Chantal,
      Try using the contact email on the eVisa site. I’ve heard of success using their support. Let me know how it goes.

  • Reply Saleem Masih March 14, 2018 at 0451

    I apply for my cousin at 8 am 9 am i get email visa approved

    • Reply D. Michael March 14, 2018 at 0651

      Hi Saleem. This is a positive response. What country passport does your cousin hold? Thanks for the feedback.

  • Reply M phillips March 22, 2018 at 0038

    Agree the evisa site is an awful customer experience and it will put people off until they make it more user friendly. Navigation is poor, it doesn’t display properly in chrone browser, doing more than 1 visa at a time requires a degree in computer sciences and the photos have to be less than 512kb which for most people means downsizing their image files. Vety poor indeed

    • Reply D. Michael March 22, 2018 at 1337

      Hi Mr. Phillips, thanks for sharing your experience with us. Since I am a resident I don’t have first hand experience with this system and your feedback is greatly appreciated. I didn’t know about the image file size limit. That’s very small and most people will have no idea how to make it smaller. Very frustrating all around. Hope it gets better for us all in the future.

  • Reply Alvin April 27, 2018 at 1804

    hi there, I was wondering do i need to attach my arrival tickets to the online evisa application as there is no column for me to put my arrival dates to Oman. As i’m aware of all other visa application, they require us to let them know during the application for the arrival date to that country and departure date exiting the country. I did not find any column for that in the evisa online application. Is that normal or do i need to attach my tickets at the additional documents which is labelled optional? I’m holding a Malaysian passport.

    • Reply D. Michael May 24, 2018 at 1012

      Hi Alvin, as far as I am aware no, but please check for yourself. Sorry for the late reply. Enjoy Oman!

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