Oman Is Implementing New Visa Rules, No Longer Allowing Visa On Arrival

Oman is easily one of the most beautiful countries in the Middle East, and I can’t recommend a trip there enough. While Muscat itself is a pretty cool city, the real wonders of Oman are outside of Muscat, as the landscape is breathtaking. Oman has everything from sand dunes to mountains to waterfalls to beautiful waterfront property.

In the past when I visited Oman I’ve always just gotten a visa on arrival. While you could get a visa in advance, it never seemed worth it to me, as I’ve only had to wait a few minutes at Muscat Airport, where the process of obtaining a visa on arrival is quick, easy, and cheap.

Oman is changing up how they issue visas, and it’s something to be aware of. Oman has been transitioning to an eVisa system, allowing visitors to apply online rather than having to go to a consulate. However, up until now the option has still been there to just get a visa on arrival.

As of March 21, 2018, Oman will only issue tourist eVisas. That means the only way to get a tourist visa to Oman will be online, and not at a consulate or on arrival in Oman. This system was first launched last July for travelers from 67 countries, and has progressively been expanded since. The timing of this coincidences with Muscat Airport’s new terminal opening, as that’s happening on March 20.

It has been a while since I’ve visited Oman, so one thing I wasn’t aware of is that Oman quadrupled the cost of tourist visas last April from OMR5 (13USD) to OMR20 (52USD), per Gulf Business. All of this comes as Oman is trying to increase the number of tourists they welcome by 2020 to four million.

Personally I’m somewhat indifferent when it comes to them switching from visas on arrival to eVisas. It’s one more thing to remember before the trip, but at least it’s one less line to wait in on arrival. However, what I’m not a fan of is that they quadrupled the cost to visit their country, something which doesn’t seem in line with their goal of increasing tourism significantly. $50+ for an eVisa is certainly one of the more expensive ones out there…

Comments

  1. The reason they want to increase tourism is to diversify their income due to low oil prices. It’s not that they want to increase the number of visitors per se but that they want to increase the revenue from tourism. So, it makes sense to set the visa cost where they believe they will maximize revenue, not individual visitors, both directly from fees and by attracting “spendier” visitors who wont be dissuaded based on the higher cost.

    At the same time, they extended the length of the visa from 10 days to 1 month.

  2. traveling always has a cheap side too and i thought you (Ben) would know that?!?!
    There is a different way, for NON Visa requirement to enter the Oman!
    Traveling trough Dubai and have the Visa stamp of Dubai (ONLY DUBAI, not any other Emirat) in your passport and cont. to Oman from there, THEN (and only then!) you can avoid the Visa for the Oman!
    Just a hint from Bavaria to you globe trotters!
    Money saved again, Happy traveling!

  3. Raising the price of the eVisa isn’t going to encourage people to visit. In the grand scheme of things $50 to enter a country isn’t going to stop someone who was already planning to visit Oman but if you’re doing research and see that cost on top of all the other costs associated with travel you may just decide to visit somewhere that doesn’t have a $50 eVisa fee.

  4. Lucky, can you buy the visa same day? In other words, If you are incredibly Dubai, and decide to fly to Muscat for the weekend, can you apply that morning and buy a ticket for that evening? Thanks

  5. The majority of European tourists to Oman are on a flight/hotel package and this new impost can be buried within the total price without too much drama.
    It will be more obvious to independent visitors making their own bookings ( and more particularly to those on a short transit visit on Oman Air, presuming transit passengers staying a night or more will require a visa). Oman Air is high quality/ great value but the appeal is lessened if one has to pay a premium for choosing to break the journey.
    I like Muscat , and thoroughly enjoy a couple of days or longer there, but it’s expensive to do independently ( and the trek into the city from the airport is a PITA).
    Salalah, in the south and ignored by most visitors, is wonderful during the monsoon period: the city literally becomes an oasis.

  6. @kq747 YOUR WELCOME!

    If you think of going to the Oman, GO FOR IT! People are amazingly friendly, see at least 1 “Wadi” (Oasis in the mountains) and get to the coast, south of Muscat.
    It’s NOT a cheap country but one of the most beautiful ones and safest as well as most charming one you can find anywhere on the globe!
    PLUS, nice airport lounges and soon (finally) a modern airport too!

  7. I loved my visit to Oman.

    Pro: surprisingly amazing infrastructure. Navigating muscat and the desert was incredibly easy. I felt as though I could have been driving through the California desert, only to have that thought disappear upon reaching a 4 structure town with 1 of the structures being a mosque. The roads were new, well kept, and well lit (we drove on some open highway early in the morning in the dark to watch baby turtles hatching). Muscat was an interesting city that had enough to see for a few day visit, all while feeling extremely safe at the same time. The desert is incredibly beautiful and the Wadi’s are easily accessible.

    Cons: Muscat doesn’t have a lot to offer and is slightly boring. It has a beautiful beach — one of most beautiful I’ve ever seen during sunset (the way the water recedes during the changing tide is incredible). It was simply sad seeing that almost nobody was taking advantage of it, and was almost completely empty. It’s sad that given such beautiful surroundings, the locals do not take advantage of it.

  8. @ STEFFLMRK

    “see at least 1 “Wadi” (Oasis in the mountains)”

    [pedant modern on/] A wadi is not an oasis, either in the mountains or anywhere else. Tip: don’t stand in one if there are rainstorms in the vicinity.

    Oman has long been on my list of places to visit. $5 or $50 visa won’t make any difference to my decision to visit. I either want to go or I don’t.

  9. I actually think this is a good move. We visited from Thailand two years ago and there was an unwritten rule that Thais were only granted a seven-day visa, despite the government website saying a 30-day visa was allowed. My wife is Thai, I am American. We were told for the first time about this policy upon checking in at the airport in Bangkok, they let us board, but told us an earlier return flight would be at our own cost if denied entry. Another issue, we we told that we would have to show $1600USD cash on arrival (which was not the case) for a two-week trip. Again, told at the airport, not in advance. Credit cards weren’t considered proof of funds.

    On arrival to Muscat, the visa agent would not sell my wife more than a 7-day visa. I had to go talk to immigration, show prepaid hotels, rental car, etc and convince him that we were married before he allowed us a 30-day visa for her. For me, it was no problem. Even after buying the 30-day visa, we still were delayed and asked many follow up questions.

    An e-visa in advance would have completely avoided this situation. The airline dropped the ball, along with the Oman government immigration website.

    I saw many Asian tourists on our flight without hotel accommodations or seeking longer than a 7-day visa being given problems by Oman immigration. Only Malaysians were allowed to pass without question. Right or wrong, be clear, that’s all I ask.

    All said, we had a great trip. Beautiful country, amazing nature and forts and so enjoyable to drive. If you do the Salalah to Muscat stretch, stop for petrol at every station, they can be few and far between.

  10. I hope you have better luck than me trying to use their websites. I spent FIVE HOURS without success trying to apply. Any questions were redirected to either the home page or the ether. The Omani Police site ( rop.gov.com.om) was no better.

  11. Just for future reference – a wadi is a dry creek bed (when not raining in the mountains) but watch out for the flash floods if it is. Highways can actually pass through wadis so you must be careful when it it raining. The highway will have water depth marking posts so you can judge if you will be able to cross. I think they are called arroyos in the US?

  12. LarryInNYC – Increasing the price doesn’t attract “spendier” tourists, it simply discourages those who spend less. Those wealthier tourists won’t spend more than they would have simply because there are less tourists around.

  13. Just checked the visa-website….the costs for a monthly visa are OR20 and for a tourist visa up to 10 days OR05 after 21st March 2018. Hope I got this right!
    If I stopover in Dubai (arriving from Singapore) can I still enter Oman with my Dubai entry visa in my passport?
    Many thanks.

  14. It’s okay, most my fellow Americans have no business traveling outside ‘Murca, it’s unpatriotic hahahaha.

  15. Ben… The Oman Police Web site is pretty much dysfunctional. Full of dead pages, information that’s obviously wrong or out of date. Please check this stuff out before posting… Otherwise I’m quite interested in going.

    How about attitudes towards unmarried Western lifestyle couples traveling together?

    And where’s the list of 67 countries eligible for evisa? Seems to be well hidden if it’s on the police Web site.

  16. Middl Eastern wankers, what do they think they are doing. I thought they wanted to increase tourism….. like I said, Middle Eastern wankers…..

  17. The big problem is the evisa site is truly terrrible. Unless they fix that people will be put off. Its not easy to navigate, not compatible with chrome, no help or faqs and photos you upload have to be under 512kb which means re sizing them. And in experience the visa did not show as an attachment in outlook but did in gmail.
    This needs to be a seamless process and it really isnt

  18. I am a little confused with the common visa between Dubai and Oman. I am a US citizen and USA is on the approved country list. However,I am not required to have a visa to enter Dubai. So how does this apply to me? Do I still need to purchase a visa to enter Oman? And I only wanted to go on a one day tour,going back to Dubai same day. Conditions state for visa that I must have proof of hotel accommodations,which I will not have. So very confused!! Any help/suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  19. @cheryl:
    All you need, is the entry stamp in your passport from Dubai (=the Visa). With that stamp you can enter Oman without having a Visa for the Oman. All you need to do, show the stamp as proof at time of entry at Oman airport that you’re arriving from Dubai.
    That exception has not yet been revised to my knowledge.
    No need of proof of accomidation or other sorts, that stamp does it all.
    But 1 day in Muscat or Salalah . . . does NOT give you much to see about that country!

  20. @Steffl
    Thanks so much for your reply and clarifying things for me,much appreciated! My family and I are actually taking a day tour from Dubai. The tour company will be driving us to Khasab where we then board a Dhow cruise of the fjords. Yes,this still makes for a very long day. But,this is all the time we had available and are grateful for having this opportunity to at least get a sample of Oman! It sounds so lovely and relaxing that we could not resist. Thanks again for your response! Quick question,don’t they automatically stamp your passport upon arrival in Dubai? Or must we be sure to ask for this?

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