Oman - Consular Information Sheet
June 19, 2001
COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Oman is a monarchy that has developed
rapidly in the past 30 years. Its economy is largely dependent
on the production and export of oil. Tourist facilities are available
in the capital city of Muscat, as well as in Salalah, Sohar, and
Nizwa. Modern tourist facilities also are being expanded in other
regions of the country.
ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: A valid passport and visa are required.
Omani embassies and consulates issue two-year, multiple-entry
tourist and/or business visas to qualified American citizens.
"No-objection certificates" for entry into Oman may
also be arranged through an Omani sponsor. Certain categories
of visitors may qualify to obtain a visa upon arrival at a port
of entry. Evidence of yellow fever immunization is required if
the traveler enters from an infected area. For further information
on entry requirements, contact the Embassy of the Sultanate of
Oman, 2535 Belmont Road N.W., Washington, D.C., telephone (202)
387-1980, 1981 or 1982.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of the relationship between the
child and an accompanying adult and, when the child's parent(s)
or legal guardian is not traveling with the child, permission
from that adult for the child's travel. Having such documentation
on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.
DUAL NATIONALITY: The Omani Government does not recognize
dual nationality. Omani authorities
usually confiscate the U.S. passports of U.S./Omani dual nationals.
This does not constitute loss of U.S. citizenship, but should
be reported to the U.S. Embassy in Muscat. For additional information,
please refer to the
Consular Affairs home page on the Internet at http://travel.state.gov
and click on Citizenship
and Nationality, then look under Dual Nationality/Non-Citizen
SAFETY AND SECURITY: American citizens in Oman are urged
to maintain a high level of security awareness. The Department
of State remains concerned about the possibility of terrorist
attacks against United States citizens and interests throughout
the world. The State Department suggests that all Americans in
Oman maintain an unpredictable schedule and vary travel routes
whenever possible. Americans also are urged to treat mail from
unfamiliar sources with suspicion and to avoid contact with any
suspicious, unfamiliar objects. Suspicious objects should be reported
to local authorities.
CRIME INFORMATION: The incidence of street crime is low
in Oman, and violent crimes are very rare. Nevertheless, travelers
to Oman should take normal precautions, such as avoiding travel
in deserted areas and after dark. Furthermore, travelers should
also take normal precautions to protect their personal property
from theft. In particular, valuables and currency should not be
left unsecured in hotel rooms. Common sense and caution are always
the best crime prevention. Useful information on ways to promote
and more trouble-free trip is available in the Department of State
pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad
for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa. The pamphlets
may be obtained from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402; via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs;
or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or
MEDICAL FACILITIES: Care and medicines are available in
Oman. Local medical treatment varies in quality, however, and
can be inadequate. While hospital emergency treatment is available,
there is no ambulance service in Oman. Malaria is a concern in
the interior and on the Batinah Coast. Doctors and hospitals often
expect immediate cash payment for health services.
MEDICAL INSURANCE: The Department of State strongly urges
Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior
to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas
and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical
evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs
incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage
is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do
not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.
However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance
plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including
emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans
should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require
payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical
evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme
difficulties. When consulting with your insurer prior to your
trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare
provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses
you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric
treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure Medical
Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via
the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information on vaccinations
and other health precautions may be obtained from the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299), or via
CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov.
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS: While in a foreign
country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ
significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Oman is provided for general reference only,
and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Good
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside/Ambulance Assistance: Poor -- There is
no ambulance service in Oman.
Road conditions, lighting, and traffic safety in cities and on
major highways are good. Drivers are generally courteous and follow
traffic rules. However, travel between cities, especially at night,
may be dangerous due to poor or no lighting, wandering livestock,
and speeding drivers.
Local Traffic Laws: Observing local traffic laws in Oman is a
must. Seat belts are required, and the use of cellular telephones
while driving is prohibited. Driving while under the influence
of alcohol is strictly prohibited. There are stringent penalties
for violation of these laws, particularly for driving under the
influence of alcohol. In the event of a traffic violation and
fine, drivers should pay the fine as directed and should not attempt
to pay the fine or negotiate payment at the time of the traffic
stop. In the event of an accident, the driver should not move
the vehicle from the location of the accident until police grant
permission; moving a vehicle is equivalent to an admission of
guilt. The Royal Oman Police may be contacted at telephone 968-560-099
Licensing: Visitors should not drive without a valid license.
Visitors in possession of a valid U.S. driver's license may drive
rental vehicles, but residents must have an Omani driver's license.
To obtain an Omani license, an American citizen must have a U.S.
license that has been valid for at least one year or must take
a driving test.
Insurance: Visitors hiring rental cars are urged to insure the
vehicles adequately against loss or damage. Residents of Oman
may insure their vehicles outside the Sultanate; however, third
party liability must be purchased locally.
Local Traffic Customs: The use of European-style traffic circles
is prevalent in Oman. However, unlike European traffic practice,
the driver on the inside lane always has priority. A car flashing
its high beams is generally asking for a chance to pass.
For additional general information
about road safety, including links to foreign government sites,
see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page
road safety overseas feature at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
For specific information concerning Omani driving permits, vehicle
inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the
Omani Office of Tourism of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry
via the Internet at http://www.omanet.com.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) has assessed the Government of Oman's civil aviation authority
as category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of Oman's air carrier operations. For
further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation
within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873 or visit
Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/. The U.S.
Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air
carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
As a result of the August 23, 2000, crash of a Gulf Air flight
in the Persian Gulf, DOD has recommended that military commanders
use air carriers other than Gulf Air for DOD official travel,
at least until investigation of the crash is complete. For information
regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact
DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: Travelers entering Oman may not carry
with them, or bring into the country in accompanied baggage, firearms,
ammunition, or pornography; all are subject to seizure if found.
No more than one bottle of liquor is permitted per non-Muslim
adult. Unaccompanied baggage and shipments of household goods
are subject to inspection. Books, videotapes, and audiotapes may
be reviewed prior to being released to the owner. A copy of the
packing list is required to clear effects through customs. It
is advisable to contact the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in
Washington for specific information regarding customs requirements.
Pets entering Oman require an import permit from the Ministry
of Agriculture and Fisheries, Department of Animal Health, before
shipment. Forms may be obtained from the Ministry through one's
sponsor and must be submitted with a copy of the pet's rabies
vaccination record and a health certificate. Vaccination against
rabies is required no less than one month and no more than six
months before the travel date. There are additional vaccination
requirements for dogs and cats less than 30 days old. A second
health certificate dated 48 hours before the pet travels is also
required. Pets may be subjected to a six-month quarantine, although
this is usually not required when importing the pet from a rabies-free
country. Pets must be manifested as cargo on an airway bill when
transported by air.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens
are subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes
differ significantly from those in the United States and may not
afford the protections available to the individual under U.S.
law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in
the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Omani
laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned.
Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs
in Oman are strict, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences
and heavy fines. Death sentences are possible for violators of
Oman's drug laws. Visitors are additionally cautioned that it
is illegal to use aggressive, obscene or abusive language or gestures
in public. In accordance with Omani law, penalties for these offenses
can range from deportation or fines to imprisonment. Civil charges
may also be filed.
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: Omani employers often ask that
expatriate employees deposit their passports with the company
as a condition of employment. Although customary, this practice
is not required by Omani law. The U.S. Embassy in Muscat advises
Americans to exercise caution in agreeing to employer confiscation
of passports, since this operates as a restraint on travel and
could give undue leverage to the employer in a dispute.
Islamic ideals provide the conservative foundation of Oman's
customs, laws and practices. Foreign visitors are expected to
remain sensitive to the Islamic culture, and not dress in a revealing
or provocative manner, including the wearing of sleeveless shirts
and blouses, halter tops and shorts. Athletic clothing is worn
in public only when the wearer is obviously engaged in athletic
activity. Western bathing attire, however, is permissible at hotel
pools and beaches.
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For
information on international adoption of children and international
parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site
at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone
EMBASSY LOCATION AND REGISTRATION: U.S. citizens living
in or visiting Oman are encouraged to register at the Consular
Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on
travel and security within Oman. The
U.S. Embassy in Oman is located on Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya
Street, Al Khuwair area, in the capital city of Muscat, P.O. Box
202, Medinat Al Sultan Qaboos 115, Sultanate of Oman, telephone
(968) 698-989, fax (968) 699-189. The
Embassy's e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and its
web site can be visited at http://www.usa.gov.om/.