Visas for Oman
Expats will be relieved to know that the process of securing a visa for Oman is relatively hassle-free. Tourist visas for Oman are especially easy to come by, and although the process of securing employment visas for expats in Oman requires a lot of paperwork, most of this is undertaken by the expat's Omani employer.
Tourist visas (visitor's visas) for Oman
Nationals of countries on a designated list are able to obtain single-entry tourist visas or multiple-entry business visas on arrival in Oman. These include nationals of Australia, the US, UK, South Africa and most of the EU.
Nationals of these countries are able to get a single- or multiple-entry visa for Oman by merely presenting their passport and filling in an application form at their point of entry into Oman. A passport valid for use within six months from the date of issuance is required, and it is a good idea to also show proof a return ticket, to show intention to leave Oman within a reasonable time frame.
Employment visas for Oman
Expats looking to live and work in Oman will require an employment visa, a document that can only be obtained in partnership with a sponsoring Omani employer. Thus, it’s necessary to have a job before applying for this visa.
Although the application process for this visa demands a significant amount of paperwork, the good news for expats is that the administrative burden of application falls largely on the shoulders of their Omani employers.
Due to the fact that a prospective employer invests so much in helping the prospective employee obtain the employment visa, it is very difficult to change jobs while in Oman. In order to do this, expats will need a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from their employer (very rarely given); or else will need to leave the country for a period of at least two years and start the employment visa application all over again.
Employment visas are valid for two years, and allow for multiple entries.
As part of its programme of Omanisation, Omani authorities are becoming increasingly strict about the employment of foreign nationals, who require significant skills and employment experience to be assured of being granted an employment visa. In some cases, the authorities will need to be convinced that a position could not adequately be filled by an Omani citizen. If a visa application is denied, applicants are not entitled to an explanation from the consular authorities.
Family joining and family residence visas for Oman
Family joining and family residence visas are granted to the spouses of holders of Omani employment visas, as well as to their children (provided they are younger than 21 years old). They are valid for two years, and allow for multiple entries.
Family joining visas are applied for when families are travelling to Oman to join their spouse who is already working there, while family residence visas may be applied for while both parties are still in their home country.
The process is much the same: expats will require a sponsor to act on their behalf, and will need to supply certified copies of marriage certificates to prove their status as a 'family unit'. The family joining visas are generally easier to procure, as the spouse who is already in Oman (on an employment visa, and possessing a resident card) can easily prove their legal right to reside in the country.
*Visa regulations are subject to change at short notice and expats should contact their respective embassy or consulate for the latest details.