Oman Visa No Longer Available Upon Arrival as of March 21, 2018

If you want to visit Oman, you will no longer be able to obtain a visa upon arrival. Instead — as of Wednesday, March 21, 2018 — you will need to apply for your visa via the Internet in advance of your trip.

Oman Visa No Longer Available Upon Arrival as of March 21, 2018

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

“The Directorate of Public Relations, Royal Oman Police hereby announces that as from Wednesday, March 21, 2018 applications for tourism visa and express visa will only be made online through Royal Oman Police site: evisa.rop.gov.om, and will not be received at the visa service desks”, according to the official Twitter account of eVisa Oman.

The Sultanate of Oman launched its electronic visa program back in June of 2017 for 67 countries during its first phase; and the second phase includes all other countries.

Although Oman eased restrictions for passport holders from 25 countries back in October by allowing those with entry visas to the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia or the Schengen area of Europe to obtain a non-sponsored tourist visa, the length of a stay has also increased from ten days to a month, with further extensions possible.

Unfortunately, the tourism visa fee increased by a whopping 300 percent from five Omani rials to 20 Omani rials — or approximately $13.00 to $52.00 in United States dollars — in April of 2017.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The sultanate is expecting to welcome greater than four million tourists annually by the year 2020 — but the elimination of “visas on arrival in Oman will deter impulse travellers and slow up business, tourism and industry figures warned Thursday”, according to this article written by Saleh Al-Shaibany of The National, which claims that Omani businesses are “angered” by the new visa rules. “Statistics from the Ministry of Tourism show that about 1.12 million people from the GCC countries travelled to Oman in 2017, about 6.5 percent more than a year earlier, of which 723,472 are from the United Arab Emirates.”

This potentially means that visitors who arrive in Oman from the United Arab Emirates for the day may be adversely affected — and tour operators and other businesses fear that the number of visitors may decrease as a result.

Summary

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

What Oman should have done is kept all options available — although I have to say that after waiting on that long line at the airport in Muscat when I visited Oman three years ago, applying for an electronic visa from the comfort of my home would likely have been preferable…

…if the visa had still cost five Omani rials. Regardless of what any official of the sultanate may believe, quadrupling the visa fee is usually not a way to increase tourism to a country. Let the tourist use the extra money to purchase goods and services within the country; and the country will still benefit from the taxes collected by the merchants.

Oman has bucked the trend of other countries which have either reduced or eliminated visa fees — such as Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Belarus. I give reasons as to why other countries should follow their leads in this article.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The good news — if you want to call it that — is that if you want to have fun with enclaves and exclaves, no visa is required to enter this exclave of Oman; so technically, you can still say that you have been to Oman if you have no interest in visiting the rest of the country.

If you are interested in visiting Oman, please read my series of trip reports to that country — and I still have additional articles to write pertaining to my visit there.

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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