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Oman

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Summary

Entry and exit

Visas

You'll need a visa to enter Oman. Apply for an e-visa online.

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) can change at short notice. Contact an Embassy or Consulate of the Sultanate of Oman for up-to-date information.

Other formalities

If your passport contains evidence of entry to Israel, or another country's border crossing points with Israel, you'll be denied entry to Oman.

Omani authorities will not allow you to enter Yemen without authorisation.

If you're arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic, you'll need a valid Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate for entry into Oman. More information: Yellow fever risk and certification requirements (by country, WHO)

Under Omani law, children born of an Omani father are Omani nationals and require their father's permission to depart Oman.

More information: Embassy or Consulate of the Sultanate of Oman

Passport

Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months from the date you intend to return to Australia.

Your passport is a valuable document and attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. Always keep it in a safe place.

Be aware of attempts to get access to your passport by deception. If you are forced to hand over your passport, contact the Australian Embassy in Saudi Arabia for advice.

If your passport is lost or stolen, you must notify the Australian Government as soon as possible.

By law, you must carry your passport at all times in Oman.

Money

The local currency is the Omani Rial (OMR). Declare all precious metals, local and foreign currency valued in excess of OMR 6,000 on arrival and departure. $US and Euros are readily exchanged at commercial banks and currency bureaux. Credit card facilities and ATMs are widely available throughout the country. Contact your bank to ensure your cards will work in Oman.

Safety and security

Terrorism

International terrorist groups are active in the Arabian Peninsula. Attacks against targets in Oman can't be ruled out.

  • Be alert to possible threats.
  • Report any suspicious activity or items to police.
  • Monitor the media for any new or emerging threats.
  • Take official warnings seriously.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • If there is an attack, leave the affected area immediately if it is safe to do so. 
  • Avoid the affected area in the aftermath of an attack because of the risk of secondary attacks.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. More information: Terrorist Threat Worldwide

Civil unrest and political tension

You could encounter protests, demonstrations, strikes or other unrest in Oman. These could turn violent.

  • Avoid all protests, demonstrations and large public gatherings.
  • Monitor media and other sources for advice of possible unrest. Avoid affected areas.
  • Take particular care in the period around Friday prayers.
  • Plan your activities to avoid potential unrest on days of national or commemorative significance
  • Be prepared to change your travel plans in case of disruptions.
  • If you're affected by transport disruptions, contact your airline, travel agent or insurer for assistance.

Armed conflict is ongoing in neighbouring Yemen.

  • Reconsider your need to travel areas of Oman bordering Yemen.
  • If you travel to border areas despite the risks, be alert to possible threats and seek local advice on routes to minimise threats to your security.

Crime

Oman has a low incidence of crime. Tourists are occasionally the victims of petty crime, such as burglaries and theft.

Women travelling alone are sometimes assaulted, particularly at night. Travellers camping in small groups in isolated areas have been assaulted in the past.

  • Carry only what you need. Leave other valuables in a secure location.
  • Take care of your belongings, especially in crowded places.
  • Secure your accommodation against intruders.
  • Avoid camping in isolated areas alone or in small groups.
  • If you're female and travelling alone, take extra safety precautions.

Local travel

Safety standards

The safety standards you might expect of transport and tour operators, including for adventure activities, are not always met. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed.

If you plan to participate in adventure activities, first talk to your travel insurer to check if the activity is covered by your insurance policy. Don't be afraid to ask about or insist on minimal safety requirements. Always use available safety equipment, such as lifejackets or seatbelts, even if others don't. If appropriate safety equipment is not available, use another provider.

Road travel

Traffic accidents are one of the most significant risks to those visiting or living in Oman. The annual death toll on Omani roads is extremely high. You are five times more likely to be killed in a motor vehicle accident in Oman than in Australia.

Safety hazards include drivers ignoring road rules, bad weather limiting visibility, poor road conditions (in some parts of the country) and camels straying on to roads. Driving outside major cities is particularly dangerous, especially after dark and off sealed roads.

Authorisation from the Omani government is required for travel to some areas.

  • Check you have adequate insurance cover and familiarise yourself with local traffic laws and practices before driving.
  • Check with Omani authorities whether you need approval before travel outside major cities.
  • Drive defensively and to weather and road conditions.
  • Avoid crossing flood waters covering roads.

More information: Road travel

Driver's licence

You can drive in Oman with a valid Australian driver's licence and an International Driving Permit (IDP). You must get your IDP before departing Australia. 

Motorcycles

Check with your travel insurer whether your policy covers you when using a motorcycle, quad bike or similar vehicle. Your policy may not cover you for accidents that occur while using these vehicles. Wear, and ensure your passenger wears, a correctly fastened and approved helmet. 

Taxis

Only use registered taxis and limousines, preferably those arranged through your hotel. Make sure you agree the fare with the driver before entering the taxi.

Public transport

Long-distance shared taxis and minibuses operate between major centres, though services are not networked or scheduled. Consider hiring a vehicle and driver for long-distance travel.

Sea travel

Many waters near Oman are sensitive because of territorial disputes and security issues. In particular, jurisdiction over the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf is disputed. Vessels have been inspected and people detained and arrested.

Piracy occurs in some coastal areas of Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.

If you travel by boat to or near Oman:

More information:

Air travel

The Australian Government does not provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths. See the Aviation Safety Network website for information on aviation safety in Oman.

More information: Air travel

Laws

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling, especially for an extended stay.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

The Australian Embassy in Riyadh does not have direct access to Omani Government institutions (police stations, jails, hospitals, etc.) and is obliged to formally seek access via the Omani Embassy in Riyadh. This can cause delays for those requiring consular assistance.

Drug laws

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. Possession of even small amounts of drugs is punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment. More information: Drugs

Other laws

If you engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support), seek professional advice. Make sure you know your rights and responsibilities. You may not be allowed to leave Oman if you're involved in commercial or labour disputes, have unpaid debts, or if legal proceedings are underway.

Serious offences, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.

Activities that are illegal in Oman include:

  • homosexual acts – more information: LGBTI travellers
  • Sex outside of marriage
  • using aggressive, obscene or abusive language or gestures in public, including on social media
  • making offensive remarks about, or insulting, Oman, the royal family, the local government or local officials
  • taking photographs of or near government buildings or other sensitive infrastructure, including oilfields
  • possession of pornography.

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws apply overseas. If you commit these offences, you may be prosecuted in Australia. Laws include those relating to:

  • bribery of foreign public officials
  • child pornography
  • child sex tourism
  • female genital mutilation
  • forced marriage
  • money laundering
  • terrorism.

More information: Staying within the law

Dual nationals

Oman does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance if you're a dual national and you're arrested or detained. Always travel on your Australian passport.

Local customs

There are strict Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Oman. Ramadan and Shia religious festivals are particularly sensitive times. Take care not to offend.

  • Avoid any display of disrespect for Islam.
  • If you're female, dress modestly in public - avoid wearing tight clothes, shorts or low-cut tops; choose loose fitting clothes that cover your shoulders and legs. 
  • Avoid bad language, rude gestures and public displays of affection, which may also get you into trouble with the police.
  • Respect restrictions on alcohol and pork products.
  • If in doubt, seek local advice.

Hotels may refuse accommodation to couples unable to provide proof of marriage.

The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is expected between early May and early June 2019. Take extra care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs during Ramadan. In particular, avoid eating, drinking and smoking in public and in the presence of people who are fasting. More information: Ramadan

Health 

Travel insurance

Take out comprehensive travel insurance before you depart to cover overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. Make sure your policy includes adequate coverage for any pre-existing conditions.

Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for your medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs. This can be very expensive and cost you many thousands of dollars upfront.

Confirm:

  • what circumstances and activities are and are not covered under your policy
  • that you are covered for the whole time you will be away.

More information: Travel insurance

Physical and mental health

Consider your physical and mental health before travelling, especially if you have an existing medical condition.

  • At least eight weeks before you depart, see your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and implications for your health.
  • Get vaccinated before you travel.

More information:

Medication

Not all medications available over the counter or by prescription in Australia are available in other countries. Some may be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Before you leave Australia, check if your medication is legal in each country you're travelling to and find out if any quantity restrictions or certification requirements apply. Consult your doctor about alternatives well in advance of travel

Take legal prescription medicine with you so you remain in good health. Carry copies of your prescription and a letter from your doctor stating what the medicine is, how much you'll take and that it's for personal use only.

More information: Prescription medicines

Health risks

Insect-borne diseases

Dengue fever, leishmaniasis and other insect-borne diseases occur in Oman, especially on the Musandam Peninsula. There is a low ongoing risk of Malaria due to Oman's high temperature and humidity.

Protect yourself against insect-borne diseases:

  • ensure your accommodation is insect proof
  • take measures to avoid insect bites, including using insect repellent and wearing long, loose fitting, light coloured clothing
  • consider taking malaria prevention medication
  • seek medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.

Heat conditions

The most common health hazard faced by travellers in Oman is dehydration and other problems relating to the high temperatures in summer months.

  • Stay well hydrated.
  • Avoid extended periods in direct sun.

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome

Cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) have been reported in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. Other countries have reported imported cases from returned travellers. More information: MERS Information Card (Department of Health) 

Other infectious diseases

You could encounter water-borne, food-borne and other infectious diseases. 

  • Practice good hygiene including frequent handwashing.
  • Boil all drinking water or drink bottled water.
  • Avoid ice cubes.
  • Avoid raw and undercooked food.
  • Seek medical advice if you have a fever or are suffering diarrhoea.

Medical facilities

Health care in Oman is generally good, but can vary from region to region. Hospitals and clinics in larger cities are better equipped.

Costs can be high, depending on the procedure.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

Natural disasters

The monsoon season is from June to September, when flooding may occur. Oman has occasional cyclones, particularly during the monsoon period. In 2007, Oman was struck by Cyclone Gonu, causing extensive damage to property and infrastructure and approximately 50 fatalities. There were localised storm surges and some flooding in coastal areas.

Rains can result in localised flooding of roads, including in mountain areas and river valleys. Do not attempt to cross roads cut by floodwaters.

Sand and dust storms can be a problem during the drier months (October to May).

If a natural disaster occurs:

  • secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location or carry it on you at all times (in a waterproof bag).
  • closely monitor local media and other sources such as the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System
  • follow the advice of local authorities
  • contact friends and family in Australia with regular updates about your welfare and whereabouts.

More information: Severe weather

Where to get help

Depending on what you need, your best option may be to contact your family, friends, airline, travel agent, tour operator, employer or travel insurer. Your travel insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Emergency phone numbers

  • Fire: phone 9999
  • Medical emergencies: phone 9999 or go direct to the hospital
  • Criminal issues: phone 9999 or visit the nearest police station

Always get a police report when reporting a crime.

Tourism services and products

For complaints relating to tourism services or products, contact your service provider directly.

Australian Government

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can't do to help you overseas.

Australia has an Honorary Consul in Oman who can provide limited consular assistance. For consular, passport and notarial enquires, contact the Australian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Embassy will liaise with the Honorary Consul as needed.

Australian Embassy, Riyadh

Abdullah Bin Hozafa Al-Shami Avenue
Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Telephone: (966 11) 250 0900
Facsimile: (966 11) 250 0902
Website: www.saudiarabia.embassy.gov.au
Twitter: @AusEmbRiyadh

The working week is Sunday to Thursday, in accordance with local practice. Check the Embassy website for information about opening hours and temporary closures that may affect service provision.

If you're unable to contact the Embassy in a consular emergency, contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

Additional information

Additional Resources