Many expats in the UAE have been panicking this week due to headlines appearing in newspapers and on websites. “Oman Tourist Visa Hike” “It’s going to cost a lot more to pop over the border” “Oman Tourist Visas just got four times more expensive”…. and so on. Whilst it is true that the old 10 day/5 OMR visa has in effect been deleted and tourists now have to buy a 28 day/20 OMR visa, thus quadrupling the costs for those making a short visit, this does not apply to UAE based expats.
My partners at Ibex Adventures have checked with the Royal Oman Police and they have confirmed that if you are a GCC resident – that is, if you have a residency visa stamped in your passport from UAE, Saudi, Kuwait, Qatar or Bahrain – then those of you with approved professions*, which will be most of you, will be able to obtain a 28 day AGCC Foreign Resident Visa on arrival in Oman at a cost of FIVE Omani Riyals.
Find out more from the ROP website – click “visit unsponsored visas” > “view” > “29” > “sub-type” > “29A” > “detail”. Or you can just read the screen grab below!
*The approved professions as mentioned in #146 above are as follows. Note housewives, when accompanied by their sponsor (husband) will also qualify for this visa. Same for kids. Technically housewives need a 20 OMR visit visa when entering Oman on their own (ie without their sponsor), but there is no harm in asking for a GCCFR visa – the worst the guard can do is say no and process you on a Tourist Visit Visa.
AGGFR visas are granted on arrival at the border but be sure you tick the correct box when filling out the visa application form.You do not need a photo (#341 above) nor a copy of your passport (#342) – this only applies if you are applying for the visa online in advance.
Priced at 5 Oman Rials, the same price as the “old” 10 day visit visa for “ordinary” tourists, many expats have not been aware of the AGCC Foreign Residents visa and been ticking the “Tourist Visit Visa” box when heading for the weekend to Oman. These visas are not new, in fact I have been entering Oman with them, often for over 10 days at a time, since arriving in the UAE back in 2009. There can be a slight confusion now at the land borders, certainly at Wadi Jizzi and Hafeet; even although you are issued with an AGCCFR visa, the stamp still says “visit visa.” Up to a few months ago they used to have a different stamp and I have no idea why this has changed, but you should be charged the lower rate and if not, query why.
You might consider making life a little easier for the border guards by putting a paperclip on the passport page which holds your residency visa! (When done, transfer the paperclip to the page your new Oman Visa is on – this will make it quicker to find when the border guard stamps you “out” of Oman.)
Oman is waiting for you…. come on over!!!
For details of border crossing points you might like to check out my previous blog post – UAE-Oman Border Crossings: The Lowdown