Oman Basics

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The Basics


Time: GMT +4

Electricity: Electrical current is 220/240 volts, 50Hz. Plugs with rectangular, three-pin flat blades are used.

Money: The currency of Oman is the Omani rial (OMR), divided into 1,000 baisa. Foreign currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange bureaux, hotels, and at the airport. Outside banking hours, moneychangers operate in the evenings and at weekends. US Dollars are recommended. American Express, MasterCard, and Visa credit cards are readily accepted in large shops and hotels and by an increasing number of traders in souqs. Most banks in cities and towns have ATMs.

Currency Exchange Rates

OMR1.00 = USD 2.60GBP 2.03CAD 3.40AUD 3.81ZAR 37.95EUR 2.35NZD 4.10
Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only.

Language: The official language of Oman is Arabic, but English is widely spoken. Hotel staff often also speak German and French.

Entry requirements for Americans: A passport valid for six months from date of arrival is required. A one-month tourist visa or three-week business visa is obtainable on arrival for a fee.

Entry requirements for UK nationals: A passport valid for six months from date of arrival is required. A one-month tourist visa or three-week business visa is obtainable on arrival for a fee.

Entry requirements for Canadians: A passport valid for six months beyond date of arrival is required. A one-month tourist visa or three-week business visa is obtainable on arrival for a fee.

Entry requirements for Australians: A passport valid for six months from date of arrival is required. A one-month tourist visa or three-week business visa is obtainable on arrival for a fee.

Entry requirements for South Africans: A passport valid for six months beyond date of arrival is required. A one-month tourist visa or three-week business visa is obtainable on arrival for a fee.

Entry requirements for New Zealanders: A passport valid for six months beyond date of arrival is required. A visa is not required for stays of up to a maximum of three months.

Entry requirements for Irish nationals: A passport valid for six months beyond date of arrival is required. A one-month tourist visa or three-week business visa is obtainable on arrival for a fee.

Passport/Visa Note: All visitors (except those with Gulf Co-Operation Council passports) require a visa to enter Oman. Visas can be obtained on arrival. The visa fee must be paid in local currency (OMR) or by credit card. All visitors require a passport with spare pages, valid for six months, or a year for a multiple entry visa, onward or return tickets and a hotel reservation confirmation or a private residential address with contact details in Oman, and all documents needed for the next destination. E-visas can be obtained before departure at https://evisa.rop.gov.om/, passengers must have printed confirmation. Visitors with valid visas for Dubai and Qatar generally do not need a visa for Oman, but it is best to confirm this with the nearest embassy before travel.

Travel Health: No vaccinations are required for entry to Oman, except for yellow fever for those entering within six days of having been in an infected area. Visitors should ensure they are up to date on all routine vaccinations. Avoid mosquito bites, as dengue fever may be a risk, and there is a small risk of malaria in remote areas. Brucellosis is reported, particularly in the south of the country. Health and medical services in the country, particularly Muscat, are of a high standard Treatment is expensive for foreigners at these facilities, while Oman nationals receive free treatment. Therefore, health insurance is recommended. Food and water in Muscat is considered safe. But bottled water and precautions with unpasteurised milk are advised outside of the city.

Tipping: A service charge is usually added to bills. However, a 'little extra' of around 10 percent is appreciated.

Safety Information: Like all the Gulf States, Oman is considered to be under a high risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, particularly against Western interests. Therefore, vigilance is necessary. Crime, though, is not a problem for visitors, although common sense precautions should be practised. Rental and company vehicles have been vulnerable to robbery in the southern areas of Thumrait, Marmul, and Nimr. Piracy is considered a threat in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean. Women are advised not to wear shorts or scanty clothing in the towns to avoid risk of sexual harassment. It is advised to carry a copy of your passport at all times.

Local Customs: Oman is a predominantly Muslim country and visitors should respect religious sensitivity, particularly in the matter of dress and public conduct. Women, in particular, should wear loose fitting clothes that cover most of the body. Eating, drinking, and smoking in public during the holy month of Ramadan should be avoided, as it is forbidden by the Muslim culture. Homosexuality is sadly illegal in the country. Importing obscene publications or videos is subject to severe penalties. Alcohol is available only at licensed hotels and restaurants and penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are drastic. The legal blood alcohol level in the country is close to zero.

Business: The business world in Oman is minute, with a small core of families controlling most of the country's industry and trade. As in most of the Middle East, it is preferable to conduct business face to face and develop good working relations built on trust and friendship. Hospitality is important and visitors will be treated with respect. It is a good idea to have a basic idea of Omani customs and attempting to speak some Arabic will be appreciated. Business attire is usually formal with suits and ties the norm. Women in particular should dress modestly. English is spoken widely. The working week is normally from Sunday to Thursday, and hours can vary. Most businesses are open from 8am to 1pm and 4pm to 7pm.

Communications: The international direct dialling code for Oman is +968, and the outgoing international code 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 0044 for the UK). City/area codes are in use. Phone cards for public phone booths can be purchased from grocery stores and petrol stations. International phone calls can be made from most phone booths and local SIM cards are also widely available. There are internet cafes in main towns and cities, free wifi is available in most hotels and some restaurants.

Duty Free: Travellers to Oman do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes and 2 litres/2 bottles of liquor per family, provided they are non-Muslim visitors. Meat products officially require an Islamic slaughter certificate. Videotapes for personal use may be confiscated and sent to Ministry of National Heritage and Culture for verification. Prohibited items include dates (including shoots of date palm), coconut, ornamental palm trees, and parts thereof. Also prohibited are firearms and toy weapons, swords or knives, and flammable material, obscene reading material and non-canned foodstuffs from cholera-infected areas. Items of value may be exempt, subject to an assessment by a security officer.