Oman is a monarchy that has developed rapidly in the past 25 years. Its economy is largely dependent on the production and export of oil. Tourist facilities are available in the capital city of Muscat, as well as in Salalah, Sohar, and Nizwa, and are being expanded elsewhere in the country.
A valid passport and visa are required. Omani embassies and consulates issue two-year, multiple-entry tourist and/or business visas to qualified American citizens. "No-objection certificates" for entry into Oman may also be arranged through an Omani sponsor. Evidence of yellow fever immunization is required if the traveler enters from an infected area. To obtain a visa or for details on entry and travel requirements, please contact the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, 2535 Belmont Road N.W., Washington, D.C. telephone (202) 387-1980, 1981 or 1982.
The incidence of street crime is low in Oman, and violent crimes are very rare. Nevertheless, travelers to Oman should take normal precautions, such as avoiding travel in deserted areas after dark and avoiding travel alone after dark. Furthermore, travelers should also take normal precautions to protect their personal property from theft. In particular, valuables and currency should not be left unsecured in hotel rooms. Common sense and caution are always the best crime prevention. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, A Safe Trip Abroad and Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa. They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at the Consular Affairs Home Page.
Care and medicines are available in Oman. However, local medical treatment varies in quality, and it can be inadequate. While hospital emergency treatment is available, there is no ambulance service in Oman. Malaria is a concern in the interior and on the Batinah Coast. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services.
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Oman is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of public transportation: Good
Urban road conditions/maintenance: Good
Rural road conditions/maintenance: Poor
Availability of roadside assistance: Poor
Road conditions, lighting and traffic safety in cities and on major highways are good. Omani residents are generally courteous drivers and follow traffic rules. Travel between cities, especially at night, may be dangerous due to poor or no lighting, wandering goats and camels, and speeding drivers. Observing traffic laws, especially those regarding seat belts and speed limits, is a must in Oman. There are stringent penalties for violation of these laws, particularly for driving under the influence of alcohol. Visitors should not drive without a valid license. Visitors in possession of an American driver's license may drive rental vehicles, but residents must have an Omani driver's license. To obtain one, an American citizen must have a U.S. license issued at least one year previously. Visitors hiring rental cars are urged to ensure that the vehicle they are renting is adequately insured against loss or damage. For additional information about road safety please see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page road safety overseas feature at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html.
Travelers entering Oman may not carry with them or in accompanied baggage any firearms, ammunition, or pornography; all are subject to seizure if found. No more than one bottle of liquor is permitted per non-Muslim adult. Unaccompanied baggage and shipments of household goods are also subject to inspection. Books, videotapes, and audiotapes may be reviewed prior to being released to the owner. A copy of the packing list is required to clear effects through customs.
Pets entering Oman require an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Department of Animal Health, before shipment. Forms may be obtained from the Ministry through one's sponsor and must be submitted with a copy of the pet's rabies vaccination record and a health certificate. Vaccination against rabies is required no less than one month and no more than six months before the travel date. There are additional vaccination requirements for dogs and cats less than 30 days old. A second health certificate dated 48 hours before the pet travels is also required. Pets may be subjected to a six-month quarantine, although this is usually not required when importing the pet from a rabies-free country. Pets must be manifested as cargo on an airway bill when transported by air.
Omani employers often ask that expatriate employees deposit their passports with the company as a condition of employment. Although customary, this practice is not required by Omani law. The U.S. Embassy advises Americans to exercise caution in agreeing to employer confiscation of passports, since this operates as a restraint on travel and could give undue leverage to the employer in any dispute.
Islamic ideals provide the conservative foundation of Oman's customs, laws and practices. Foreign visitors are expected to remain sensitive to the Islamic culture, and not dress in a revealing or provocative manner, including the wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter tops and shorts. Athletic clothing is worn in public only when the wearer is obviously engaged in athletic activity. Western bathing attire, however, is the norm at hotel pools and beaches.
Children of Omani fathers automatically acquire Omani citizenship at birth and must enter and leave the country on Omani passports, whether or not they are dual nationals. Child custody decisions in Oman are based on Islamic law. It is difficult for an American woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through the Omani courts. Minor children of Omani fathers must have their father's permission to depart the country, even if they are U.S. citizens. For information on international adoption of children, international parental child abduction, and international child support enforcement issues, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone (202) 736-7000.
U.S. citizens living in or visiting Oman are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Oman. The U.S. Embassy in Oman is located on Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya Street, Al Khuwair area, in the capital city of Muscat, P.O. Box 202, Medinat Al Sultan Qaboos 115, Sultanate of Oman, telephone (968) 698-989, fax (968) 699-189. The Embassy's e-mail address is email@example.com, and its web site can be visited at http://usembassy.state.gov/muscat/.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Oman's civil aviation authority as category 1 -- in compliance with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Oman's air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone 1-800-322-7873 or visit the FAA's Internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.htm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. As a result of the August 23, 2000, crash of a Gulf Air flight in the Persian Gulf, DOD has recommended that military commands use air carriers other than Gulf Air for DOD official travel, at least until investigation of the crash is complete. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.