Country guides Middle East
Electrical current is 220 volts, 50Hz. Plugs with rectangular, three-pin flat blades are used.
The official language of Oman is Arabic, but English is widely spoken. Hotel staff often also speak German and French.
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.
A service charge is usually added to bills, though a tip of around 10 percent is appreciated.
A yellow fever vaccination is required for travellers who have arrived from or transited through infected countries; all eligible travellers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines, as well as all routine vaccinations. Travellers should 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, though treatment is expensive for foreigners at these facilities. 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.
Like all the Gulf States, Oman is considered to be under a high risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, particularly against Western interests, so vigilance is necessary. The crime rate is low, but common sense precautions should be practised. 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 that travellers carry a copy of their passport at all times.
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.
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.
Travellers to Oman who are over the age of 21 do not have to pay duty on 400 cigarettes and 2 litres of wine and 48 cans of beer, provided they are non-Muslim visitors. Meat products officially require an Islamic slaughter certificate. Prohibited items include firearms, ammunition, weapons, fireworks, raw or prepared opium, leaves, flowers, seeds and stems of cannabis, and obscene reading material.
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). Local SIM cards are widely available, and free WiFi is available in most hotels and some restaurants.
Passport & Visa
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. 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. A passport that is valid for a minimum of six months from the date of arrival is required in most instances, but it is best to check with the nearest embassy before visiting.
A passport valid for six months from the date of arrival is required for US travellers. A visa is required.
A passport valid for six months from the date of arrival is required for UK travellers. A visa is required.
A passport valid for six months beyond the date of arrival is required for Canadian visitors. A visa is required.
A passport valid for six months from the date of arrival is required for Australian visitors. A visa is required.
A passport valid for six months beyond the date of arrival is required for South African visitors. A visa is required.
A passport valid for six months beyond the date of arrival is required for Irish visitors. A visa is required.
A passport valid for six months beyond the date of arrival is required for visitors from New Zealand. A visa is not required for stays of up to a maximum of three months.
Ministry of Heritage and Tourism: mht.gov.om9999 (General Emergencies)
Embassies / consulates in other countries
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, Washington DC, United States (also responsible for Canada): +1 202 387 1980.
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, London, United Kingdom (also responsible for Ireland): +44 (0)20 7225 0001, +44 (1)71 225 0001.
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, Tokyo, Japan (also responsible for Australia and New Zealand): +81 (0)3 5468 1088.
Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, Pretoria, South Africa: +27 (0)12 632 8301.
Consulate of the Sultanate of Oman, Auckland, New Zealand: +64 (0)9 522 4426.
Embassies / consulates in Oman
United States Embassy, Muscat: +968 246 43400.
British Embassy, Muscat: +968 246 09000.
Canadian Consulate, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: +966 1 488 2288.
Australian Embassy, Riyadh, Saudi Arabi: +966 (0)1 488 7788.
South African Embassy, Muscat: +968 2464 7300.
Irish Honorary Consul, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: +966 11 488 2300.
New Zealand Consulate, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: +966 1 488 7988.