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Oman

If you’re travelling to Oman, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information.

Get travel and medical insurance

Before travelling, the Department strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical repatriation/evacuation, repatriation of remains and legal costs. You should check any exclusions and, in particular, that your policy covers you for the activities you want to undertake.

Overview

Security status

We advise Irish citizens in Oman to Exercise a High Degree of Caution.

Latest alert

Due to the ongoing risk of piracy, we advise against all but essential travel by yacht and leisure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from the shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean bounded by the following latitude and longitude: 15°N in the Red Sea, 23° N in the Arabian Sea, 78° E and 15°S in the Indian Ocean.

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, start by talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

There is no Irish Embassy in Oman, so we are limited in the help we can provide in the event of an emergency. You can contact the Irish Embassy in Riyadh if you require assistance or advice. Irish citizens with a genuine emergency can leave a voicemail message on the outside of office hours. Make sure to leave your name, mobile number, current location and the nature of the emergency. An Embassy Duty Officer will return your call.

Other EU Embassies

You can also contact the Embassies or Consulates of other EU countries for emergency consular assistance, advice and support.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and security

Social unrest

The political situation in Oman is reasonably stable but there can be occasional outbreaks of social unrest. Always keep yourself informed of what is going on around you by monitoring local media and staying in contact with your hotel or tour organiser. And avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational.  

Terrorism

There is a threat from terrorism generally in the region. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests, as they have been elsewhere in the region.

Crime

Be vigilant particularly in public places. Avoid large gatherings and all demonstrations and always take sensible precautions to protect yourself from crime: 

  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together - leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place;
  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport (and travel and insurance documents) with family or friends at home;
  • Avoid showing large sums of money in public and don’t use ATMs after dark, especially if you’re alone. Check no one has followed you after conducting your business;
  • Avoid dark and unlit streets and stairways, and arrange to be picked up or dropped off as close to your hotel or apartment entrance as possible; and
  • Keep a close eye on your personal belongings and hold on to them in public places such as internet cafés, train and bus stations.

Reporting crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Oman, report it to the local police immediately. If you require further assistance you can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Riyadh if you need help.

Driving

If you are planning to drive in Oman, you should be cautious. Driving is on the right and driving standards are good, by regional standards, but drivers do tend to speed and tailgate. Remember traffic laws in Oman are strictly enforced. If you want to drive:

  • Bring your full Irish driver’s licence and your international driving permit and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance;
  • The legal blood alcohol level in Oman is close to zero and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is against the law. There’s a minimum 48 hours in jail for any traffic offence in which the driver tests positive for alcohol;
  • Be aware of Oman’s traffic laws, which are strictly imposed;
  • Keep your vehicle doors locked and your bags kept out of sight to prevent opportunistic bag-snatching if you’re stopped at traffic lights; and
  • Don’t use a mobile phone whilst driving (you can be given an on-the-spot fine).

Local travel

There are good roads in Muscat and between Muscat and major towns in the interior. However, driving at night can be dangerous outside Muscat, as there is a risk of hitting camels that stray onto the road.

If you are involved in an accident you must stay with your vehicle and call the Royal Oman Police.  If you are involved in a minor accident, it may not be necessary to call the police, but you must follow the procedures set out on the ROP website. You must keep a Minor Road Traffic Accident form in your car. You can get one from the ROP website or from your insurance company. Car rental companies are responsible for keeping forms in their cars.

All off-road travel should be with at least two vehicles suitably equipped in case of emergencies. If you are intending such travel, you should take out sufficient insurance to meet the costs of rescue. 

Hiring a vehicle

If you are hiring a vehicle, we advise you not to hand over your passport as a form of security. If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Rental and company vehicles in particular have been vulnerable to robbery in the Thumrait, Marmul and Nimr area of Southern Oman. If you rent a car, you should take advice on security from the hire company before you travel.

Maritime safety

Many areas of the Gulf of Aden are highly sensitive. Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected, and there have been occasional arrests. Piracy in the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden is also increasing in frequency, and is a significant threat. 

We advise against all but essential travel by yacht and leisure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from the shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean bounded by the following latitude and longitude: 15°N in the Red Sea, 23° N in the Arabian Sea, 78° E and 15°S in the Indian Ocean.

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behaviour may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Muslim culture

Oman is a Muslim state and Islamic customs are strictly observed. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions. Dress conservatively, be aware of your actions and take care not to offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or other religious festivals, or if you intend to visit religious areas.

During Ramadan, Muslims are not permitted to eat, drink or smoke during daylight hours. To avoid offence, you should not eat, drink or smoke in public during this time.

Female travellers

In public, general modesty of behaviour and dress is expected from women. Avoid wearing shorts or tight-fitting clothes, particularly in downtown areas, as you’re likely to attract unwelcome attention. There have been some reported cases of sexual harassment.

Illegal drugs

The import and use of narcotics is forbidden and can lead to imprisonment. There are severe penalties for drug offences including, in some cases, the death penalty. ‘Soft’ drugs are treated as seriously as ‘hard’ drugs. Recent experience has shown that possession of cannabis, even in quantities of less than one gram, will bring a minimum prison sentence of 12 months followed by deportation.

Alcohol

Non-Muslims can import alcohol, to a maximum of two litres per family. It can be bought at a duty-free shop at the airport on arrival, but within Oman, you can only buy alcohol by personal licence or at licensed hotels and restaurants.

Forbidden products

Pork products are available at specially licensed food outlets.

LGBT

Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Oman. Caution and discretion are advised at all times.

Natural disasters and climate

Flooding

While Oman's climate is generally dry, heavy rains can fall and cause flash flooding. Such flash floods have caused injuries and deaths. Check local weather forecasts and seek advice about travelling conditions, particularly if you’re considering any off-road travel and adventure tourism.

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

If you’re unsure of the entry requirements for Oman, including visa and other immigration information, ask your travel agent or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Oman. You can also check with them how long your passport must be valid for.

Passports

It’s advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

Your passport must be valid for six months from the date of entry into Bahrain.

If you are subject to a travel ban, involved in legal proceedings, have unpaid debt or are a child subject to a custody dispute, you may be prevented from leaving the country. You could be fined and/or detained if you overstay or fail to extend your legal residency. You can be fined up to OMR10 per day up to a maximum of OMR500 for overstaying.

Foreign nationals must pay all outstanding debts and traffic fines before leaving the country. If you haven’t paid fines before you leave you may experience delays or be prevented from leaving the country. You can pay fines at the airport.

Health

Health - Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)

Since September, 2012, cases of a novel severe respiratory illness due to Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus infection (MERS-CoV) have been occurring in the Arabian Peninsula. The infection has led to a number of deaths. For the latest information, go to the coronavirus infections section of the WHO website and for further information please consult the HSE-Health Protection Surveillance Centre website.