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OMAN - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for Oman. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution due to potentially violent demonstrations and localized terrorist threats, particularly near the border with Yemen.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
Although Oman has not been subject to terrorist attacks, reports emerge periodically throughout the Arabian Peninsula that terrorists plan to attack specific locations. These are typically accompanied by a visible increase in the presence of security forces. Targets could include government buildings, public areas, areas frequented by tourists and Western interests. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times, particularly near the Yemeni border.
On September 21, 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) released a statement threatening retaliation for the American -led coalition campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. The statement encouraged opportunistic and indiscriminate attacks against citizens and interests of countries supporting the coalition, which includes Canada. Individuals and terrorist groups in the region may be inspired to carry out attacks in a show of solidarity with ISIL. Exercise a high degree of personal security awareness at all times, maintain a heightened level of vigilance and be aware of your surroundings.
Demonstrations may occur as a response to regional developments and socio-economic conditions. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation and may turn violent. Avoid all demonstrations and large gatherings, follow the advice of local authorities and monitor local media.
The crime rate is low and violence is rare, including against foreigners. Robbery and auto theft can occur. To reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim, do not show signs of affluence and ensure that your personal belongings and passports and other travel documents are secure at all times. Do not travel alone after dark.
Lock car doors and keep windows closed. Do not leave vehicles unattended. Inspect both the exterior and interior of your vehicle upon return to detect any attached device or suspicious package.
Treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with suspicion. Contact your visa sponsor or the police if you suspect anything unusual.
Exercise caution when driving in rural areas, especially after dark, because of roaming animals, insufficient lighting and speeding drivers.
In the event of an accident, wait until the police have made an official report before moving your vehicle, except in the Governorate of Muscat, where drivers involved in an accident must move their vehicles to the side of the road to reduce congestion. Anyone deemed responsible for a motor vehicle accident may be detained for 48 hours. Consult the Royal Oman Police for more information on traffic rules.
Off-road driving can be hazardous. Undertake off-road driving in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles and with an experienced guide only. Leave a travel itinerary with a family member or friend. Be well prepared and equipped with gasoline, water, food and a cellular phone if you are considering driving in the desert areas of Wahiba and Rub’ Al Khali.
Exercise caution when using taxis.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
General safety information
Carry identification documents at all times. Leave your passport in a safe place and carry a photocopy for identification purposes.
Cellular phone coverage may not be available in some parts of the country.
Dial 9999 for emergencies.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from Omani authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman or its consulates for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians visiting Oman must present a passport, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country.
Canadians must be in possession of a visa to visit Oman. A visa can be obtained upon arrival at Muscat International Airport. Seek advice from Omani authorities for detailed information on requirements related to each type of visa. Those overstaying the duration of their visa can expect heavy penalties.
Omani employers must obtain a work visa for you, either in advance or after you arrive, and have a single-entry visa. Omani employers often insist on retaining foreign employees’ passports as a condition of employment, which is illegal. Do not agree to this, as it could restrict your ability to travel and provide undue leverage to the employer in disputes.
Canadians have been denied entry into Oman because their passports bore an Israeli visa, an Israeli border stamp, or an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller has been in Israel.
Some areas of the country are considered of strategic importance and cannot be visited without authorization from Omani authorities.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
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Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in Western Asia, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in Western Asia. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in Western Asia, certain insects carry and spread diseases like chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, malaria, Rift Valley fever, and West Nile virus.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
There is no risk of malaria in this country.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in Western Asia, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical services and facilities
Modern medical care is available in main cities, but could be inadequate in remote areas. Immediate cash payment is often required.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
The work week is from Sunday to Thursday.
An international driving permit is recommended.
Illegal or restricted activities
Common-law relationships, homosexual relations, adultery and prostitution are illegal and are subject to severe punishment, including the death penalty.
Avoid physical contact, including holding hands, in public.
Possession of pornographic material is forbidden.
The use of drugs is prohibited. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are strict.
Prescription or over-the-counter drugs that are legal in Canada, such as codeine, may be restricted in Oman. Possession of such drugs could lead to a jail sentence. Carry your original prescription and keep prescription medications in their original container.
Follow traffic laws diligently. Penalties for violations, such as driving under the influence of alcohol, excessive speed and failure to wear seat belts, are stringent. It is forbidden to use cellular phones while driving.
Certain public areas may be restricted to men only or women only.
It is forbidden to photograph certain government buildings and military installations. Do not photograph people without their permission.
Omani authorities do not permit criticism of the government, the sultan or the society in general.
Books, videotapes and audio tapes may be reviewed by airport and other customs authorities prior to being released to the owner to ensure that their content is culturally acceptable.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized in Oman. If local authorities consider you an Omani citizen, they may refuse to grant you access to Canadian consular services, thereby preventing Canadian consular officials from providing you with those services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times to minimize this risk. Citizenship is determined solely by national laws, and the decision to recognize dual citizenship rests completely with the country in which you are located when seeking consular assistance. See Travelling as a dual citizen for more information.
Alcohol consumption and behaviour
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around June 18, 2015.
Respect restrictions concerning the consumption of alcohol. Do not drink alcohol outside licensed hotels. Public intoxication is advised against.
Children of an Omani-national father automatically acquire Omani citizenship at birth and must enter and leave the country on an Omani passport. Child custody decisions are based on Islamic (Sharia) law. It is difficult for a Western woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through a court decision. Minor children of an Omani-national father must have their father’s permission to leave the country.
Witnesses to incidents, as well as suspects, may be held for lengthy periods without access to legal counsel or consular officials. If access is granted, it may be severely limited by the Omani authorities. Authorities may withhold the passport of an individual involved in a legal process, pending resolution of the case. This could result in the delay of a planned departure.
Dress and behaviour
The country’s customs, laws and regulations adhere closely to Islamic practices and beliefs. Dress conservatively, behave discreetly and respect religious and social traditions to avoid offending local sensitivities.
Exercise particular care in your behaviour with others, especially officials, to avoid offending local sensitivities. Verbal insults and obscene gestures may be considered a criminal act and, if found guilty, you could face deportation, fines and/or a prison sentence.
The currency is the Omani rial (OMR). Credit cards and U.S. dollar traveller’s cheques are widely accepted.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
The rainy season extends from May to September, often resulting in flooding in the far south. Heavy rains may cause wadis (dry riverbeds) to overflow, flooding underpasses and tunnels.
Oman is subject to cyclones and tropical depressions, which are accompanied by strong winds and heavy rain. Flash floods and mudslides may occur, causing damage and inaccessibility to many transportation routes.
Sand and dust storms also occur.
Muscat - Consulate of Canada
Riyadh - Embassy of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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