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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 demonstrations and the threat of terrorist attacks.
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.
There is a constant and high terrorist threat throughout the Arabian Peninsula. From time to time, reports emerge that terrorists plan to attack specific locations in one of these countries. Targets could include government buildings, public areas, tourist sites and Western interests. Heightened security measures are currently in place and may be reinforced upon short notice. Maintain a high level of vigilance and personal security awareness at all times. Exercise caution in areas known to be frequented by foreigners (commercial, public, touristic), monitor local developments and follow the advice of local authorities. You are also advised to register and keep in contact with the Consulate of Canada in Muscat or the Embassy of Canada in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, as well as to carefully follow messages issued through the Registration of Canadians Abroad service.
Demonstrations may occur. Regional developments and socio-economic conditions are usually the main causes of concern. They can lead to significant disruptions to traffic and public transportation. 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 personal belongings, 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 devices or suspicious packages nearby.
Treat mail and packages from unfamiliar sources with suspicion. Contact the sponsor or the police if you suspect anything unusual.
There have been reports of physical and verbal harassment toward women travelling alone. Consult our publication entitled Her Own Way: A Woman’s Safe-Travel Guide for travel safety information specifically aimed at Canadian women.
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, do not move the vehicle until the police have made an official report. In the Governorate of Muscat, however, drivers involved in an accident are now required to move their vehicles to the side of the road to reduce congestion. Traffic regulations specify that anyone deemed responsible for a motor vehicle accident may be held in jail for 48 hours. Consult the Royal Oman Police website for more information on traffic rules.
Off-road driving can be hazardous and should only be undertaken in a convoy of four-wheel-drive vehicles with an experienced guide. Leave a travel itinerary with a relative 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. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the 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 consulate 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 must present a passport to visit Oman, 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.
Work visas must be obtained by your employer in Oman, either in advance or after your arrival on a single-entry visa. Omani employers often retain foreign employees’ passports as a condition of employment, which is illegal. Exercise caution in agreeing to this practice, which could restrict your ability to travel and provide undue leverage to the employer in disputes.
Health entry requirements
You must produce proof of yellow fever vaccination if arriving from an infected area.
Canadians have been denied entry into Oman because their passports bore: a) an Israeli visa; b) an Israeli border stamp; or c) an Egyptian or Jordanian border stamp issued by an office bordering Israel. Such a stamp would indicate the traveller entered from Israel.
If you are travelling in the Middle East, your passport could come under increased scrutiny by immigration authorities, and the authenticity of your passports could be questioned due to incidents of possible misuse. Contact the nearest Canadian government office or the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa for advice and assistance.
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.
Some areas of the country are considered of strategic importance and require authorization by the Omani authorities.
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, acupucture or 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.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a limited risk of malaria in this country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by mosquitoes. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in well-screened air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet or pre-treating travel gear with insecticides.
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.
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, such as 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.
Respect restrictions concerning the consumption of alcohol. Do not drink alcohol outside licensed hotels. Public intoxication is advised against.
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 the original container for prescription medications.
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.
Dual citizenship is not legally recognized, which may limit the ability of Canadian officials to provide consular services. You should travel using your Canadian passport and present yourself as Canadian to foreign authorities at all times. Consult our publication entitled Dual Citizenship: What You Need to Know for more information.
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 law. It is difficult for a Western woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through the Omani courts. Minor children of an Omani-national father must have their father’s permission to leave the country.
Suspects as well as witnesses to incidents 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 in the far south, often resulting in flooding. 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 high winds (over 100 km/hr) and heavy rain. During any storm, flash floods and mudslides may occur, causing damage and inaccessibility to numerous 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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