Latest update

This Advice was last issued on Friday, 18 October 2013.   It contains updated information under Laws (be aware of possible exit restrictions if you are involved in commercial disputes) and other editorial amendments. We continue to advise Australians to exercise normal safety precautions in Oman.

Oman overall

Summary

  • We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Oman.
  • Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media for information about possible new safety or security risks.
  • You should avoid all protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent. You should take particular care in the period surrounding Friday prayers.
  • Driving standards in Oman are lower than those in Australia. The annual death toll on Omani roads is extremely high. Many drivers do not adhere to road rules, and visibility on roads can be affected by poor weather.
  • Australia has an Honorary Consul in Oman who can provide limited consular assistance. However, in the first instance, Australians should contact the Australian Embassy in Saudi Arabia for consular assistance.
  • Be a smart traveller. Before heading overseas:
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Entry and exit

Visa and other entry and exit conditions (such as currency, customs and quarantine regulations) change regularly. Contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Oman for the most up-to-date information.

If you are arriving from a country where yellow fever is endemic, you will be required to present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate to be allowed entry into Oman. The World Health Organization provides a list of countries endemic for yellow fever.

The importation of pornography is forbidden.

When in Oman, children born of an Omani father are considered to be Omani nationals and require their father's permission to depart the country.

If a traveller's passport contains evidence of entry to Israel, or another country's border crossing points with Israel, entry will be denied.

Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia. You should carry copies of a recent passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas.

Safety and security

Terrorism

We advise you to exercise normal safety precautions in Oman.

International terrorist groups are active in the Arabian Peninsula and attacks against targets in Oman cannot be ruled out.

Terrorism is a threat throughout the world. You can find more information about this threat in our General advice to Australian travellers.

Civil unrest/political tension

We advise you to exercise normal security precautions.

You should avoid all protests and demonstrations as they have the potential to turn violent. You should take particular care in the period surrounding Friday prayers.

Pay close attention to your personal security and monitor the media and other local information sources for information about possible new safety and security risks.

Crime

Oman has a low incidence of crime. Tourists are occasionally the victims of petty crime, such as burglaries and theft.

Money and valuables

Before you go, organise a variety of ways to access your money overseas, such as credit cards, travellers' cheques, cash, debit cards or cash cards. Australian currency and travellers' cheques are not accepted in many countries. Consult with your bank to find out which is the most appropriate currency to carry and whether your ATM card will work in Oman.

In Oman, visitors should carry their passport and residents should carry their Omani identification in a safe place at all times for identification purposes.

Make two photocopies of valuable documents such as your passport, tickets, visas and travellers' cheques. Keep one copy with you in a separate place to the original and leave another copy with someone at home.

While travelling, don't carry too much cash and remember that expensive watches, jewellery and cameras may be tempting targets for thieves.

As a sensible precaution against luggage tampering, including theft, lock your luggage. Information on luggage safety is available from Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

Your passport is a valuable document that is attractive to criminals who may try to use your identity to commit crimes. It should always be kept in a safe place. You are required by Australian law to report a lost or stolen passport. If your passport is lost or stolen overseas, report it online or contact the nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate as soon as possible.

You are required to pay an additional fee to have a lost or stolen passport replaced. In some cases, the Government may also restrict the length of validity or type of replacement passports.

Local travel

The annual death toll on Omani roads is extremely high. Many drivers do not adhere to road rules, and visibility on roads can be affected by poor weather. Off-road driving is hazardous as is driving outside Muscat, particularly after dark. Road conditions in some parts of the country are poor and there is a risk of camels straying on to the roads. Traffic accidents are regarded as one of the most significant risks to those visiting or living in Oman. For further advice, see our road travel page.

Authorisation from the Omani government is required for travel to some areas.

Travellers entering Oman or the Gulf area by sea should be aware that many areas are sensitive in relation to security and territory. In particular, maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf are the subject of jurisdictional disputes. There are reports of detentions and inspections of vessels and arrest.

Piracy occurs in the coastal areas of Oman, Yemen and Saudi Arabia. See our piracy bulletin for further information. The International Maritime Bureau issues piracy reports on its website.

Women should take care when travelling alone, particularly at night.

The safety standards of transport and tour operators, including adventure activities, are not always of a high standard. Sufficient safety equipment may not be provided and recommended maintenance standards and safety precautions may not be observed.

Airline safety

Please refer to our air travel page for information about aviation safety and security.

Laws

When you are in Oman, be aware that local laws and penalties, including ones that appear harsh by Australian standards, do apply to you. If you are arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you but we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Information on what Australian consular officers can and cannot do to help Australians in trouble overseas is available from the Consular Services Charter.

The Australian Embassy in Riyadh does not have direct access to Omani Government institutions (police stations, jails, hospitals, etc) and is obliged to formally seek access via the Omani Embassy in Riyadh. This can cause delays for those requiring consular assistance.

Penalties for drug offences are severe and include the death penalty. Possession of even small amounts of so-called 'soft drugs' is punishable by prison sentences of at least 12 months.

Serious offences, such as murder, may attract the death penalty.

Australians who might engage in activities that involve local legal matters, particularly with regard to family law (divorce, child custody and child support), are strongly advised to seek professional advice and ensure they are aware of their rights and responsibilities. Be aware that you may not be allowed to leave Oman if you are involved in commercial or labour disputes, have unpaid depts, or if legal proceedings are underway.

Homosexual acts are illegal and penalties include imprisonment. See our LGBTI travellers page.

It is illegal to use aggressive, obscene or abusive language or gestures in public and penalties include imprisonment and deportation.

Taking photographs of or near government buildings and other sensitive infrastructure, including oilfields, is illegal and can lead to detention.

Possession of pornography is illegal.

Some Australian criminal laws, such as those relating to money laundering, bribery of foreign public officials, terrorism, forced marriage, female genital mutilation, child pornography, and child sex tourism, apply to Australians overseas. Australians who commit these offences while overseas may be prosecuted in Australia.

Australian authorities are committed to combating sexual exploitation of children by Australians overseas. Australians may be prosecuted at home under Australian child sex tourism and child pornography laws. These laws provide severe penalties of up to 25 years’ imprisonment for Australians who engage in child sexual exploitation while outside of Australia.

Local customs

There are strict Islamic codes of dress and behaviour in Oman and you should take care not to offend. If in doubt, seek local advice.

Any displays of disrespect for Islam will cause great offence.

During Ramadan, eating, drinking and smoking between sunrise and sunset is forbidden for Muslims.

Australians travelling to Muslim countries and countries with significant Muslim communities should take great care to respect religious and cultural sensitivities, rules and customs. Ramadan and Shia religious festivals are particularly sensitive times.

Women, in particular, should be careful to dress modestly in public avoiding wearing tight clothes, shorts or low-cut tops. Loose fitting clothes that cover shoulders and legs will likely avoid unwarranted attention.

Hotels may refuse to provide accommodation to couples who are unable to provide proof of marriage.

Public displays of affection may cause offence.

As in most Muslim countries, there are restrictions on alcohol and pork products. However, there are some specially licensed food outlets and hotels that will stock these products for non-Muslims.

Information for dual nationals

Oman does not recognise dual nationality. This may limit the ability of the Australian Government to provide consular assistance to Australian/Omani dual nationals who are arrested or detained.

Our Dual nationals page provides further information for dual nationals.

Health

We strongly recommend that you take out comprehensive travel insurance that will cover any overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before you depart. Confirm that your insurance covers you for the whole time you'll be away and check what circumstances and activities are not included in your policy. Remember, regardless of how healthy and fit you are, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. The Australian Government will not pay for a traveller's medical expenses overseas or medical evacuation costs.

It is important to consider your physical and mental health before travelling overseas. We encourage you to consider having vaccinations before you travel. At least eight weeks before you depart, make an appointment with your doctor or travel clinic for a basic health check-up, and to discuss your travel plans and any implications for your health, particularly if you have an existing medical condition. The World Health Organization (WHO) provides information for travellers and our health page also provides useful information for travellers on staying healthy.

Health care in Oman is generally good, but can vary from region to region. Hospitals and clinics in the larger cities tend to be better equipped. Costs can be expensive, depending on the procedure. For serious illnesses or complex medical procedures, travellers may wish to be medically evacuated to a destination with appropriate facilities.

Malaria is generally considered to be under control in Oman. However, the risk remains due to environmental conditions such as high temperature and high humidity that allow mosquitoes to breed. Other insect-borne infections, including dengue fever and leishmaniasis also occur in Oman. Travellers should be particularly attentive to the risk of mosquito bites on the Musandam Peninsula. You should take precautions against insect bites by using insect repellent, wearing long, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing and ensuring your accommodation is mosquito proof.

The most common health hazard faced by travellers in Oman is dehydration and problems relating to the high temperatures in summer months. It is advisable for travellers to be aware of the dangers of the sun, and to remain well-hydrated. We advise you to boil all drinking water or to drink bottled water, and avoid ice cubes and raw and undercooked food.

Where to get help

Australia has an Honorary Consul in Oman who can provide limited consular assistance. However, in the first instance, Australians should contact the Australian Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for consular, passport and notarial enquires.

Australian Embassy, Riyadh

Abdullah Bin Hozafa Al-Shami Avenue
Diplomatic Quarter
Riyadh
KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA
Telephone: (966 11) 2500 900
Facsimile: (966 11) 2500 902
Website: www.saudiarabia.embassy.gov.au
Email: reg.riyadh@dfat.gov.au

The working week of the Embassy in Riyadh is Sunday to Thursday in accordance with local practice.

If you are travelling to Oman, whatever the reason and however long you'll be there, you should register with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade so we can contact you should the need arise. If you know any Australians in Oman, you should encourage them to register as well. You can register online or in person at any Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate. The information you provide will help us to contact you in an emergency - whether it is a natural disaster, civil disturbance or a family issue.

In a consular emergency if you are unable to contact the Embassy you can contact the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or 1300 555 135 within Australia.

In Australia, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Canberra may be contacted on (02) 6261 3305.

Additional information

Natural disasters, severe weather and climate

All oceanic regions of the world can experience tsunamis, but in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, there is a more frequent occurrence of large, destructive tsunamis because of the many large earthquakes along major tectonic plate boundaries and ocean trenches. See the Tsunami Awareness brochure.

The monsoon season is from June to September, when flooding may occur.

Information on natural disasters can be obtained from the Humanitarian Early Warning Service. If a natural disaster occurs, follow the advice of local authorities.

Sand and dust storms also occur.

For parents

For general information and tips on travelling with children see our Travelling with children page.



While every care has been taken in preparing this information, neither the Australian Government nor its agents or employees, including any member of Australia's diplomatic and consular staff abroad, can accept liability for any injury, loss or damage arising in respect of any statement contained herein.

Maps are presented for information only. The department accepts no responsibility for errors or omission of any geographic feature. Nomenclature and territorial boundaries may not necessarily reflect Australian Government policy.