There is an underlying threat from terrorism in Oman. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. For more general information see Terrorism Abroad
Terrorists continue to issue statements threatening to carry out attacks in the Gulf region. These include references to attacks on Western interests, including residential compounds, military, oil, transport and aviation interests.
For further information check British Embassy, Muscat - Oman
You should maintain a high level of security awareness, particularly in public places. You should avoid large gatherings and demonstrations. British nationals who are travelling to, or are currently in Oman are advised to register with the British Embassy.
For more general information see Terrorism Abroad
6,000 British nationals live in Oman and approximately 120,000 visited during FY 2006/2007. Most visits are trouble-free.
The law and order situation is generally good.
There have been some reported cases of robbery and other occasional incidents of violence in which foreigners have been victims. A man responsible for the attempted murders of two British Citizens in 2003 and 2004 has been apprehended, tried, found guilty and sentenced.
On 4 November 2008, we received a report of an incident involving a young child at Muscat International Airport on 30 October 2008. The child was the subject of an apparent attempted abduction. We are working with the authorities to determine the facts of the case, and the ROP are investigating the incident. This is the first report we have had of this type of incident in Oman. We advise all British nationals to exercise vigilance when they are in crowded public places with their children.
We have received reports of individuals calling at private homes claiming to be representatives of the Ministry of Health offering vaccines against bird flu. There is no Ministry of Health bird flu vaccination service. The "vaccination" is a drug, and victims are robbed while unconscious.
For more general information see Victims of Crime Abroad
Oman Country Profile
Developments in Iraq and on the Middle East Peace Process continue to have an impact on local public opinion in the region. You should be aware of local sensitivities on these issues. You should follow news reports and be alert to local and regional developments, which might trigger public disturbances.
You should take sensible precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.
You can drive on a UK driving licence. However, residents must obtain an Omani driving licence as soon as possible. In case of an accident a resident may find that a UK driving licence is not deemed valid for insurance purposes.
Holders of UK and certain other driving licences can currently obtain an Omani licence without taking a driving test. This does not apply automatically to holders of driving licences issued by the Isle of Man, Channel Islands or Overseas Territories.
Observe speed limits. If you are involved in a major road traffic accident (any accident which causes physical injuries to motorists, passengers or pedestrians or causes severe damage to the vehicles involved or damage to public or private properties) you must remain with your vehicle and summon the Royal Oman Police (ROP, tel. 9999). Since 1 June 2007, if you are involved in a minor road traffic accident, it may not be necessary to call the police, but you must follow the procedures set out on Royal Oman Police
. You must keep a Minor Road Traffic Accident form in your car. This is available from the Royal Oman Police website or from your insurance company. It is the responsibility of car rental companies to keep forms in their cars.
Driving at night can be dangerous outside Muscat, as there is a risk of hitting camels that stray on the road. Rainfall can cause sudden and severe flooding in dry riverbeds and on roads which cross them. Rental and company vehicles particularly 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 undertaking travel. 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 a major rescue operation.
Driving is on the right. The standards of the roads in Muscat and between Muscat and Nizwa in the interior are good. Driving standards are generally high, by regional levels, but drivers do tend to speed and tailgate. Extra vigilance should be taken when driving outside Muscat on main roads, which are not dual carriageways, as drivers can overtake with little consideration for oncoming traffic.
Traffic laws are strictly imposed in Oman. Seat belts must be worn in the front seats and you are not allowed to use a mobile phone whilst driving (you can be given an on-the-spot fine). Speed limits are clearly posted on major roads. There is a minimum 48 hours in jail for any traffic offence in which the driver tests positive for alcohol. (The legal blood alcohol level in Oman is close to zero). Since the beginning of 2008 the ROP have begun imposing minimum 48 hour jail sentences for traffic offences such as jumping a red light and using the hard shoulder/ emergency lane to overtake, as well as for driving with an expired or invalid driving licence.
You should not to offend local culture when driving, e.g. through abusive gestures or language. This can lead to complaints being lodged with the police, who have been taking forward cases of reported insulting behaviour to Omani citizens.
If you are travelling alone by car at night it is prudent (especially if you are a woman) to lock all doors and ensure car windows are closed.
For more general information see Driving Abroad
Many areas of the Gulf are highly sensitive, including near maritime boundaries and the islands of Abu Musa and the Tunbs in the southern Gulf. Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected; and there have been occasional arrests. Mariners should make careful enquiries before entering these waters or considering visiting ports.
On 30 March 2006, a Dhow capsized in Bahrain. There were 58 fatalities, including 12 British nationals. You should exercise care when travelling by Dhow, as the safety of these vessels may not be up to UK standards. You should also ensure that life jackets are available.
For more general information see River and Sea Safety
Local laws reflect the fact that Oman is a Muslim country. You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they do not offend other cultures or religious beliefs, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas. For more general information see Travelling during Ramadan
In public, general modesty of behaviour and dress is expected. Women who wear shorts or tight-fitting clothes, in particular in downtown areas, are likely to attract unwelcome attention. There have been some reported cases of sexual harassment.
We recommend that you carry a copy of your passport (if a visitor) or their Omani ID (if a resident) at all times for identification purposes.
The import (even temporary) of right hand drive vehicles is not allowed.
The import and use of narcotics and obscene material are 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. Possession of cannabis, even in quantities of less than one gram, will bring a minimum prison sentence of 12 months followed by deportation. Non-Muslims can import alcohol, to a maximum of 2 litres per family. It can be bought at a duty free shop at the airport on arrival, but within Oman, alcohol can be purchased only by personal licence or at licensed hotels and restaurants. Pork products are available at specially licensed food outlets.
Homosexual behaviour is illegal in Oman.
British passport holders can obtain an entry visa upon arrival at any land, sea or air entry port in Oman.
There are two options:
Overstaying without the proper authority can lead to fines of 10 OR per day.
Some prescription medicines common in the United Kingdom are banned in Oman. If you are travelling to Oman with prescription drugs you should carry a copy of the prescription. Not to do so can be an offence if the drugs are on the banned list, and the penalties, including prison, can be severe. If you have any queries, you are advised to check well in advance with Oman's Ministry of Health.
Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country.