|Still current at: 07 January 2011
Updated: 25 October 2010
Safety and Security - Terrorism
There is an underlying threat from terrorism in Oman. Attacks, although unlikely, could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers.
See our Terrorism Abroad page.
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.
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.
Safety and Security - Crime
Approximately 6,000 British nationals live in Oman and approximately 180,000 visited during FY 2008/2009. 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.
See our Victims of Crime Abroad page.
Developments in 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 precautions for your personal safety and avoid public gatherings and demonstrations.
Safety and Security - Local Travel - Road Travel
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. Driving is on the right.
Holders of UK driving licences can currently obtain an Omani licence by taking a sight 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 you must remain with your vehicle and summon the Royal Oman Police (ROP, tel. 9999). 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 the ROP website at: http://www.rop.gov.om. You must keep a Minor Road Traffic Accident form in your car. This is available from the ROP 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.
The standards of the roads in Oman are generally good. Driving standards are not always as disciplined as in the UK and the rate of traffic accidents is high. A report released by the World Health Organisation indicates that Oman road users are more likely to be killed than their counterparts in the UK. The authorities are increasing their efforts to address this.
Excursions to the desert can be dangerous unless undertaken in adequately equipped 4x4 vehicles. You should always travel in convoy with other cars, take a supply of water and a mobile telephone and leave travel plans with friends or relatives. You should also take out sufficient insurance.
Traffic laws are strictly imposed with strong punishments for traffic offences. Seat belts must be worn in the front seats and you are not allowed to use a mobile phone whilst driving Speed limits are clearly posted on major roads.
You should not 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.See our Driving Abroad page.
Local laws reflect the fact that Oman is an Islamic 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 are likely to attract unwelcome attention.
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.
Visitors must have legal status in Oman when they depart. You might be prevented from departing Oman if you are subject to a travel ban, involved in legal proceedings, have unpaid debt, or are a child subject to a custody dispute. Visitors can incur heavy fines if they overstay or fail to extend their legal residency.
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. Within Oman, alcohol can be purchased only by personal licence or at licensed hotels and restaurants.
Homosexuality is illegal in Oman.
See our Your Trip page.
Entry Requirements - Visas
British passport holders can obtain an entry visa upon arrival at any land, sea or air entry port in Oman.
There are two options:
You should exercise normal precautions to avoid exposure to HIV/AIDS. For more general information on how to do this see HIV and AIDS. You should seek medical advice before travelling to Oman and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
See our Travel Health page.
Whilst Oman's climate is generally dry, heavy rains can fall. Such rains have caused flash flooding, including in December 2009. Such flash floods have caused injuries and deaths. You should check local weather forecasts and seek advice about travelling conditions particularly if considering any off-road travel and adventure tourism, including to Wadi areas.
General - Insurance
We recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and medical insurance before travelling, including provision for medical evacuation by air ambulance. You should check any exclusions and that your policy covers you for all the activities you want to undertake. See our Travel Insurance page.
If things do go wrong when you are overseas then this is How We Can Help.
General - Consular Registration
Register with our LOCATE service to tell us when and where you are travelling abroad or where you live abroad so our consular and crisis staff can provide better assistance to you in an emergency. More information about registering with LOCATE can be found here.