Oman

Summary

The vast majority of visits to Oman are trouble-free.  However, you should be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the area. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests, as they have been elsewhere in the region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly recommends that you obtain comprehensive travel insurance which will cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation, before travelling to Oman. You should check any exclusions, and that your policy covers you for the activities you wish to undertake.

Irish Citizens should note that the Irish Government does not provide funds for emergency medical repatriation or for repatriation of remains.

Safety & Security

Some US Embassies in the region have been instructed to close until 10 August.  The Embassy of Ireland in Riyadh which is accredited to Oman remains open.

Most visits to Oman are trouble-free.  However, you should be aware of the threat from terrorism generally in the area. Attacks could be indiscriminate, and against Western interests, as they have been elsewhere in the region.

You should maintain a constant level of awareness, particularly in public places and avoid large gatherings and all demonstrations.

Many areas of the Gulf of Aden are highly sensitive.   Vessels entering these areas have been detained and inspected, and there have been occasional arrests.   In addition, piracy in the Indian Ocean and in the Gulf of Aden is increasing in frequency, and is a significant threat.  Due to the threat of piracy we advise against all but essential travel by yacht and leisure craft on the high seas (more than 12 nautical miles from the shore) in the Gulf of Aden, Arabian Sea and part of the Indian Ocean bounded by the following latitude and longitude: 15°N in the Red Sea, 23° N in the Arabian Sea, 78° E and 15°S in the Indian Ocean.

Road Safety

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). Traffic laws in Oman are strictly imposed.

Driving at night can be dangerous outside Muscat, as there is a risk of hitting camels that stray on the road. 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. There are good roads in Muscat and between Muscat and major towns in the interior. Driving standards are good, by regional standards, but drivers do tend to speed and tailgate.

LOCAL LAWS & CUSTOMS

Oman is a Muslim state and Islamic customs, in public, are strictly observed.

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.

The import and use of narcotics is 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. Recent experience has shown that 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.

Health 

There have been 40 cases of novel coronavirus reported worldwide (17 May 2013), including 20 deaths.  Cases are associated with travel in the Arabian Peninsula and Jordan.. The WHO advises no travel or trade restrictions in relation to novel coronaviruses. However, Irish citizens travelling to the Arabian Peninsula and neighbouring countries should be aware of the presence of novel coronavirus in this geographical area and of the small risk of infection. Travellers should follow standard good hygiene practice including hand washing with soap and water following contact with animals. Further information can be found on the Health Protection Surveillance Centre website (www.hpsc.ie).

Natural Disasters and Climate

While Oman's climate is generally dry, heavy rains can fall and cause flash flooding.   Such flash floods have caused injuries and deaths, including in December 2009.   You should check local weather forecasts and seek advice about travelling conditions, particularly if considering any off road travel and adventure tourism.

Additional Country Information

For entry requirements for Oman, please contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Oman.  

It is advisable to take a number of photocopies of your passport with you. During your stay you should carry a photocopy of your passport at all times.

DIPLOMATIC AND CONSULAR MISSIONS 

The Embassy of Ireland in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia is accredited to Oman - for contact details, please click here. (Opens in new window)   

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We encourage citizens travelling to this destination to register their contact details here
 Oman

Security Status

  1. Take normal precautions
  2. Exercise caution
  3. Exercise extreme caution
  4. Avoid non-essential travel
  5. Do not travel