The Royal Oman Police has made a significant announcement that is set to impact travellers and expatriates in the Gulf country. Effective immediately as of Tuesday, October 31, Oman has suspends the conversion of visit visas into work visas.
This decision marks a significant policy shift in the country’s immigration regulations.
Changes in Oman Visa Conversion
Prior to this decision, visitors to Oman had the option to enter the country on a tourist or visit visa and subsequently convert it to a work visa. This provided an avenue for individuals seeking employment opportunities in Oman.
However, the Royal Oman Police’s recent announcement signals an end to this practice, thereby requiring travellers to secure work visas from their home countries before arriving in Oman.
Suspension of New Visas for Bangladeshis
In addition to the change in visa conversion rules, the Royal Oman Police has also revealed the suspension of the issuance of new visas for Bangladeshi nationals.
While the specifics of this suspension have not been provided, it is a development that will undoubtedly have implications for Bangladeshi travellers and job seekers looking to enter Oman.
Visa Exemptions for GCC Residents
It’s essential to note that residents of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries continue to enjoy favourable visa conditions when travelling to Oman.
As per a list published by Oman last year, GCC residents and travellers from over 100 countries are exempt from requiring a visa to enter Oman. This exemption applies as long as the resident’s GCC visa is valid for a minimum of three months.
Unified GCC Tourist Visa on the Horizon
In a broader context, a unified tourist visa for GCC countries is on the horizon and could be implemented as early as next year, as announced by a UAE minister last month.
This groundbreaking development will allow tourists to explore all six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council with a single visa. These countries include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and Kuwait.
The introduction of this unified GCC tourist visa aims to streamline the travel experience for visitors to the Gulf region, making it easier for tourists to explore the rich cultural and economic offerings across the GCC countries.
Implications for Travellers
The suspension of the conversion of visit visas to work visas and the issuance of new visas for Bangladeshi nationals could have a significant impact on travellers to Oman.
Visitors who are planning to work in the country will now need to apply for a work visa before they travel. Bangladeshi nationals who are planning to visit Oman for any reason will need to wait until the suspension is lifted.
The changes in Oman’s visa policies are part of ongoing developments in the region’s immigration regulations, and travellers and job seekers should stay informed about any further adjustments that may affect their plans.
As the GCC countries work toward greater integration and convenience for visitors, the unified tourist visa stands as a promising step forward in regional tourism and travel facilitation.