Foreign travel advice

Oman

Important COVID-19 travel guidance

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office currently advises British nationals against all but essential international travel. Travel to some countries and territories is currently exempted.

This advice is being kept under constant review. Travel disruption is still possible and national control measures may be brought in with little notice, so check our travel guidance.

Local laws and customs

Oman laws and customs are very different to those in the UK, and 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 don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

During Ramadan, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. Eating, drinking, smoking, playing loud music and dancing in public places during daylight hours of Ramadan is strictly forbidden and punishable by law, including for non-Muslims. See Travelling during Ramadan

Dress code

You should dress modestly in public areas including shopping malls. Clothes should cover the tops of the arms and legs (below the knee), and underwear should not be visible.

Wearing tight-fitting clothes is likely to attract attention. You should not wear swimming attire in public areas, except on tourist beaches or at swimming pools.

Cross-dressing is illegal.

Alcohol and E-cigarettes

Non-Muslim residents can get a licence to drink alcohol at home from the Royal Oman Police. Liquor licenses are not available to non-residents, but it is possible for tourists and visitors to buy and drink alcohol in licensed venues, such as hotels, restaurants and clubs. The legal age for drinking alcohol is 21.

It is a punishable offence under Omani law to drink alcohol or be drunk in public. British nationals have been arrested and charged under this law, including in cases where they have come to the attention of the police for a related offence or matter, such as disorderly or offensive behaviour. Passengers in transit through Oman under the influence of alcohol may also be arrested.

Importing and use of E-cigarettes are illegal in Oman.

Offensive behaviour

Swearing and making rude gestures (including while driving or on social media) are considered obscene acts. Public displays of affection are frowned upon and may get you into trouble with the police.

Photography

Photography of certain government buildings and military sites isn’t allowed. Don’t photograph people without their permission. Hobbies like bird watching and plane spotting may be misunderstood - particularly near military sites, government buildings and airports.

Carry a copy of your passport, or your Omani ID if you are a resident, at all times for identification and keep the original document in a safe place.

Criminal investigations

Financial crimes, including fraud, bouncing cheques, unpaid debt and the non-payment of bills (including hotel bills) can result in imprisonment and/or a fine. You may be prevented from leaving the country. The same goes if you are subject to a travel ban, involved in legal proceedings or are a child subject to a custody dispute. Foreign nationals must pay all outstanding debts and traffic fines before leaving the country. You can pay fines at the airport. If you haven’t paid fines before you leave you may experience delays or be prevented from leaving the country.

Visa overstay

You could be fined and/or detained if you overstay or fail to extend your legal residency. You can be fined up to OMR10 per day up to a maximum of OMR500 for overstaying. The Royal Oman Police have advised that this policy will not be in effect if foreign nationals are unable to leave the country or renew their visas as a result of restrictions in place to manage the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Drugs

There is zero tolerance for drugs-related offences. The penalties for trafficking, smuggling and possession, of even residual amounts, of drugs are severe. In some cases, the death penalty could apply. There is no distinction in Omani law between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs; both are treated with equal severity.

Importing goods

Importing drugs and pornography into Oman is illegal and can lead to imprisonment. Flying drones or remote-controlled flying devices without a valid licence is against the law.

Hotels

It’s against the law to live together or share the same hotel room with someone of the opposite sex to whom you aren’t married or closely related.

Same-sex relationships

Homosexuality is illegal in Oman. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.