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Passport and/or Visa Requirements: A valid passport and visa are required for entry into Oman, unless a non-objection certificate is arranged prior to entry from an Omani sponsor. Omani embassies and consulates now issue two-year, multiple entry tourist visas to qualified Americans. Tourists traveling into or out of Oman by road should have a valid road pass in addition to a multiple entry visa. Evidence of yellow fever immunization is required if the traveler enters from an infected area. To obtain a visa or information on entry and travel requirements, please contact the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman, 2535 Belmont Road N.W., Washington D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 387-1980/2.
Medical Facilities: Care and medicines are available in Oman; however, local medical treatment varies in quality and can be inadequate. While hospital emergency treatment is available, there is no ambulance service in Oman. Malaria is a concern in the interior and on the Batinah coast. Doctors and hospitals expect cash payments for health services. U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. Supplemental medical insurance with specific overseas coverage has proven useful. Information on health matters can also be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control's international travelers hotline at tel. (404) 332-4559. The home page on the Internet is http://www.cdc.gov.
Travel Warnings, Advisories and Areas of Instability: The incidence of street crime is low in Oman and violent crimes are very rare. Travelers to Oman should nevertheless take normal precautions such as avoiding travel in deserted areas after dark and avoiding travel alone after dark. Furthermore, travelers should also take normal precautions to protect their personal property from theft. In particular, do not leave unsecured valuables and currency in hotel rooms. Common sense and caution are always the best crime prevention. Useful information on safeguarding valuables, protecting personal security, and other matters while traveling abroad is provided in the Department of State pamphlets, "A Safe Trip Abroad" and "Tips for Travelers to the Middle East and North Africa." They are available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402. The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Dual Nationality: The Omani government does not recognize dual nationality. Children of Omani fathers automatically acquire Omani citizenship at birth and must enter and leave the country on Omani passports. Omani authorities usually confiscate the U.S. passports of U.S./Omani dual nationals. This does not constitute loss of citizenship by U.S. standards, but should be reported to the U.S. Embassy in Muscat. Child custody decisions are based on Islamic law. It is difficult for an American woman, even a Muslim, to obtain custody of her children through the Omani courts.
Drug Penalties: Travelers are subject to the laws and legal practices of the country in which they travel. Penalties for possession, use or trafficking in illegal drugs are strict in Oman and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and fines.
Customs: Travelers entering Oman may not carry with them or in accompanied baggage any firearms, ammunition, or pornography; all are subject to seizure if found. No more than one bottle of liquor is permitted per non-muslim adult. Unaccompanied baggage and shipments of household goods are also subject to inspection. Books, video tapes, and audio tapes may be reviewed prior to being released to the owner. A copy of the packing list is required to clear effects through customs.
Dress Codes: Islamic ideals provide the conservative foundation of Oman's customs, laws and practices. Foreign visitors are expected to remain sensitive to the Islamic culture, and not dress in a revealing or provocative style. This includes wearing of sleeveless shirts and blouses, halter tops and shorts. Athletic clothing is worn in public only when the wearer is obviously engaged in athletic activity. However, Western bathing attire is the norm at hotel pools and beaches.
Importation of Pets: Pets entering Oman require an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Department of Animal Health, before shipment. Forms may be obtained from the Ministry by one's sponsor and must be submitted with a copy of the pet's rabies vaccination record and a health certificate. Vaccination against rabies is required no less than one month and no more than six months before the travel date. There are additional vaccination requirements for dogs and cats less than 30 days old. A second health certificate dated 48 hours before the pet travels is also a requirement. Pets may be subjected to a six month quarantine, although this is usually not required when importing the pet from a rabies-free country. Pets must be manifested as cargo on an airway bill when transported by air.
Aviation Oversight: In March, 1994, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration assessed Oman's civil aviation authority as in compliance with international aviation safety oversight standards for Omani carriers operating to and from the U.S. The same level of safety oversight would typically be applied to operations to other destinations. For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation at 1-800-322-7873.
Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: Road conditions, lighting, and traffic safety in cities and on major highways are good. Omani residents are generally courteous drivers and follow traffic rules. Travel between cities, especially at night, may be dangerous due to poor or no lighting, wandering goats and camels, and speeding drivers. Observing traffic laws, especially those regarding seat belts and speed limits, is a must in Oman. There are stringent penalties for violation of these laws, particularly for driving under the influence of alcohol. No one should drive without a valid license.
Visitors in possession of an American driver's license may drive rental vehicles, but residents must have an Omani driver's license. To obtain one, an American citizen must have a U.S. license issued at least one year previously.
Embassy Location and Registration: U.S. citizens are encouraged to register at the U.S. Embassy and obtain updated information on travel and security within Oman. The U.S. Embassy in Oman is located on Jameat A'Duwal Al Arabiya Street, Al Khuwair area, in the capital city of Muscat. The mailing address is P.O. Box 202, Medinat Al Sultan Qaboos 115, Sultanate of Oman. The telephone number is (968) 698-989 and (968) 699-049 after 4:30 PM local time. The workweek in Oman is Saturday through Wednesday.
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