People from 67 countries can now apply online for Oman visa, while prospective employers can process residence visas for 116 professions through the Royal Oman Police (ROP) website, the first phase of which was launched on Monday.
The e-Visa project, planned in response to His Majesty Sultan Qaboos’ call for the same, is a major move by the Directorate General of Passports and Residences
aimed at easing visa formalities and enabling more foreigners to visit the country.
“This is going to be a major change in the way visas have been processed and it will be a landmark in the Sultanate’s history,” Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdallah, Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs, said.
The project was launched under the auspices of Alawi.
“Launch of the e-Visa opens the horizons for electronic transformation and digital systems,” he said, adding that the Sultanate was one of the first countries that always sought to use new technology.
Lt Gen Hassan bin Mohsin al Shraiqi, Inspector-General of Police and Customs, ministers, members of the State Council and Majlis Ash’shura, senior officers from the ROP, the Sultan’s Armed Forces and other security agencies were present.
The e-visa project, which will eliminate the traditional method of visa application, will enable hotels, tour operators and travel agents
to apply for tourist visas online for their clients.
The fee will remain the same as earlier.
“Hotels, tour operators and travel agents can apply for express or visit visa for their clients at the same rates as earlier,” Lt Col Abdulla al Kalbani, e-Visa Project Manager, said.
Although the first phase excludes some countries, the second phase is likely to include all nations.
“We have been waiting for this occasion for some time. Almost all the nationalities can apply for the visa; tourism will be the main beneficiary,” said Ahmed bin Nasser al Mehrzi, Minister of Tourism.
Aiming at attracting more foreigners, the paperless system will be promoted through the overseas offices of the Ministry of Tourism.
He said that the tourism sector in the Sultanate is witnessing a huge growth that exceeds the goals set for it, as the number of tourists last year reached three million and is expected to reach 4.7 million by 2020.
Visa procedures for citizens of India, Iran, Russia and China have been eased, said Al Busaidi.
“All these nationalities will be able to receive visas in a few hours’ time provided their necessary documents are proper,” he said.
While assuring speedy and hassle-free visa issuance, officials also said half-filled applications, half-truths or applications containing false information will be rejected outright and the person blacklisted immediately.
The project aims to facilitate the obtaining of visas and fee payment through an online portal, which will be linked to the Ministry of Manpower (work permits), the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Ministry of Civil Service (government visas for foreign civil servants). The system is in line with the requirements of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and the directions of the World Tourism Organization to facilitate the entry of visitors/tourists.
Lt Brig Hilal al Busaidi, Director-General of Passport and Residences; Lt Colonel Abdulla al Kalbani, E-Visa Project Manager; and Colonel Nasser Musallam al Ruzaiqi, Director-General of IT, were also present on the occasion.