Residency Visas

For foreigners to live and work in Oman, they must usually be sponsored by an employer or family member. To obtain a residency visa as an employee, you need a local sponsor and a labour permit from the Ministry of Manpower. The requirements vary by nationality and are subject to change at short notice, so it’s always best to check with your embassy.


Once your employer sponsors you, you can then arrange sponsorship for your family members. Two family sponsorship options are available: a family joining visa or a family residence visa. Children under the age of 21 years can be sponsored. Expats may also be eligible to apply for a Contractor Visa or an Investor Resident Visa – refer to the website of the Royal Oman Police (rop.gov.om) to get the latest information on visitor visas, residence permits and employment, investor or student visas.


Residence Visa


Before getting a visa you must get a no objection certificate (NOC). This is an official document stating that neither your Omani sponsor nor the government has any objection to your entering the country. There are two types of residence visas – one for employment (when you are sponsored by your employer) and one for residence only (when you are sponsored by a family member). 


Your sponsor should organise everything related to your visa, including payment. On arrival your company’s PRO or your sponsor will take you to the Royal Oman Police (ROP) station on Death Valley Road to be fingerprinted. Those working must have labour clearance and an employment residence visa; spouses and family members are each issued with a ‘joining family’ residence visa. It is illegal to work on a joining family residence visa, even part time. If you wish to work you must get an employment visa. If you are working for the same sponsor as your spouse, exchanging the visa is usually a simple process. If you obtain a job elsewhere, you must transfer sponsorship to your new employer and go through the whole process from the beginning. Your new sponsor will do what’s necessary.


It is advisable, if possible, to try to avoid doing this (or anything which requires the involvement of government departments) during Ramadan, when everything tends to slow down until after Eid, by which time there will be a huge backlog. The ROP is located near Muscat Private School on Madinat A’Sultan Qaboos Street (Death Valley Road), and the phone number is 24 600 099.


Most expats seeking employment or applying for residency in Oman must have a health certificate from their home country, stating that they are free from illness and not carrying any communicable diseases. UK citizens are currently exempt, although this could change at any time.


Sponsorship By Employer


Your employer should handle all the paperwork, and will usually have a staff member (who is thoroughly familiar with the procedure) dedicated to this task alone. This staff member is usually called the PRO, which stands for public relations officer. After your residency is approved, they should then apply directly for your labour clearance. You will need to supply the essential documents and your education certificates. You must have all your certificates attested by a solicitor or public notary in your home country and then by your foreign office to verify the solicitor as bona fide. The Oman embassy in your country of residence must also sign the documents. While this sounds like a run around, it is much easier if you get this done before you arrive in Oman.


Family Sponsorship


Once you are sponsored by your employer, you can then arrange sponsorship for your family members. Again, most employers will help you with this task. If yours doesn’t, the process can be lengthy and tedious. There are two family sponsorship options available – a family joining visa or a family residence visa.


A family joining visa is for your spouse and children only (children cannot be older than 21 years). 


The family residence visa is for relatives that do not fall into the family joining visa category, such as siblings or elderly parents. Brothers and sisters of the resident must be younger than 18 years, and a document must be provided stating that there is no other family income outside Oman. People on family sponsorship may not work in Oman, paid or unpaid. Once a visa has been granted, the holder has up to six months from the date of issue to enter Oman. The visa is valid for two years from the date of entry. This visa is renewable and allows multiple entries.


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