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High and dry at the Omani border

High and dry at the Omani border

Have you ever set off for a vacation in Oman, only to be turned away at the border because of what you do for a living?

May 10, 2010 3:20 by

Expats and tourists are advised to think twice before visiting Oman. For while the Sultanate makes for a great holiday destination, it seems that not all visitors are equal in the eyes of border officials.

Oman is enforcing a long-standing agreement with the UAE that specifies that only people with ‘professional’ occupations are allowed over the border without a visa, according to a report in The National. The newspaper reported that UAE residents who work in the service industry, construction, or sales sectors are not allowed free travel into Oman (the rule does not apply to GCC nationals). One would-be visitor to Oman described his shock at learning he was not free to travel there because he had a “low job”.

Have you ever planned a trip to Oman, only to be turned away at the border because your profession is regarded as ‘low’? It seems a rather vague concept – and is certainly much less defined than the entry policies of most Gulf stations, which are based on nationality. But is either system fair?

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  1. Miss Anne Thropic on May 11, 2010 10:45 am

    Happened to someone I know. A photographer. But his visa was in Arabic and he had no idea that his employer had him down as a shopkeeper.

    Even so, even shopkeepers should be allowed to see the sights of Oman!

  2. Andrew on May 11, 2010 1:20 pm

    Leaving aside the utter ridiculous issue of people being restricted access by their profession, perhaps more importantly, it seems the UAE and Oman can’t even consistently write and enforce their own bilateral legislation.

    It seems they can’t tell the difference between sectors, industries and functions. Services are indeed sectors, however Construction isn’t a sector, it’s an industry, and Sales is neither a sector nor an industry, but a function.

    Going by this logic, a senior vice president (a professional) of sales (a function) in a bank (service sector) could be denied access. In which case either they would; stupidty, or they wouldn’t; inconsistency.

    Considering the “service” sector constitutes about 70% of economic activity in the UAE the potential for stupidity here is practically limitless. So what of it UAE and Oman, which are you going to go with?

  3. Miss Anne Thropic on May 13, 2010 8:26 am

    And based on that rationale, the Qatari royal family, having just acquired Harrods, may also be turned away from the border as mere shopkeepers!


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