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Can I Travel to Oman Now?

by Melissa Nicholas
The beautiful, rugged landscape of the Musandam peninsula in north Oman

This article focuses on the critical question, ‘Can I travel to Oman now?’. We’ll detail if and how you can travel to Oman and the practicalities of travel there too.

Oman has had a couple of COVID waves during the pandemic, but cases began to reduce significantly in the summer and are now at their lowest level averaging as low as about 40 per day (population of 4 million)  

The UK government have finally removed Oman from their Red List and the FCDO no longer advise against “all but essential travel” to Oman. This is great timing since Oman recently opened their borders and is a fantastic destination for winter sun. 

When will Oman open its borders to foreigners?

The news comes at a great time as after having its borders closed for quite some time, Oman reopened for visitors on 1st September.

A person swimming in Wadi Bani Khalid - a narrow waterway of green water surrounded by a canyon

Is Oman on the UK ‘go’ list?

Yes. Initially, Oman will go on the Amber list which will then be scrapped on 4th October in favour of a “go list”.  Thus Oman holidays are now possible and the country has ETG’s ‘Travel Ready’ status too.

Does the FCDO advise against all but essential travel to Oman?

There is no COVID 19 specific FCDO (Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office) advice in place for travel to Oman. This means that the UK government do not believe there is any specific risk relating to COVID 19 whilst you are there. In turn, this means that most standard insurance policies will be valid for your trip.

What are vaccinations levels like in Oman?

After a surprisingly slow start for a wealthy country, 57% of adults have now been vaccinated at least once and 41% have been fully vaccinated.  Vaccination rates are increasing at a pace now and have been since the end of July. 

Do I need to be fully vaccinated to get into Oman?

Visitors must be fully vaccinated and present a paper (not digital) vaccine certificate containing a QR code. They must have received 2 doses of vaccines or single-dose vaccines approved by Health Authorities completed not less than 14 days before departure from the UK.

As of mid-September approved vaccines include AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria and Covishield), Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Sinovac, Sinopharm and Sputnik V).  Children under 18 do not have to be vaccinated.

A camel in the desert of Wahiba Sands in Oman

What tests do I have to take to get into Oman?

You must present the results of a negative PCR test (QR code and certificate) on arrival in Oman. The PCR certificate must have been issued within 72 hours of departure from the UK *(96 hours if the flight is longer than 8 hours).   

Children below 18 and are exempt from PCR testing. 

Visitors must also complete a pre-registration form which they must upload with their PCR test result and vaccination certificate to this website.

Visitors must also have proof that they have travel insurance to cover them for any medical costs relating to COVID (see below).  

*It is possible to take the PCR test on arrival, but you will need to self-isolate and wear an electronic bracelet (tag!) until a negative result has been received. 

Do I have to quarantine on arrival in Oman?

No, there is no requirement to quarantine on arrival if you have taken a PCR test before departure. If you take the test on arrival, you would be expected to stay in your hotel until the results are ready (whilst wearing your electronic bracelet).

What if I’m not double vaccinated?

It’s tricky. It may be possible to enter Oman without vaccination if you take a test on arrival, self-isolate until you get the results and wear and pay for the electronic bracelet mentioned above. You will also be expected to comply with institutional quarantine for 7 days and take a PCR test on the 8th day.

A Wadi in Jebel Samhan near Salalah - blue clear water surrounded by lush green scenery and blue sky

Do I have to wear a mask in Oman?

Masks are mandatory in all public places, there is a fine for not wearing one and culturally people will expect you to wear one too. For example, you will be expected to wear a mask when walking to the beach but can take it off once you are there. You would be expected to wear it whilst walking into a restaurant, but you can take it off when seated. 

Can I eat in local restaurants in Oman?

Yes, everything is open, but you will be expected to wear a mask until you are seated.  

Do I have to quarantine in the UK on return from Oman?

Oman is currently on the “GO” list. This means that (as of 4th October 2021) double vaccinated travellers only need to fill in a passenger locator form before returning to the UK and take a test on Day 2 back in the UK. At present, the Day 2 test needs to be a PCR test although the UK government have indicated that by the end of October this will change to a cheaper lateral flow test. 

Take a look at our guide to Covid testing for travel for more in-depth information on the current situation.

What if I’m not vaccinated?

Given the info above, If you’re not double vaccinated, then you probably won’t have been to Oman!  

In the unlikely event you have been, the old “Amber List” rules will apply when you return to the UK. You’ll still need to take a test before you return and pay for Day 2 and Day 8 tests on return. You will also be expected to isolate at home for 10 days on return, but you can test to release on Day 5. 

What will it be like in Oman? 

All cultural and heritage points of interest operate as normal including beaches, parks, restaurants and bars. You can still travel throughout the country, have a great holiday and enjoy Oman as you always could– the only notable difference is that mask-wearing is commonplace. 

A view of Muscat old town from a far

Why should I book a trip to Oman now?

It’s the perfect time of year, a fascinating and beautiful country and relatively easy to get to. Oman is relatively sparsely populated with lots of lovely open spaces and is somewhere you visit for the great outdoors. It is not really a destination where you will ever find yourself in crowded places. Social distancing is easy and careful COVID health and safety measures are in place everywhere including in hotels and restaurants.   

KEEN TO TRAVEL TO OMAN OR ELSEWHERE IN ASIA?

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