Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 3 December 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Travelling to or from Oman? Here's everything you need to know

A guide to visiting Oman by land or air as the sultanate slowly reopens

Travel to and from Oman is slowly getting back up and running as the sultanate reopens land and air borders.

From November 16, Omani citizens can travel to the UAE via land borders without having to request permission to do so. The new rule is set to make travel between the UAE and Oman easier for Omanis. Citizens of the Sultanate of Oman are exempt from the requirement of prior approval to enter the country through land ports, reported Wam.

Travellers headed to the UAE will need to show a negative PCR test result taken at an accredited laboratory within the last 48 hours. They will then have to do another Covid-19 test at their port of arrival and follow safety protocols in place across the emirates, including installing the Al Hosn application. Those staying in the UAE for more than four days, will need to take another PCR test on the fourth day.

Wam gave no details on any changes for residents living in Oman hoping to travel to the UAE via land borders at this time.

However, at a press conference on November 12, the sultanate's Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmed Al Saidi, said: "The borders are open with neighbouring countries, and travel is allowed for Omanis and residents and they must adhere to the announced procedures when travelling and upon returning to the Sultanate."

Oman previously welcomed the return of international flights with Muscat and Salalah airports resuming operations on October 1.

Travel to Oman has been restricted since airports were closed in March in an effort to help stem the spread of the coronavirus. There are new rules in place for anyone travelling to or from the sultanate.

Who can travel to Oman?

Passengers wearing protective face masks stand in a queue at Muscat International Airport in the Omani capital on October 1, 2020. / AFP / MOHAMMED MAHJOUB
Passengers stand in a queue at Muscat International on October 1, 2020. AFP

Oman is not yet open for international tourism. While air travel has been allowed to resume, only Omani citizens, GCC nationals, foreign diplomats and those with valid residency visas can enter the country without prior permission.

Non-Omani citizens flying to the sultanate must have international health insurance that covers the cost of treatment for Covid-19 for at least one month.

By land, only Omani citizens and residents can travel to the sultanate at this time.

Do I need a negative Covid-19 certificate?

All passengers travelling to Oman from any destination, including connecting and transit passengers, must have a printed negative Covid-19 PCR test certificate. Results are valid for 96 hours from the time test results are received. Children under 15 are exempt.

What rules are in place at airports?

A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger for a PCR coronavirus test at Muscat International Airport in the Omani capital. AFP
A medical worker collects a swab sample from a passenger at Muscat Airport. AFP

Once you land in Oman you'll have to undergo another Covid-19 PCR test before reaching immigration and baggage collection. This must be booked and paid for in advance. Travellers must also fill in a passenger registration form before flying.

All these services can be completed here and the cost for the test is 25 Omani riyals ($65).

Travellers must also download and register on both the Tarrasud+ and HMushrif apps before travelling to the sultanate.

In airports, face masks must be worn and people should maintain a social distance of two metres between themselves and other passengers.

Authorities also advise checking-in for flights online to cut down on face-to-face contact at the airport and to avoid carrying phones or other items in your hands when navigating check-in process and security checkpoints.

At airports in Oman, only passengers with valid air tickets are allowed entry so those departing Muscat or Salalah cannot bring friends or family to the airport with them.

What are the quarantine rules?

Anyone travelling to Oman must self-isolate until the results of the Covid-19 test taken upon arrival are received, this typically takes 24 hours, but could take up to 48 hours in some cases. If results are negative, and you're staying in Oman for less than seven days, you can then end your isolation.

Anyone over the age of 15 planning to stay in Oman for more than seven days must take a PCR test upon arrival and then quarantine for seven days. This is regardless of whether test results come back positive or negative.

During the quarantine, a tracking bracelet must be worn. There is a charge of 6 Omani riyals ($15) for the bracelet, payable on the Tarassud+ app. On the eighth day, another PCR test must be taken. If the result of this test is negative, the bracelet can be removed. The HMushrif app will indicate the closest medical centre where wearers can go to have their tracking bracelet taken off, and there could be a fee for this service. If travellers do not wish to take another test on day 8, they can instead quarantine for 14 days.

Which airlines are flying to Oman?

Emirates has resumed flights from Dubai to Muscat. Courtesy Emirates
Emiras has resumed flights from Dubai to Muscat. Courtesy Emirates

Emirates is flying twice weekly to Muscat on Sundays and Fridays. Low-cost airline Flydubai resumed flights to Muscat on October 3 and Etihad began flying from Abu Dhabi to the capital on October 4.

From Oman, the national airline is flying to cities in 15 countries. This includes Dubai, London, Cairo and Zanzibar. Low-cost airline Salam Air is also flying again with services to India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sudan. Both Omani airlines are offering travellers free Covid-19 medical protection when booking flights.

What restrictions are in place?

Just one more day until this tranquil paradise is yours to discover! We can’t wait to have you with us very soon.

A post shared by Al Baleed Salalah By Anantara (@anantarasalalah) on Sep 30, 2020 at 1:23am PDT

Oman has recorded 119,442 positive Covid-19 case numbers, which is the 49th highest number in the world. Several restrictions remain in place across the country including no public gatherings of any type and mandatory face masks.

Beaches, mosques and other places of worship and most tourist sites are either closed, have limited access or are subject to temporary closures. Most hotels have now reopened with Covid safety measures in place.

Updated: November 15, 2020 01:02 PM

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