By: Kabeer Yousuf
MUSCAT: It will be business as usual at the Oman-UAE borders and those who hold Oman residence permit can travel to the neighbouring country on a visa-on-arrival basis until further notice.
There have been messages being circulated on the social media that with effect from May 15, Oman resident permit holders need to apply for an e-visa prior to their travel to the United Arab Emirates and no visa-on-arrival will be issued. “We have not received any official communiqué regarding the cancellation of visa on arrival from our headquarters in Dubai, and we are waiting for final confirmation”, Abeer Abdul Qader, senior sales officer at the Emirates Airlines Oman, told the Observer. “We are in touch with the UAE Embassy in Oman and people should not circulate such unofficial messages”, Abeer added saying that the Emirates team has been inundated with calls from various sections of the society.
In a message titled ‘Change in Visa Regulations GCC Resident Permit Holders Travelling to the UAE — (NEW)’ supposed to be from Dubai’s Emirates Airlines, it is said that effective May 15, GCC residents should apply for e-visa to obtain to enter the UAE. They will no longer be eligible for visa on arrival facility.
Accordingly, frequent commuters between the two Gulf states including members of the business community were clueless as to the authenticity of the news. They made calls to all their sources who were expected to feed them with the required information, but were clueless.
Ashraf Omar, a businessman in Ruwi, said his business along with several others will suffer if this new rule is imposed.
“This news (of replacing visa on arrival with online visa) is rather shocking and being a regular commuter, I will face difficulties in running by business smoothly. I travel at least four times a month for business purposes”, he said.
“We are aware that this rule is not being implemented and what we see on social media is not true. They may implement online visa instead of visa on arrival but not from tomorrow”, Sunil Prabhakar, CEO of the Travel Group, at Travel City and Travel Point, said.
“We are closely following with the Dubai Emigration regarding the issue of e-visa instead of visa on arrival and are waiting for their reply. As part of our future plans, we have plans of facilitating UAE visas in Oman and we are still waiting for final approvals from the authorities there,” he added.
There are six borders to enter the Emirates from the Sultanate which are Al Mazyad, Heeli, Hatta, Fujairah and Kitmat Shikla besides the airports. All these are check-post-guarded and till now, visa for expatriates is issued on arrival which is single entry and valid for one month.
While the Al Mazyad, Heeli, Fujairah and Kitmat Shikla charge 205 dirhams for a single journey, the Hatta border and the airport will charge 220 dirhams for single entry valid for one month. With the new e-visa, the commuters will be charged with 300 dirhams for the same journey.
“If, at least, the visa status can be made multiple entry, it would have been a great relief for those who travel very often between the two countries”, another businessman added.
SOURCE: OMAN DAILY OBSERVER