A new visa programme, launched in 2021, allows Oman to issue long-term visa to individuals who invest in the Omani economy.
Ten-year visa for investors
In September 2021, the Omani government announced a new type of visa for investors. There are two types of visa: one valid for five years and one valid for ten years. Both visa types are renewable. The visa is only available to persons who invest a significant amount of money in the Omani economy. To be eligible for the five-year visa, the applicant must meet one of the following conditions:
- Invest a minimum of 250,000 Omani rials (475,188 pounds) in a company in Oman or in government securities
- Buy property worth at least 250,000 Omani rials
- Retire to Oman after working in Oman for a longer period of time
The visa, which has a validity of ten years, is subject to the following conditions:
- Investing a minimum of 500,000 Omani rial (950,260 pounds) in an Omani company or government securities
- Purchase a property with a value of at least 500,000 Omani rials
- Start a business with a minimum of 50 Omani employees
So far, 26 people have received investor visa. Qais bin Mohammed al Yousef, Omanʼs Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment, stressed the importance of an attractive investment climate for the Omani economy. The visa allows investors to settle in the country with their families, which encourages long-term investments. This leads to more jobs for Omani workers.
The importance of a simple visa system for the Omani economy is also reflected in the tourist visa. The tourist visa for Oman is a so-called e-visa (electronic visa) that can be applied for completely online. The visa is usually delivered within a week and costs £44.95.
Omani economy is recovering
The Omani economy is rapidly recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and the oil crash of 2020. Oil prices rose sharply in 2021, which was good news for the West Asian country that is largely dependent on income from oil. The coronavirus pandemic hit Oman severely. In 2019, Oman welcomed more than 3 million tourists. This number dropped sharply due to the border closures caused by the COVID-19. Oman opened and closed its borders several times. On 1 September 2021, Oman opened its borders permanently to fully vaccinated tourists from all countries.
Although the number of tourists travelling to the country is still lower than before the coronavirus pandemic, the Omani government expects the tourism sector to recover by 2022. Oman has been working for years to diversify its economy. The government believes that the country is too dependent on oil. Tourism is one of the sectors that Oman wants to develop significantly. In 2019, tourism accounted for some 1.2 billion rials (approximately 2.3 billion pounds). The Omani government hopes that by 2040, tourism revenues will be around 9 billion rial (about 17 billion pounds) per year.