Expat tourist visa plan for Buraimi

Business Monday 08/February/2016 21:57 PM
By: Times News Service
Expat tourist visa plan for Buraimi

Muscat: A plan that will allow expats holding Omani tourist visas to enter Buraimi without the need to get their visas cancelled, or having to go through other processes, while going to Buraimi from any part of Oman, is currently being evaluated.
The Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), Buraimi branch, is working to find a solution to the issue, according to an official source at the media department at the Buraimi Chamber.
“The chamber is currently working on a way to solve this issue. The board will have to meet other authorities concerned before raising its view on the matter to a higher authority for approval,” said the source.
He added that the governorate of Buraimi is surrounded by borders and it’s hard for expats to visit Buraimi, unless they go through another visa process.
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Speaking to the Times of Oman, a reliable source at the Royal Oman Police (ROP), explained that expats holding a tourist visa have to apply for a land crossing permit to enter Buraimi.
“If the expat travels to Buraimi without obtaining the right permit, his Oman tourist visa will be cancelled automatically. Therefore, such a process needs to be recorded by the ROP as the expat has to pay another fee for it. He added that the issue also depended on the nationality of the expat to determine if the expat is entitled to get the permit or not, adding that the fee of the permit is OMR5 and it is valid for a one-time entry and exit only.
Expats holding tourist visas, who work in firms and travel between Buraimi and other parts of Oman regularly, have to apply for a daily single-entry visa, according to the OCCI source.
“This has become a headache, especially for expats, whose work forces them to travel more than once to Buraimi during the day,” said the OCCI.
He added that a proposal for granting a multiple-entry visa to companies’ expat employees entering the governorate of Buraimi had been raised recently by OCCI’s Buraimi branch.
“This will at least facilitate business in the governorate and make businessmen’s lives easier,” said the source.
Many complaints
He added that the proposal had been suggested by board members, who represent the businessmen in the governorate due to the many complaints raised by companies on this issue.
“Currently there is a suggestion for extending the single-entry visa to a multiple-entry one that should be valid for a week. This suggestion has already been raised before competent authorities, but the Buraimi OCCI felt that a week is still not enough,” said the source.
He added that the board members had also suggested that the visa should be exchanged with a permit card.
“Stamping in the passport for an expat for every entrance and exit might cost the employee more than renewing the passport in a short time,” said the source.
He added that the idea was that companies should apply for a multiple-entry permit card for their expat employees, who travel to and from Buraimi. “The card has to be valid for at least six months and the fee should be the same, OMR20, as the current one,” said the source.