Muscat: Expats in Oman, who have received the new electronic work visas say they are very happy to have them in their passports.
Of late, while some expatriates have had their passports stamped with the new visa, some are still receiving the older version.
The new work visa features a stylised green and red header, the coat of arms of the Sultanate, and a 3D hologram sticker.
It also contains machine-readable codes so it can be easily scanned where required, and the photo of the visa holder.
All of the details of the holder, including his name, nationality, occupation, and the dates of issue and expiry of the visa are also printed on it.
“I really like the look of the new visa,” said an expatriate who’d recently received one.
“It’s a lot like the visas we see issued by other countries, such as a Schengen or a US visa, but at the same time, it still retains a lot of characteristics that are Omani. The rolling out of this e-visa is a good step brought out by the government.”
Sanad offices say that expats in Muscat have started getting new electronic work visas in some centres but it is yet to roll out all across Oman.
“I have processed quite a few visa applications so far, and all of them have been stamped with the manually entered visa,” said an official from a Sanad office in Nizwa in the Dakhiliyah Governorate.
“I am hopeful that this new electronic visa system will be issued across all the governorates in the country.”
“Sometimes, the people who fill in these visa forms write very quickly or don’t have very good handwriting, so it is really difficult to understand what they’ve written,” he added.
Another expat, who’s been working in Oman for a long time, added, “I was shocked to see my new visa. It looked so cool,” he said.
An employee at a visa processing office in Wilayat Seeb in Muscat Governorate, said, “Sometimes the handwritten ones are not very unclear, which meant I had to go to the Directorate General of Passports and Residence to seek clarity on this.”
“This set us back and constituted a major handicap to our work,” she added. “Either the handwriting was illegible, the details provided were incomplete, or some of the numbers and letters written within were incomprehensible.”
Electronic visas also contain security features which ensure they cannot be falsified. All the information entered into these visas are first deposited with the authorities, and only then are they processed and manually stamped.
“This is a good development by Oman, which has now joined many countries that offer electronic visa processes to people,” the employee said.