Oman Visa shocker- No Visa on Arrival even with US Visa

Several sites, including TIMATIC said Oman will give visa on arrival to Indians with US/Canada/UK/Schengen visa. I was counting on this and my original plan was to avail visa on arrival. However out of an instinct, I decided to call Oman Embassy in New Delhi and cross check this. The lady on the other side said "no visa on arrival, you've to get eVisa".

I was in for a surprise. However, I still had few days left before the trip begins, so I immediately applied for Oman E-visa

Where to get Oman Evisa?
Go to the official website: https://evisa.rop.gov.om/ Website is self explanatory and will guide you through the visa process

What is the right category and sub category of eVisa to apply?
Tourists traveling on their own will have to apply under "Unsponsored Tourist visa"
Oman Visa type: Under this, most common category is Type 26, Tourist Visit Visa. (Check other types, just in case you qualify)
Oman Visa Sub type: Under tourist visit Visa, 26N/26M are for those who have US/UK/Canada/Australia or Japan visa. Their spouses and children can apply under 26E/26F

What if I don't have US/UK/Canada/Australia/Japan visa?
Indians without US/UK/Canada/Australia/Japan visa can not apply for evisa to visit Oman. I couldn't see any visa type for this category on the official websites. Such individuals have following options:
1. Travel with a spouse: If your spouse has UK/US/Canada/Australia/Japan visa you can travel together, apply under 26E/26F category.
2. Get a sponsor: If you have a friend/relative in Oman who can sponsor your visit, then you can apply under 36 A
3. Get US/UK/Canada/Australia/Japan visa: Plan your Oman trip along with or after a trip to US/UK/Canada/Australia/Japan- the visa you get for these countries will qualify you to get e-Visa to Oman
4. Apply for conventional visa- visit Oman Embassy or hire a travel agent to process your Oman visa.

Is it bad Oman is not giving Visa on Arrival for Indians with US visa?
Not really- as they have a simple and cost effective e-Visa program, it is more convenient to take eVisa, than expect a Visa on Arrival facility.

Official website vs other private sites for Oman eVisa
  • There are a dozen websites helping you to get Oman eVisa. It is best to avoid them and apply directly on official government website.
  • Private e-visa websites charge 5-10 times more than official fees. 
  • Private websites ask too much information, even when irrelevant or not asked for by official website-this is because private websites are unable to dynamically make a field optional/not needed based on visa type and sub time- they get crazy and try to collect every possible information, wasting time and effort.
  • Private websites often do not disclose amount payable upfront. Only after filling all the fields you will be shown amount to be paid. Many will not check against govt site at this stage or do not feel like exiting as they've filled all information. So this is a clever strategy/trap by private evisa websites. 
  • Why give your details to a middle man? I applied directly on govt website.
My Oman Visa Experience
I applied under 26N based on my US Visa and Oman e-Visa was granted within few hours. I had to pay only 5 rials (INR 1000 approx) for this 10 days, single entry e-visa. If you need more duration you will have to apply for 30 days visa which will cost a bit more.

There was no need to upload tickets, hotel confirmation etc- though there was a section that was for uploading additional documents, only if requested by the officials. 

Overall it was very smooth process, took just a few minutes to apply and costed lot less (had read on arrival visa costs 20 rials). No need to waste more time at airport either.

Other ways to optimize your trip to Oman
Enter via Dubai, exit via Oman- travel to Muscat from Dubai by overnight bus- this way you can explore two countries in same trip, without major expense.

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