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How to Move to Oman I Living in Oman I Move to Oman I Relocation Guide for Expat to Oman

Relocating to Oman

If you are relocating an executive to Oman or if you are relocating to or within Oman yourself, you have found the right relocation and immigration specialists. Helpxpat provides professional relocation and immigration solutions tailored to the needs of international executives.

For the past 6 years we have consistently relocated corporate executives to live in Oman and their families to, and within, Oman. We are responsive and professional, and always operate with care and sensitivity towards our client’s needs.

Moving to Oman

Oman has a noticeable expat population consisting of mainly British, American, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and South African citizens. The type of lifestyle an expat can expect depends on where they live: Muscat is the most developed city, with shopping malls, restaurants, bars, sports clubs and entertainment venues. Because of the large expat population and numerous expat social clubs, it's easy to live a Western lifestyle. Smaller, more rural towns are not nearly as Westernised, but many still have large expat populations and social groups as well.

Relocating services in Oman

Muscat, Omans capital city, is a thriving waterfront metropolis, with a population of approximately 1.5 million people. Many expats in Oman settle in Oman, as it is the commercial and government centre of the country. Muscat is a diverse city with lots to offer in terms of shopping, history, culture, and accommodation. If you are relocating to Muscat, heres an overview of housing options in the city, and popular neighborhoods with expats.

Home Search in Oman

Searching for a new property in Oman can be stressful, time-consuming and very frustrating, often requiring that you view numerous properties that don't meet your requirements. Helpxpat will save your time by assuring all properties closely suit your needs and reporting back to you with an itinerary. Our consultants in Oman have considerable market knowledge and negotiation skills.

A safer option is to use the services of a relocation agent, who will be able to speak the language and understand the local nuances of the Oman property market.

Types of accommodation in Oman

Most expat accommodation in Oman is in the form of apartments, standalone villas or townhouses, often within a secure housing compound. Most homes are new and well maintained, although there have been complaints of poor construction standards and neglectful landlords.

Accommodation for expats in Oman is mostly unfurnished, although furnished options are also available. Costs vary according to the size, facilities and area of a property.

Facilities in apartment blocks often include gyms, swimming pools and a laundry, while villas normally have maids' quarters and a garden, too. Expat housing compounds usually also offer amenities such as restaurants, shops, swimming pools, tennis courts, and even golf courses.

How to find a home in Oman

If you are planning to relocate to Oman and need assistance to find a home, helpxpat.com enables you to find the most appropriate home for the employee for their budget and lifestyle and to negotiate the best possible lease terms – saving the client and the employee time, financial liability and stress.

Housing options in Oman

Ruwi

Ruwi is predominantly known as a business district; however, it has low cost residential apartment buildings as well. It is one of the oldest districts in Muscat, and has still kept some of the history of its old buildings while others have been demolished to make way for more modern structures. Rents here vary from approximately RO150-RO700 depending on the accommodation type.

Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos (MSQ)

This is one of the most sought-out expat living communities in Oman, and the prices here are a reflection of its popularity. While accommodation can be pricey, if you are lucky you could get a nice villa for a reasonable price, if you are willing to take some time to investigate. Rents here vary from approximately RO700-RO3000 depending on the accommodation type. Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos neighbors Qurm and Shatti Al Qurm. There are different styles of accommodation in the Madinat. There are classical villas with established gardens that are perfect for families with pets. There are also apartments with gym and pool facilities.

Shati Al Qurm

This is the crème de la crème of residential areas in Muscat and chances are that it’s out of your budget; it is that expensive to live here. Shatti Al Qurm is known for a scattering of white villas with gardens and a smattering of private parking areas. The villas are located on a slight hill and offer spectacular views of the ocean. The beach is just a stone’s throw away and is popular with weekend sun dwellers as well as morning joggers. Rents here vary from approximately RO1000-RO6000 depending on the accommodation type.

Qurm

You will find a mix of modest villas and large mansions in this area, yet the prices of accommodation are not as high as they are in the neighboring Shatti Al Qurm. Depending on where you choose to live, the views can be spectacular. The area is quite established and you will find that the gardens within the villas are equally established; therefore, not much initial work needs to go in them, unless the previous occupants had been negligent. Rents here vary from approximately RO700- RO4000 depending on the accommodation type.

Al Azaiba

Al Azaiba can be found along the beach, half-way between the airport and Qurm. It is fast becoming one of the more popular areas for expat life. Villas are the main kind of accommodation found in this area. With the beach being so close and rental prices being on the slightly steep side, this area is popular with new expats and families. Rents here vary from approximately RO500- RO2000 depending on the accommodation type.

Al Ghubrah

Al Ghubrah has a mixture of duplex villas, apartment buildings and commercial buildings with prices that will not leave you in a destitute state. It is conveniently located between Al Khuwayr and Al Azaiba, but a bit further away from the city center. It is close to the Al Bousher area. There is a mixture of expatriate communities that reside here. Rents here vary from approximately RO300- RO2000 depending on the accommodation type.

Al Bousher

Housing in Al Bousher is affordable like the neighboring Al Ghubrah, with rents varying from approximately RO700- RO2000, depending on the accommodation type. There is not much going on in Al Bousher, although it is home to the largest Lulu center in Muscat as well as the Sultan Al Qaboos Sports complex.

Al Khuwayr

Al Khuwayr has an excellent location, right next to Madinat Qaboos and close to the beach. There is a mix of commercial buildings, residential apartment buildings and duplex villas. It is not too pricy, depending on your choice of accommodation. Rents go from RO400-RO2000, again this depends on whether you opt for apartment living or staying in a villa.

Al Hail & Seeb

Both Al Hail and Seeb are located quite far from the Muscat city center and are mainly residential areas with large villas and gardens. The cost of living is low here as it is so far from the city and travelling to and from work could be time consuming, unless your job is at the airport. Rents go from as low as RO500-RO1500 for a villa. Having said that, Al Hail is also home to one of the most expensive residences in Muscat, namely The Wave development, so there is a bit of both ends of the property spectrum.

Relocating to Salalah

Many Landlords in Salalah are very eager to let properties to expats, whilst the duration of contracts last from 10 to 12 months, depending on, if they will let their properties during the Khareef month. The rent will change accordingly, meaning a ten month et will be cheaper.

The rental business in Salalah is still in its beginning and done more on a personal then professional level, which allows for negotiations and alterations depending on the relationship established with the landlord.

Areas: Areas to consider whilst renting in Salalah are usually in Saada, Dhariz for schools, churches and the majority of the expat community. The area of Aqwad is suitable for people working at the port or free zone.

Payments: The payments for the property will have to be arranged once we have received all the relevant paperwork and verified contracts. A copy of the contract will also be sent to you for review.

Lease Period: All Tenancy Contracts in Salalah are for a period of 12 months renewable or 10 months depending if the Landlord prefers to rent the property during the Kharref season, which is a major source of income for landlords in Salalah. The rent will be lower for 10 months lease period. The lease contract start date depends very much on the negotiations with the landlord and state of the property at viewing and is negotiable, but usually between 1week to a month, depending on alterations to the property.

Choosing a right school in Oman

The standard of education and schools in Oman has improved in recent years as a result of increased spending by the government. But due to the language barrier and cultural challenges, expat parents generally choose to send their children to private international schools in Oman or send them to boarding school in their home country There are a number of international private schools in Oman which cater for a variety of nationalities. Unlike government schools in Oman, most international schools are co-educational. Most of these are based in the capital, Muscat.

International schools in Oman generally offer a high standard of education and modern facilities. As such, many wealthy Omani nationals also enrol their children here.

The cost of tuition at international schools is high and expats should ensure that they make provision for this in their contract negotiations when moving to Oman with children. Most schools demand that fees are paid upfront prior to the first day of term, and some schools even expect a non-refundable deposit and the provision of administration fees.

Due to the large expat community in Oman, demand for places at international schools is high and space limited. Expat parents need to consider their options carefully and plan well ahead of time.

Visas for Oman

Many citizens from Western countries, including the UK and USA don’t require a visa before traveling to Muscat. It is possible to get a visitor’s visa on arrival, irrespective of whether you arrive by air, sea or land. Tourist visas are valid for one month and typically cost 20 OMR. They can usually be extended relatively hassle free, for another fee of 20 OMR. Six-month passport validity requirements usually apply.

All non-Omani citizens seeking to work in the country need an employment visa. The only way to get this visa for moving to Muscat is by having an Omani employer sponsor you. There is a fair bit of paperwork involved but most of the responsibility lies with the employer. It is extremely difficult for expats to change jobs in Muscat. This is because expats require a No Objection Certificate from their employer and these are seldom given. The only other option is to leave Muscat for at least two years and then make a new work visa application. To be eligible for a work visa you must be between 21 and 60 years old.

EMPLOYMENT VISA FOR OMAN

It is granted at the request of a local sponsor and on his responsibility to the foreigner coming to Oman for employment and whose age is not below 21 years old. The Visa shall be as follows:

* Validity of the visa: Within three months from the date of issuance.

* Valid for extension and multiple entries.

* Fees: 20 Omani Riyals.

* Fines for late renewal: (50) fifty Omani Riyals for each month.

Conditions:

The sponsor must be a local one with full legal capacity, and be responsible for the truth of the information given in the application form.

* The person for whom the employment visa is requested shall not be below 21 or above 60 calendar years.

* The person shall be of the same sex as stated in the labour permit, which was issued by the Directorate General of Labour Affairs.

* The occupation for which the visa is requested must be identical to the one stated in the labour permit.

Required attachments:

Submitting the electronic application form available through the website, to be endorsed and stamped by the sponsor, and to be typed in Arabic for Arab nationals and in English for Non-Arab nationals, enclosing the following documents:

* Two photographs size (4X6) cm.

* Copy of the foreigner’s passport, provided it is valid for a period not less than six months.

* The original labour permit issued by the Ministry of Manpower and a copy thereof with each application form.

* In case the application is presented by someone other than the sponsor, the representative must be Omani and holding a written authorisation issued from the Directorate General of Passport & Residence as per the sponsor’s request.

* A medical fitness certificate issued for citizens of some countries specified as follows by the Ministry of Health (India, Pakistan, Philippines, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Syria, Sudan, Ethiopia); certificate must be endorsed by the Ministry of Health.

* Copy of the approval of the concerned authority for specific professions such as: Educational professions, Religious professions, Media professions, Medical, ….etc

Exceptional enclosures:

* In cases of transferring the sponsorship within the Sultanate, there must be a release letter from the former sponsor and approved by the Directorate General of Labour. All violations, including the delay fine must have already been settled when the visa application is submitted.

* Some nationalities or categories need special permits, such as: (Filipino housemaids need labour permit from the Filipino Embassy and attested by Oman’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) prior to the application.

Police Clearance Certificate for Expatriates in Oman

A Police Clearance Certificate states any criminal records and will be required if you are applying for a visa.

A police certificate is an official document issued by police or government agency of a country to enumerate any criminal records that the applicant may have. Criminal records may include arrest, conviction, and possibly criminal proceedings. Police certificate is also known as good citizen certificate, good conduct certificate, police clearance certificate, or judicial record extracts.

Relocation agencies in Oman

Helpxpat specialise in helping people move and are set up to relieve employees of the issues that occur when moving to Oman and we offer a wide range of services and provide aid in every aspect of your relocation – from visa struggles and work permits, to transport and finding housing.

Relocating without any assistance and help can quickly evolve into a matter of frustration, confusion and surrender – Our expert expat team is ready to get your relocation going, so why not jump-start your move abroad and contact us today? Best to start early!

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CEO Europe, Middle East & Africa

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