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Published 11 months ago

Expats often prefer to drive in Oman, as it is the most efficient way to travel around the country. Expats are eligible to obtain a local licence, as long as they meet the requirements and pass all required tests.

Many employers will provide a car service, with a driver, for their staff. However, if this is not applicable to you, or if you wish to purchase your own car, it is important to make sure you have a valid driving licence. Please see below a guide to driving in Oman.

Obtaining a licence

If you are in Oman on a visitor visa, you are allowed to drive on the licence of your home country, or you may wish to obtain an international licence. If you have applied for a residency visa but are awaiting a decision on your application, it is also fine to drive on your local licence. However, once residency is obtained, all expats will need to have an Omani licence.

Expats from Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates can benefit from an exchange program where they can show their local licence, and will then be issued an Omani licence. Expats from other countries will need to pass a number of tests to be issued a licence. This includes a vision test, road rules and regulations, and a driving test. They then need to be renewed every two years.

To begin the process, you will need to provide your residency card and a passport photograph, and you will also need to pay a licence fee. Licences are issued and regulated by the Royal Oman Police.

Driving conditions

Roads in Oman are paved and very well-maintained, especially in Muscat and in the surrounding areas. However, the road standard may be slightly lower in regional or remote parts of the country. In remote areas, roads may not be well lit, so try to avoid driving at night. Wandering livestock can also be a hazard outside of major cities, so always be alert for animals, or other road debris.

Accidents are common in Oman, largely due to speeding and poor driving skills- always be aware of your surroundings, take regular breaks on long road trips, and report any unsafe driving to the police.

Traffic can be very heavy in Oman, especially in Muscat. This increases during morning and evening rush-hour, and during school pick-up and drop-off times. It is important to account for traffic delays and to expect them when driving in Muscat. Parking can also be at a premium in the city.

Road rules

The speed limits in Oman are 120 km/hour on motorways, 90 km/hour on open roads, and 40-80 km/hour in towns and cities. There is zero tolerance for drinking and driving, so you must have a breath alcohol content of 0.00% to get behind the wheel. Penalties are strictly enforced for this, and other traffic offences. Driving is done on the right side of the road, and seatbelts are compulsory for all passengers in the vehicle. Speed cameras are in use throughout the country.

While driving, you must have within your car your driving licence, insurance papers, proof of vehicle registration, and your roadworthy certificate. You must be 18 years of age or older to drive, or 21 and over to rent a car.

Useful links:

Royal Oman Police

Driving in Oman

Oman traffic safety

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