Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Oman Law Digest 2009 - NATIONALITY AND ALIENS

ALIENS
In general aliens have the same civil rights as citizens. Aliens are subject to Omani court jurisdiction as residents of Oman or if the cause of action arose in Oman. A non-Omani natural or corporate person cannot engage in commercial activity without obtaining a licence.

Foreign natural persons must obtain a visa to enter and must obtain a permit to reside in the country. Visas for some nationalities are granted upon arrival. Others must obtain visas in advance. Local sponsorship is required for employment, family-joining and short-term visit visas. Local employers must obtain labour clearance from the Ministry of Manpower before employing a foreign employee. Based on labour clearance, an employment visa is granted to employees to enter Oman. Applications for visas for an employee’s spouse and children must be routed through the employer for sponsorship.

CITIZENSHIP
Omani citizenship may be gained: (i) by birth, if both parents are Omanis; (ii) by descent, for child of Omani father, regardless of child’s country of birth; and (iii) by naturalization, to women through marriage to an Omani, and by special decree for men. Foreigners may be granted citizenship by the Sultan for outstanding service to the State over a number of years.

A foreign woman who marries a citizen of Oman is granted citizenship by registration after a few years of marriage and residency in the country. A foreign man who marries a citizen of Oman is not eligible for Omani citizenship. A child of an Omani mother and unknown or stateless father and a child of unknown parents are granted citizenship. Dual citizenship is not recognised but law does not specifically forbid acquisition of second citizenship. However, exercise of rights and privileges of second citizenship may result in divestment of Omani citizenship. Voluntary renunciation of Omani citizenship is permitted by law.