Thursday, April 22, 2010

British Embassy in Oman - Request for Brits to register, plus a great bar!

Following on from our story about the CAYC, I'd like to give a bit of a plug for the British Embassy in Oman. They may not be able to intercede on your behalf if you break the law, but they will put you in touch with a few decent English-speaking local law firms. They are, from what I hear, pretty friendly and efficient, in as much as Her Majesty's Foreign office lets them. I've attended a few great weddings there over the years.

They have a problem: less than 10% of British Citizens in Oman actually register with the embassy. That makes it hard for the embassy to provide assistance, should shit connect with fan. So here's a plug from the British Embassy to all citizens to please register on-line on their website.

Photo: The British Embassy, Muscat Oman. Pic ripped from

If you need a visa, however, go to The Home Office people, here.

I think if you want to vote it may not be too late to register.

Dear Mr. Dragon,
We would like your help is to get British Citizens to register their details on LOCATE.

LOCATE is the on-line registration tool used by the FCO in times of crisis or emergency. NO ONE has access to individuals information apart from the Embassy here in Oman or, as mentioned, in a crisis and we need assistance from London. The tax man, lawyers and ex's will not be able to find individuals by them being registered. Individuals details are totally secure under the Data Protection Act.

The problem we have is that only approximately 300 British Citizens have registered as being in Oman (resident specific), but the ROP tell us that there are closer to 5,000 British Citizens with resident visas. If there was an emergency, the recent earthquakes being a classic example, we would be able to LOCATE individuals quickly and communicate on their behalf to family and friends (if requested) that they were safe thus allowing us to concentrate on the people that may really need our help. Also by being registered they would receive up-dates from the Embassy on matters of importance via our Warden's network or by SMS if time critical.

In order for people to register they need to go onto the Embassy website: and follow the links. People need to re-register annually and up-date their page when they travel.

We would be delighted to answer any questions your readers may have regarding Consular matters such as death and birth registration, notarial acts or marriages, but we would not be able to give any comment or advise on visa related matters. Our colleagues in UKBA (part of the Home Office) are solely responsible for visa related enquiries. Any questions or comments can be directed to them on or by calling the Visa Application Centre on 24497078. We are sorry that we cannot assist with Visas, but as I mentioned anything to do with Consular issues - not a problem.

Alison Hardy, British Vice Consul, The British Embassy, Muscat.

So there you go, British people. Go register. Tally-ho!

The Dragon's Inside tip: I would also enquire about getting on the list of "Friends of the Thirsty Camel". This way you would be sure to hear about all events they hold. Email irene(dot)bedwin(at)fco(dot)gov(dot)uk should anyone wish to go down this route and assuming you are not already a Friend! "The Thirsty Camel" is the embassy's own in-house bar, next to a nice pool. It serves duty free booze, brought in via the diplomatic bag I guess, and is open during Ramadan (as it's within the gilded gates of the Embassy and thus traditionally treated by Oman as Sovereign British soil.)

They do serve an excellent G&T. But don't tell anyone where you heard about it - it's not the done thing to advertise such fantastic facilities... so, wink wink, hush hush, on the QT!

The embassy is located next to the bridge in Shatti Embassy row, near the new Indian Embassy. Park opposite the school and walk - you can't take your car in.

Mail Address:
British Embassy
PO Box 185
Mina Al Fahal
Postal Code 116
Sultanate of Oman

(968) 24 609002 Commercial
(968) 24 609251 Consular
(968) 24 609224 Defence
(968) 24 609000 Out of hours emergencies

(968) 24 609000

(968) 24 609010 General
(968) 24 609011 Consular
(968) 24 609013 Chancery
(968) 24 609012 Commercial


Office hours:
Sat-Wed: 0330-1030 GMT
Sat-Wed: 0730-1430 Local Time
Sat-Wed: Consular opening hours 0800 - 1300 Local Time


  1. The Thirsty Camel is indeed an excellent watering hole. And you don't have to be a Brit to get in.

    Nice hint Dragon!

    An English Gentleman

  2. but the website is pants. have tried to register many times but it just dont work.

    there must be more than 300 brits in pdo, schlumberger, halliburton alone! never mind at the BSM.... or ABA.....

  3. Fully agree with Fred. Have tried many times to register online and it's like going back to the steam age. I suggest Alison Hardy has a go herself.

    While she's engaging with us she may also want to apologise for the ridiculous amounts of money she and the consular team charge for simple services, effectively acting as tax collectors on behalf of Brown and Darling.


  4. The website is crap. That's why so few people have registered. We've tried and given up.

  5. Fred. I just tried to register and it was easy. A tiny bit too much stuff to read, a bit too long winded but the point is if it helps the Government to help you if anything goes bad then it's worth a few minutes (for that is all it takes). It's v annoying that you can only do it for a year though. By the way the Embassy website seems to have had a major update recently as it looks completely different (better!) so maybe that helped?

  6. Can Irish people register since we have no embassy?

  7. Ok I've just had a go, having tried and given up several times over our years abroad. The embassy website is certainly a lot better but registration is not especially easy:
    - having first registered with the 'Locate' system you get access to the site
    - there's then quite a long form to fill out incl. passport details, full home address, arrival and departure dates etc.
    - it looks like you would have to go through this separately process for each family member (generate separate Locate accounts, then full separate registrations). You'd have thought there would be a 'family' option allowing you to register once and just add more names and passport numbers
    - other than the Locate registration, you have to go through this every year

    Basically the site seems more geared to short-term visitors than long-term residents and is quite onerous for families.


  8. WM. You are so right. British taxpayers should be subsidising your expat lifestyle. Perhaps Ms Hardy could also pop round and fill in that pothole at the end of your road as well? For free.

    But you have a point about Locate. It works but much in the same way that a horse and cart would get you from London to Leeds. Slowly, painfully and with a lot of swearing along the way.

  9. Hazchem (nice name by the way),

    My expat lifestyle is what it is. I pay UK taxes on the income I earn there. I am entitled to my tax-free income here. Personally I don't think that justifies the UK government's recovering additional income from me by other means because of what they assume to be my lifestyle. The charges they levy for simple services like certifying documents* are far, far higher than those needed to cover their direct costs.

    * something that we need to do increasingly regularly for simple UK transactions because of the onerous and pointless anti-money-laundering compliance rules that the UK government itself now imposes. They force us to do these things and then charge us the earth for the privilege.

    I don't blame Ms Hardy by the way - my apologies for sounding like I did. She's just a civil servant doing as she's told.


  10. Embassy registration today -
    Tax forms tomorrow

  11. I agree - LOCATE is really not appropriate for residents. I have just reregistered for a new "trip" to Oman, and have just had to re-enter all my addresses, contact details, etc.

    A request to the Embassy: please have a category "long-term resident" so we don't have to register every year. If you cannot do that, please amend the webpage so that all you need to do is change the "return date" of the trip, rather than typing everything in again.

    And also, if we still have to register every year, would it be possible to send out a personal "reminder" to those whose "trips" are coming to an end? Otherwise, we'll just forget, and you won't have all the expats registered on your webpage.

  12. So it wasn't just me... there's Alison Hardy's answer to why so few of us are registered.

    Fiona, unfortunately I don't think the Consular Section can change anything in Locate. It looks like an FCO-wide system.


  13. UD - Cant believe you took me off your blog list .. i was rally enjoying the traffic !

  14. Hi, I've just registered my whole family, took less thaan 5 minutes as I only put in the essential info, Names, DOBs, contact number and emergency contact number. As for re-registering as long as I remember passwords etc it should be even quicker next year....assuming we are still here!!!!!

  15. Another bonus to offset the laborious task of registering with LOCATE annually is that you are sent British Embassy news from a network of nominated wardens (who are British Expats, voluntarily doing their bit for Queen and Country). This network is essential in a local emergency in country and is useful for cascading useful (?) information to those who have registered. The wardens support the Embassy consular staff (staff who are mostly Expat and not Civil Servants/Diplomats hence the odd grammatical/spelling mistake) in communicating key messages to British Expats in Oman. But let us not moan but rather support their emergency plan. The service is for the benefit of you and your family. It may take up to an hour of your time to complete the forms on-line, but don't you deserve to be part of a local British network which could assist you or your family in the face of adversity? Wouldn't it be great to support Ms. Hardy by doubling / tripling / quadrupling the number of British people registered on LOCATE in Oman? You never know though, too many people might crash their IT system and then we'll be in trouble!

  16. A strong & rich Bank in Oman is not ready to pay the money of a Small Proprietorship Company. The sponsor is going in trouble because he has issued cheques to the suppliers to do this Bank Job.

    If they dont pay on time, what would happen to this samll company, who is going to bear the losses behind not paying on time. The proprietor would loose his job, he would go to jail and debts would increase becuase salary would be stoped.

    What is the short cut to stop this disiaster , where to go, the Bank is strong and can spend years on the case, but the Small company can not wait that long, How to stop this Disaister from happening.

    I request all the members advices and help in this regard


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