Wednesday, July 27, 2011

A question for the reader: Oman for Gay Expat?

While I'm away, one I'd like to pass to my many readers and facebook fans.

Answers please (as comments) to a fellow reader of Muscat Confidential, who asks:

Hello there,

I may be moving to Oman, I am from [Somewhere in Europe] and I am gay. I have a partner and we have been together for 6 years. We are thinking about getting married.

Now I have the chance to move to Oman for work and we are quite worried about him getting a visa. Since homosexual acts, per se, are outlawed, I would like some recommendation by perhaps another expat on how to proceed when requesting the visa. Should we say we are married? should we look for an alternative?

By Anonymous on Sexual Adventures in Oman on 7/26/11

Over to you. My answer soon.


  1. At the risk of sounding harsh, this guy doesn't seem to have done any research whatsoever into the reality of living in Oman or the GCC.

    I would like some recommendation by perhaps another expat on how to proceed when requesting the visa. Should we say we are married?

    Would they grant your partner a visa if you are married? Of course not,and it shows an astonishing ignorance of Oman and the region as a whole. If he is unable to grasp as simple an issue as this, what sort of other stuff is he not going to comprehend?

    I'm not saying it's right to discriminate against gays, I'm just saying that the reality on the ground here is what it is, and it's gonna be a while before Oman lets you bring your gay partner into the country as a husband.

    Can you live a happy and fulfilling life in Oman as a Gay person / couple? Absolutely,I know several people who have / do. Are there Gay Omanis? Yes, and they are wonderful people. Is there a gay scene? Yes, and it's cool, but super discreet.

    Your Anon Questioner, however needs to do some more research on the reality on the ground here and elsewhere before even contemplating a move to the GCC.

  2. just keep him on a 30 day tourist visa and renew it every month, dont even attempt to try and get him a joining visa.

  3. Homosexuality is outlawed in Oman hence do not declare marriage while applying for visa else it will be rejected. Best way is to file to separate visa requests at a separate time. Employment visa person can apply first then get the other on visit visa which is for 3 months. Find a job for the second person get visa converted to employment from visit visa and enjoy...

  4. Hundreds of English language teachers seem to enjoy the Omani-gay experience...

    But OK, sorry for being flippant. There is a difference. Like every country in the world, homosexual activity happens all over. And generally speaking, what goes on in private, nobody cares about.

    The difference with your situation is that (as I understand it), you're looking to move to Oman and set up home as a homosexual couple. Even assuming that you're not going to print your exact relationship status on T-shirts or walk around dressed like Ru Paul, I think that might be more problematic.

    To the vast majority of people, homosexuality is something that happens, but is wrong. The concepts of "gay identity" or "lifestyle", let alone "gay marriage", are simply anathema in this society.

    You won't have any problem getting visas because nobody will ask. But you can't be "married" under Omani law, and by declaring your lifestyle as a matter of personal status, I think you're probably asking for trouble. This might not be the place for you.

    I apologise if this causes any offence - I just think it's more helpful to you that you get a frank reply.

  5. Why would you want to be anywhere where your lifestyle choices are not tolerated?

  6. As Oman does not recognise gay unions, they'll not recognise this man's partner. A visa will only be given to the guy with the job, not his partner. A family joining visa applicatio would also be rejected on the grounds that they're not related.

  7. Well, he might not understand that the culture here but what I would suggest that he can bring his partner in family Visa as an uncle. I am quite sure that nobody will question him. I think the family visa will be for longer period.

    As I am a gay, I would not recommend him to announce to everybody about his sexual preference. For sure he will have a nice gay social life around.

    Wish him good luck.


  8. 'Yes', Suburban, that's definitely an uncalled for and very harsh comment to make to someone who "is" actually doing the research.

    My partner and I just left Oman recently. Here's what we learned:
    - Tourist visas are good for 30 days and it gets tiresome to cross the border to UAE every month to get a new visa stamp.
    - Be honest and don't misrepresent yourself in trying to get a visa that you shouldn't have - stick to the tourist visa.
    - We never found any gay life in Muscat but we didn't worry about it. If that's important to you then don't go to Muscat.
    - It's much more common to see unmarried men living together. We quickly got over that fear.
    - More importantly learn about what is and isn't available. For example, internet is restricted and very slow. TV channels that are non-Arabic are few. Phone and email are monitored. Etc.
    - Jobs are really difficult to find unless your a talented construction professional.

  9. ^ Uncle?!! lol

    I don't think its a good idea, if I was this guy I'd go to a gay friendly country..

  10. don't insult our culture by coming here. ali

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Nobody really cares what you are but Gay marriage is not legal in Oman although Oman is a haven for Gays! It wasn't that long ago a UK MP took his new 'bride' to Oman for a honeymoon!

    Just look on the gay websites and it's full of Omani's seeking Gay relationships despite having a couple of wives!

  13. "don't insult our culture by coming here. ali"

    Hey Ali

    Might be an idea to learn about your culture before you make a misinformed statement about that.

    Which culture are you talking about? The Omani one where for years the khaneeth manned the roads ready to please the literally thousands of drivers wanting a bit on the side.

    The same ones that still dance around in the bar at the back of the Oman Oil garage off Burj Al Sahwa or countless other places around town.

    You know, the ones who never get arrested because being khaneeth is "cultural".

    A bit like that crazy Omani cultural sentiment that I have been told by many bragging locals here that : "you are only gay if you are the receiver. I am not gay because I am only the giver."

    Wake up Ali. It has been a part of your "culture" for generations!


  14. There is of course that town that allows Omani men to marry other Omani men. Surely most of you on this blog have heard about this?

  15. Many thanks for the advice readers. Excellent!

    From my POV:

    Dear Euro-Gay couple,
    Practicing homosexuality in Oman, as in many many places and countries, is both illegal and not (outwardly) culturally acceptable.

    Mentioning your Euro same sex marriage is not just pointless, but will result in visa denial.

    But just being homosexual isn't illegal. Having gay sex? Illegal.

    It's very hard to prove whether you 2 are 'practicing'. After all, why shouldn't 2 single men share a flat/house/car/tent? As long as no-one witnesses where you stick your wing-wang (and you both never ever admit it to a third party), and you don't flaunt it, you'll be OK.

    That means your spouse (say, your second cousin and long-time childhood friend/brother by another mother) will need to do 'the visa run' every 3 months as a tourist/businessman, and maybe land a job and visa independently eventually.

    Yes, this means he can't share any of your employer's usual spousal benefits (like flights home, medical insurance, etc). If being out and proud is what you want, stay in Europe or get so much money you can breeze in as a First Class tourist.

    If you want to spend some time living in the best Middle Eastern country there is, and are willing to be discrete, no problem.

    Of course there is a sort-of 'gay scene' in Oman, but it ain't no Amsterdam/Berlin/San Francisco here honey. It's more like Mississippi in 1950. Keep it quiet, and try not to break too many other laws, and it can work.

    Hope the above comments helps your decision.

    Undercover Dragon

  16. As they say, there are no stupid questions, just a lot of inquisitive idiots...

  17. Best is not to be overt. If you need to get around the visa thing there are only 3 ways.
    1. Your partner gets a job and his own visa
    2. You adopt him and file for a family visa (this may be rejected depending on age)
    3. Get and investor visa for him. This can be done in several ways. Consult your embassies commerce dept.


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