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Oman govt issues clarification over visas for foreign property owners

The announcement clarifies some confusion over the issuing of visas for foreign property investors which has been affecting the market in recent months.

The law granting the right to a residency visa to foreign property owners was issued in 2007 but did not specify whether the developers or the government would issue the visa.
There was considerable confusion as developers gave verbal promises about residency visas. Some buyers thought this meant they would automatically be entitled to a visa as soon as they agreed to buy and during construction.

Now Mohammed al-Sinani, the Tourism Ministry’s director general of planning and follow-up, has cleared up the confusion.

He said that foreign property buyers will get a full residence visa only after the title deed has been changed to their names.
‘Home buyers get a multiple three week visiting visa each time they come when their property is under construction.

Then they can apply for a two year residency after the completion of the deeds,’ Sinani explained.

Buyers are also entitled to get residency visas for their family and parents.

The residency will be cancelled and is transferable to the new owner when the property is sold, Sinani added.

Developers welcomed the clarification.

‘The real estate industry is new here and there is bound to be some uncertainties.

It is clear that the residency visa must be granted by the government,’ said Ziyad Al-Zubair, director of Barr Al Jissah Residence.

Buying property is restricted for foreigners in Oman.

They can only buy in areas called integrated tourism complex (ITC).

These inlcude the Wave, Salalah Beach Resort, Barr Al-Jissah, Yiti Resort, Muscat Hills, Blue City and Jebel Sifah.
Dan Hammond, a British real estate investor, said some buyers were still waiting for their properties three years after signing contracts, due to handover delays.

‘I pay interest on a million dollar property that I still don’t have a year after it was promised to be handed over to me,’ he said.

Oman, like other Gulf Arab countries, has been hit by the global financial crisis which forced developers to delay projects.