THE office of the Directorate General of Passports and Residence has been entrusted with the responsibility of issuing passports for Omanis and granting visas to foreigners wishing to enter the Sultanate. It is also involved in regulating and monitoring the entry and exit of people to and from Oman at border checkpoints.
The office also monitors the number of expatriates living in the country in accordance with policies set by the state.
Speaking about efforts undertaken by the Directorate General of Passports and Residence and the latest developments in his office, Colonel Hilal bin Ahmed Al Busaidi Director, General of Passports and Residence, said the Directorate General of Passports and Residence oversees several systems, including the Omani passport system and the nation's visas system.
Today, applicants can fill out visa applications at home or from their office via the Internet, due to efforts by the Directorate General of Passports to streamline and simplify procedures and services provided to the public.
Al Busaidi added that with assistance from the Directorate General of Passports and Residence, the Royal Omani Police recently signed a contract with an international company to advise Oman as it moves towards issuing electronic passports.
The project aims to add regulations to fully comply with the best and latest standards of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ECHO) and the International Standards Organization (ISO).
E-passports contains optical security systems and the latest international technical standards, such as certification system mail, and will be linked with the electronic gateways system.
On the coordination between the Sultanate and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Al Busiaidi noted that ongoing meetings are being held between general managers of passports and residence at the GCC countries to simplify procedures to be used by the GCC countries. GCC nationals are allowed to travel within GCC countries by using identity cards and also provide assistance for the movement of servants of GCC citizens with a sponsor and his family members when moving between GCC countries.
Regarding the fraudulent use of visas and passports documents and methods to combat this, the Director-General of Passports and Residence said the ROP is addressing such fraud through the introduction of technologies and sophisticated devices that detect forged documents.