OMAN | New Online E-Visa System Launched
On June 19, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) officially launched a new e-visa system for business and tourist visas. A public announcement of the new system by the ROP claims that many applicants receive their e-visa online in just five minutes using the intuitive online application. The new online application system is open to the citizens of 67 countries and citizens of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries in 116 designated professions. The new system also allows foreign nationals owning property in the Sultanate to renew their visas and residence permits via the same online portal. Reportedly, pilot programs for additional online visa and immigration services are already underway with plans to add functionality to the existing platform over the coming year.
CANADA | Major Amendment to Citizenship Act Brings Positive Changes
Effective June 19, Canada has made major amendments to its Citizenship Act. The amendments streamline the citizenship process, enhance program integrity, and repeal provisions that treated dual citizens differently than other Canadians. The immediate changes most applicable to foreign nationals working in Canada include:
- Elimination of the requirement that new citizens continue to reside on a full-time basis in Canada after receiving citizenship; and
- Elimination of provisions that allowed authorities to revoke the Canadian citizenship of dual citizens convicted of crimes “against the national interest.” With this change, dual citizens will be treated the same as non-dual citizens under the Canadian justice system.
MALAYSIA | E-Visas Available for Business Travelers from Ten Nations
The Malaysian government recently clarified that its e-visa program is available to certain business travelers headed to the southeast Asian nation. The e-visa program is currently open to citizens of ten eligible nations, providing single-entry, 30-day stays. Application for the e-visa can be made on the VisaMalaysia website here. While the e-visa is regularly used for tourism purposes, foreign nationals of the ten eligible nations have been hesitant to use the option for business travel as it was unclear until now whether the visa allowed holders to engage in permissible business activities. Note that in order to use the e-visa for business, applicants must be sure to select the e-Visa option rather than the e-NTRI option when completing the online application.
QATAR | Gulf Diplomatic Crisis Persists and Escalates
Following up on our earlier alert, the diplomatic crisis between Qatar in its neighboring countries in the Middle East not only continues, but appears to be escalating without showing any signs of resolving soon. For more details, see our Global Brief of June 8. The diplomatic and trade boycott of Qatar has now expanded to include 16 nations: Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Maldives, Mauritius, Chad, Senegal, Niger, Gabon, Jordan, Comoros, Djibouti, and Mauritania. All have cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, and many have imposed travel and trade restrictions on Qatari citizens and goods. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Egypt continue to close their airspace and airports to flights to and from Qatar and all flights of state-owned Qatar Airways.