Oman has reopened its border to overland travellers from the UAE. Industry sources said expatriates were once again being issued travel documents at land borders after visas had been suspended for most of last week.

The border appears to have reopened to all travellers, including non-GCC expatriates this weekend, after closing around March 21.

Consular spokesmen, meanwhile, insisted the borders had never been closed to visitors or cross-border travellers, and that those entitled to enter Oman are getting visas.

Said Younis Al Zadalzi, an embassy spokesman: "The borders have never been closed to all those entitled to get visas to Oman. Visitors and cross border travellers from Oman's neighbouring countries are getting visas at all issue points, including land borders, commercial offices and airports."

Last week, a consular services source told Gulf News the embassy and Oman's Commercial Office in the country advised those who checked the mission counters for visas of a possible disruption at border check points as war broke out in Iraq.

The source had clarified no official notice had, however, been received, and that the advice was arbitrarily directed to visa seekers as a precautionary measure due to the latest regional developments.

"Visitors to Oman, including cross-border travellers from neighbouring countries such as Yemen, are being advised to check with the mission after a week," the source had said.

Meanwhile, land transport companies and other industries claimed their businesses had been badly affected due to the border closure last week.

Kamal Hassan Mohammed, director of the Sharjah-based Safeenat Al Sahra Passenger Transport, said: "We lost 75 per cent of our business throughout last week as only GCC nationals and students were allowed to enter Oman."

Mohammed said passengers comprising expatriates living in the UAE, as well as visitors, were sent back at 6pm on March 21 from Wajajah – the UAE-Oman border check-point – as the authorities there refused to issue visas to enable them enter Oman. GCC passengers were being allowed to enter.

Mohammed pointed out that people of all nationalities coming from Oman to the UAE were being allowed unfettered access.

He explained the first inkling Oman had sealed the border to non-GCC expatriates came on the afternoon of March 21, when a number of passengers comprising residents and visitors leaving for Oman were sent back to the UAE.

Businesses dealing in industrial equipment, garments and used cars were also severely affected last week, although things have reportedly returned to normal after the borders were reopened on Friday.