Are you looking to buy a car in Oman but are unsure of how to go about it? We have all the info for you.
18 July 2013| Last updated on 29 June 2017
There are several transportation options in Oman. There is public transport which will get you from A to B perfectly, however for people who enjoy driving around and exploring or are perhaps quite spontaneous, getting a car is essential. Cars are not extremely expensive to buy or maintain in the Sultanate, and petrol, when compared to most of the world, is on the cheap side.
Before you commit to buying a car decide how long you plan to stay in Oman, if it is for a short period, you might be better off renting a car than buying one as you do not have to worry about pesky details such as insurance, registration or maintenance. However, renting a car can add up in the long run and there is zero return on your investment. If you decide to buy a car, there two options available - you can either buy a new car or a second-hand vehicle. Each option has its own pros and cons. There is also the option of importing your car from your home country.
In order to own a car in Muscat, you must be a resident of the Sultanate (not on a visit visa). You must also have a valid Oman driving license. When you are buying a car, whether you are buying second-hand or new, you will have to present certain documents. These include:
- Original Passport
- Passport Copy including a copy of the visa page
- Passport photos (it is always good to have these handy whenever you are closing a deal on something).
- A copy of your labour card (if you are employed in the Sultanate) or a copy of your sponsorship certificate (for non-working residents)
- Valid driving license and a copy
- A vehicle purchase form (available from the police station or the car dealership) which is to be signed by your sponsor and taken to the insurance provider.
A resident is entitled to own up to three vehicles in Oman, so you will be able to buy a car for your spouse and yourself in your name with no hassle.
Buying a new vehicle
New cars should be bought at an authorised car dealership. The perks of buying a new car, apart from the “new car” smell, is that, most of the time, you are entitled to free service for a certain period. Furthermore, car dealers offer discounts at certain times of the year. Ramadan is a great time to buy a car, this is the period of giving and all shops tend to have big discounts, even the car dealerships.
If you are buying your car at the beginning of the new year, there is often a discount on the previous year’s model, as the dealerships have to move these cars. If you are buying a car at any other time, don’t be afraid to haggle, there is often a discount on the advertised price, but if you don’t ask for it, you won’t benefit from it.
Buying from a dealer is beneficial as they will arrange all the paperwork including vehicle registration and finance. There are a few ways to finance your car, you can get a bank loan, leave postdated cheques or pay the good old way by using cash. You will also need to insure your new vehicle.
Buying a used vehicle
Due to the transient nature of Oman used cars are plentiful. It is a lot cheaper than buying a new car, but the history might not always be up to date and you do not know how it was driven before. If you are buying a used car from a private individual as opposed to a used car dealership, it is advisable that you have it checked for major faults. A reputable used car dealership will do their own thorough checks. If you are buying a second hand car from a dealer, they will usually arrange for all the paperwork to be done.
If you want to buy a used car from a private individual (this is by far the riskiest method of purchasing a vehicle as scams are rife and the cars could have major faults that you are not aware of) there is a car souk at the Friday Market where private individuals sell their cars. In the case of this type of sale, you will have to do all the paperwork yourself including the registration, transfer of ownership and insurance. The seller should be with you when you insure the car as a transfer of ownership has to be done in both parties presence before the vehicle can be registered.
Transferring ownership can be quite a process, firstly you will have to fill a form which details the personal information of the buyer and has the signatures of both the buyer and the seller, the seller will have to appear before the Directorate of Licensing in order to obtain approval to sell the vehicle and also prove that he has no outstanding bank loans related to the vehicle. If he does, he will need the permission of the bank to sell and if he has paid off his bank loan in full he will need a certificate from the bank in order to prove that. All private vehicle sales have to go through the Oman Royal Police.