Qatar's plans to scrap its visa-on-arrival facility for nationals of 33 countries has been delayed.
The old system will remain in place despite the Gulf state announcing new rules earlier this month which were set to be introduced on May 1.
Under the regulations, the nationals of 33 countries, including the US, UK and expat residents of the GCC, would have to apply for a visa prior to arrival in Qatar.But media in Qatar reported on Monday that the move had been delayed after Qatar’s Foreign Ministry received requests from some countries to continue with the old system and allow their nationals time before the new entry visa rules are enforced.
According to Qatar News Agency (QNA), a source at the Consular Affairs Section of the Foreign Ministry said that the requests of these countries were being studied.
“It has, therefore, been decided that the existing visa-on-arrival scheme at the Doha International Airport for the citizens of the 33 countries will remain unchanged,” QNA quoted a senior Foreign Ministry official as saying.
The regulations would have meant that all passengers wishing to travel to Qatar for business purposes will need to have their visas arranged by a local sponsor, via the Ministry of Interior.
The news of the delay will come as relief to Qatar's hotel industry.
Some of the top hoteliers in Doha had earlier told Arabian Business that they were worried about the impact of the visa changes of tourism.