VISA "ok to board" messages:
A VISA is an endorsement in a passport or similar document, signifying that the document is in order and permitting its bearer to travel into or through the country of the government issuing it. This permission, however, is provisional and subject to the approval of the immigration officer at the entry point.
A passenger shall be solely responsible for complying with the laws, regulations and travel requirements of a country to be flown from, into, over and with Qatar Airways regulations and instructions. Qatar Airways shall not be liable for any aid or information given by an agent or QR employee to any passenger in connection with obtaining necessary documents or visas.
Qatar Airways reserves the right to refuse carriage of any passenger who has not complied with the applicable laws, regulations or requirements or whose documents do not appear to be in order or who does not permit QR to retain copies thereof. In case QR is required to pay or deposit any fine or penalty or to incur any expenditure by reason of the passenger (s) failure to comply with the travel requirements of that country, the passenger shall on demand reimburse QR any amount paid or deposited and any other expenditures incurred. QR may use towards such expenditure any funds paid to QR for unused carriage or any funds of the passenger in the possession of QR.
The common types of visas include:
- 1. Single entry visa: valid only for one visit.
- 2. Multiple entry visa: allows any number of visits within its validity period.
- 3. Business visa: for a short visit to conduct discussions, negotiations, and/or presentations, but not to take up employment.
- 4. Tourist visa: allows freedom to move around the country and briefly cross its frontiers to another country and return.
- 5. Residence visa: allows an extended stay but does not grant permission to take up employment.
- 6. Work visa: gives the permission to stay and take up employment, for a specific job and only for a limited period. Called also work permit.
- 7. Electronic visa: permission recorded in a computer instead of being issued as a certificate or stamp.
- 8. Pilgrim visa: (Hajj or Umrah) Entry/Exit is permitted only at Jeddah/Madinah.
As per instructions received from the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) in Saudi Arabia, effective from 11th of July 2015, all UMRA visa holders must disembark at the regular Terminal at Jeddah airport.
The current process for departure from JED remains unchanged.
All GCC nationals and their companions of different nationalities are exempted from the above rule.
An “OK to Board” message is normally required in the following situations:
1. Countries in GCC normally issue Resident Permit / Work Visa for expatriate workforce. One of the requirements of Resident Permit (RP) is that if a person leaves the country from where he holds a RP, then a re-entry has to be ensured within 6 months. An over-stay is a violation of the rules and requires the immigration department to authorise re-entry. Once approved by the immigration, an “OK to Board” message may be inserted within the PNR to ensure that passenger is accepted at the outstation. The request to insert this message is normally made by the passenger’s sponsor.
2. An “Ok to Board” message is also inserted in the PNR for a Seaman. The message is normally handled by the shipping agent, or the shipping company itself with Qatar Airways that the necessary visa is pre-arranged and will be made available upon passenger’s arrival. Seamen are accepted on board a QR flight based on the passenger presenting at the time of check-in the following documents:
- A valid passport
- Shipping company’s book
- A letter of guarantee
- One of the below documents:
- Confirmation of pre-arranged visa
- Ok to board message in the PNR
Note: A. If the information in TIMATIC specifies that visa for seaman can be obtained on arrival, then no OKTB message is required, however, passenger must be in possession of all other documents mandated in TIMATIC as well as a valid passport, shipping company’s book and a letter of guarantee.
B. During COVID-19 pandemic situation, seaman has to be in possession of all other travel requirements and documents as mandated by the travel regulations.
3. An “Ok to Board” message is also added for a person that has been issued with a Business Visa, travelling for a short visit to conduct discussions, negotiations, and / or presentations, but not to take up employment with the sponsor.
Note: The message is inserted upon Sponsor’s advice at a QR office at the passenger’s destination.
For customers travelling either for Tourism purposes or joining a family member (Visit Visa) may require prior clearances in the form of a written authorization from the immigration authorities of the country of arrival. In turn the clearances must be updated within the customers PNR. This is to be done in the form of a SR CKIN Message. Res & Tktg Staff are reminded to please ensure this is checked within TIMATIC, The Official Government Website of the country of arrival or finally the ASM of that airport of arrival.