People applying for tourist visas for the United States in Qatar have greater chance of accessing them than in any other GCC country. Figures released by the US Administration suggest that only 3.2 percent requests for US tourist visas made to the US embassy in Doha were turned down in the FY 2010.
A US government website citing tourist visa (B-Visas) refusal details country-wise said the data were preliminary through September 30, 2010. As for Qatar, the data show this was the lowest percentage of tourist visa refusal in the entire GCC region. The next Gulf state with a lower percentage of rejection was Kuwait (3.6 percent). Bahrain ranked third with a 4.1 percent rejection rate while the percentage for the largest GCC state Saudi Arabia was six.
As for Oman and the UAE, the percentages were higher-8.7 and 9.7, respectively. The GCC states ranked much above their peers in the Arab world like Egypt, Yemen, Sudan and even Iraq. The rate of B-visa rejection in these countries was more than 30 percent.
Somalia topped the list with a rejection rate of almost 70 percent followed by Djibouti (60.2 percent), Yemen (54.3 percent), Mauritania (49.7 percent) and Iraq (42.2 percent). It is interesting to note that the next Arab country after the GCC states with lower refusal percentage was Libya (14.3 percent). Morocco with a refusal rate of 15.5 percent and Tunisia with 15.6 percent rejection ranked next.
Among non-Arab Asian countries, China with a 13.3 percent rejection rate and India with double that percentage fared better than Pakistan (41.6 percent) and the Philippines (38 percent). Sri Lanka (28.6 percent) and Bangladesh (36.4 percent) were much better off as compared to Pakistan and the Philippines. US embassy officials were not immediately available for comment but it is understood that after Qatar Airways introduced flights to major US cities beginning June 2007, tourist visa requests from Qatari nationals as well as expatriates here have multiplied.