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Gulf countries to introduce a unified Schengen-style visa

By Melanie Uson Published May 27, 2024 6:38 pm

You can soon travel to Gulf countries with ease as there will be a “Grand Visa” that will allow tourists to visit the six countries with a single visa. 

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced that they are set to launch an all-in-one visa allowing tourists to travel to Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and Oman. 

“All GCC countries have one common market and unified policies. In the tourism sector, the GCC can benefit from both supply and demand sides by having umbrella regulations, policies, and procedures to facilitate growth,” said Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary for the Ministry of Economy in UAE. 

According to a report by Gulf News, the e-services will also be included in the project for travelers’ ease in transactions and security.  

“E-services are also vital to this effort because we want to make it easy, avoiding unnecessary complications. Simultaneously, we aim to maintain all the security measures. We share many common security measures (with Saudi Arabia) that will facilitate obtaining a UAE or GCC visa for all GCC countries,” said Khalid Jasim Al Midfa of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority (SCTDA), adding that they are looking to convert the countries’ huge tourism potential into “materialistic economic value.” 

The grand visa is slated to be available by the end of 2024. It will also have a minimum of 30-day unrestricted tourist access to the countries mentioned.

This upcoming document will work similarly to the Schengen visa, which lets non-European tourists travel to 27 countries in that area including Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.