Unified Gulf Tourist Visa Project to Commence in 2025. Kuwait's Stance on Visa for Certain Nationalities
21 November 2023, 12:00 AM
31 December 2023, 12:00 AM
GCC countries have approved a unified tourist visa to allow easy movement between six nations for residents and tourists.
The announcement was made in the 40th meeting of the Interior Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council, which took place under the chairmanship of the Minister of Interior of Oman and President of the current session, Sayyed Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi, in the Omani capital Muscat.
This was announced by Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy, who said the seventh meeting of GCC tourism ministers in Oman has unanimously endorsed its rollout to be presented at the upcoming GCC summit.
In a statement to the Emirates News Agency (WAM), the minister said that specific regulations and legislation for the visa will be developed, with a targeted rollout between 2024 and 2025, subject to the readiness of each GCC country’s internal systems.
Al Marri noted that this new visa will open doors to travellers, granting them access to six countries under a single, unified tourist visa, ultimately fostering economic synergy across the Gulf region.
The project aims to facilitate the movement of residents and tourists across the GCC countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The visa will allow travelers to visit multiple countries with a single visa, streamlining the process and potentially boosting the region’s tourism sector.
Following the approval, joint or individual technical committees for each country will begin formulating and scrutinizing the prerequisites and conditions essential for visa application, in compliance with the respective laws and regulations of each nation. The visa applications will be submitted through a unified website/app, subject to scrutiny and approvals from all participating countries before the visa is issued. If objections arise from one or more countries, the visa will be granted conditionally for entry into the approved countries exclusively.
It’s important to note that project approval does not automatically guarantee consent from all countries for the visa holder’s entry. Each country will maintain its sovereignty in determining who is allowed to enter. For example, Kuwait currently maintains barriers to the entry of certain nationalities into the country, which will be among the conditions reviewed by the relevant committees either prior to the project launch or post-implementation.
Additionally, the project encompasses the establishment of specific visa fees. The Residency Affairs Sector in the Ministry of Interior is actively working on a study to amend visa fees of various types, with these amendments anticipated to be incorporated into the forthcoming discussion of the foreigners’ residency law in the National Assembly scheduled for December. This is crucial as visa fees play a significant role in attracting tourists to the region.