LONDON — Saudi Arabia will join other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with UK electronic visa waiver status, the Britain Home Office has announced on Wednesday.

An electronic visa waiver allows the holder to travel to the UK without obtaining a visa provided they complete an online waiver for each visit. A small fee will be applied, and it is quicker than applying for a visa as there is no need to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints), attend a visa application center or hand in your passport in advance of travel.

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This visa waiver for Saudi Arabia will better connect the people of our countries and boost economic prosperity.”

“The electronic visa waiver is a quick, digital alternative to the regular visit visa and ensures all the necessary security checks are carried out in advance of travel. The visa improvements announced today will provide greater security for our citizens while making it easier and cheaper for visitors from the Gulf to travel here for leisure and business.”

UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said: “This visa waiver will strengthen our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, making it easier for visitors from the Gulf to come to the UK.”

She added: “Our friendships with both countries are of great importance, built on shared priorities such as trade, investment and security.”

The Saudi Embassy in the United Kingdom welcomed the move. “The decision of the British authorities to exempt the Saudi citizens from visa procedures and to be introduced with the electronic exemption represents an important step in strengthening bilateral relations in all fields.” 

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