RIYADH — The European Union announced on Monday its decision to grant a five-year valid multiple-entry visa to citizens of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states.

This was announced by High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell at the opening session of the first high-level EU-GCC Forum on Regional Security and Cooperation in Luxembourg. “I welcome a decision adopted by the European Commission this morning to harmonize the rules for granting multiple-entry visas for the citizens of the GCC countries,” he said.

The landmark decision allows Saudi citizens to visit the EU multiple times over a period of five years with the same visa. During the visa validity period, holders of the visa enjoy travel rights equivalent to visa-free nationals. As per the updated visa code, visa regulations are standardized for all GCC countries whose citizens require visas to access the Schengen Area.

In a statement on his X social media account, French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Ludovic Pouille, said: “Saudi citizens will now be able to obtain Schengen visas for a period of five years upon their first request,” he said while emphasizing that the European decision was strongly supported by Paris. “We look forward to seeing more Saudis in France, whether for tourism or work,” he added.

The implementation of the five-year visa rule marks a significant step forward in strengthening people-to-people relations between the EU and the GCC. The announcement at the EU-GCC Forum on Regional Security and Cooperation will be a big boost to the enhanced ties and bilateral cooperation between the two sides. Saudi Arabia is represented by a high level delegation, headed by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, at the forum.

In his speech at the opening session of the forum, GCC Secretary General Jasim Albudaiwi said that holding the forum confirms the utmost keenness in further enhancing relations with the European Union. “We are facing a dangerous turning point and disastrous consequences if we are not able to deal with the negative developments in the region,” he said.

Albudaiwi renewed the GCC’s condemnation of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, and its demand for an immediate ceasefire

© Copyright 2022 The Saudi Gazette. All Rights Reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info).