In a recent development, the Interior Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries have approved the unified Gulf tourist visa project, which is expected to commence in 2025. 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.

The unified Gulf tourist visa is part of the GCC 2030 tourism strategy, designed to increase the tourism sector’s contribution to the GDP and establish the GCC as a leading global tourist destination. The implementation of the unified visa is expected to have a transformative impact on the region’s tourism industry, attracting more tourists and stimulating economic growth in the tourism sector. It will require close collaboration and coordination among the GCC countries to ensure its success.

In conclusion, the unified Gulf tourist visa project is a significant step towards fostering economic integration and promoting tourism in the GCC countries. It represents a shared vision and collective ambition of the member states and is expected to have a positive impact on the economic and tourist sectors of the region.


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