UAE: Single visa for GCC residents to travel within member states soon?

Currently, Gulf citizens have visa-free travel within the bloc, while most expats require permit to enter the six countries


Sahim Salim

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Published: Tue 26 Sep 2023, 4:52 PM

Last updated: Tue 26 Sep 2023, 9:52 PM

The six-country Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is considering a single visa system that will see its residents travel freely between member states, a UAE minister has said.

Bloomberg quoted Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, UAE Minister of Economy, as saying that the regime could be introduced “very soon”.

Currently, only citizens of GCC countries enjoy visa-free travel to UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Qatar that make up the bloc. Expatriates residing in these countries must apply for a visa for travelling to each member state, with some nationalities getting visa-free or visa-on-arrival privileges.

Al Marri talked about the pan-GCC single visa as he addressed the Future Hospitality Summit in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.

Earlier this year, Bahrain’s tourism minister had revealed plans for a GCC-wide “Schengen-style” visa for tourists.

Speaking during the Arabian Travel Market, Fatima Al Sairafi said ministerial-level discussions were taking place to implement the unified visa. She said the system would be launched “very soon”.

Addressing the same panel, a UAE Ministry of Economy official had said the system would help tourists visit multiple countries without restrictions under one unified package.


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