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Schengen-Style GCC Visa Proposed to Ease Travel Restrictions

  • Publish date: Thursday، 04 May 2023
Schengen-Style GCC Visa Proposed to Ease Travel Restrictions

A significant announcement regarding visa regulations for GCC countries was made at The Arabian Travel Market (ATM). It was about a proposed "Schengen-style visa" program for GCC nations which is expected to have a significant impact on the region's travel and tourism industry.

Currently, citizens of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries - Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE - enjoy the privilege of visa-free travel throughout the region. In essence, this makes the GCC a borderless territory for its own nationals.

However, the new proposal is on the table that would extend this privilege to GCC residents as well, thereby allowing expats residing in places like Abu Dhabi to travel visa-free in the same manner. The proposed visa system would resemble the Schengen zone in Europe, which allows for unrestricted travel across borders within the zone, and complements the free movement of goods and services within the European Union.

Fatima Al Sairafi, the Minister of Tourism for Bahrain, along with HE Abdulla Al Saleh, a government Undersecretary from the UAE, and Fahd Hamidaddin, the CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority (STA), announced the proposed visa system for GCC residents at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) event, which is ongoing until May 4.