Good News to GCC Visa Holders

What used to be a privilege reserved for citizens is now available to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) residents as well. We’re talking about visa-free travel within the six GCC countries for residents. 

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The initiative, dubbed “Grand Tours Visa,’ allows residents of the GCC countries – Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain – to travel seamlessly within these countries. Officials liken this arrangement to the Schengen visa in Europe.

Seamless travel

Visa-Free Travel Within GCC

In a news article that appeared in The Peninsula Qatar, the Grand Tours Visa allows residents of GCC countries to travel freely to other member countries. With this benefit, tourism among the six Gulf countries will improve. 

It is also important to remember that GCC citizens have been travelling visa-free before. When the visa set-up is to be implemented, expatriates living in the Gulf countries will be able to travel the same way. 

The Grand Tours Visa will work as a multi-entry visa. The traveler will be allowed to stay in these countries for more than 30 days. Unlike the previous set-up, where the tourist has to get a visa to enter one GCC country to visit, this new set-up eliminates the need to obtain a visa when transferring to another GCC country.

Future Plans

You’ll just have to wait before you can plan your trip to the neighboring GCC county. According to the ministry officials, the Grand Tours Visa will be implemented by either late 2024 or in 2025. 

One useful feature of this initiative is the e-service. Travelers can expect hassle-free travel as they cross the borders of the countries. 

Since the GCC Grand Tours Visa is still in the planning process, there has been no announcement regarding the application process or the visa fee. But as early as now, the GCC countries are looking to improve the tourism of their respective countries. There are also plans to include long-haul tourists from Europe, the US, and Asia in this multi-entry visa offering. 

History of GCC Countries

The agreement among the Gulf countries -Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE – was concluded and took into effect on May 25, 1981. The cooperation among the countries was established because of their Islamic beliefs and similar objectives, among others. 

The council’s charter requires the members to coordinate and integrate their plans, improve their ties, and have similar regulations in various fields such as tourism, legislation, economy, among others. Ultimately, the council’s goal is to strengthen the countries’ relations and promote cooperation among the citizens. 

The Supreme Council is the highest decision-making entity, comprising the heads of states. The council meets yearly, and they decide unanimously on matters. 

Benefits of Visa-Free Travel

For people who love to travel, choosing to visit visa-free countries reduces the hassle of applying for the document. It also allows for a more spontaneous trip, since there is no need to worry whether the visa application is approved or not. 

When the GCC Grand Tours Visa takes into effect, the traveler will only need to apply for one visa. They will then be allowed to visit nearby Gulf countries using the visa they have. Most importantly, the visitor is allowed to stay for more than 30 days.

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