UK Home Office Announces that Saudi Arabia, Bahrain Join Other GCC States with Electronic Visa Waiver Status
The UK Home Office has announced that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain will join other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with electronic visa waiver status, as of June 1, 2022, which will contribute to deepening the partnership and strengthening diplomatic relations and economic prosperity.
In a statement issued today, the UK Home Office affirmed that “an electronic visa waiver allows the holder to travel to the UK without obtaining a visa provided they complete an online waiver for each visit. A small fee will be applied, and it is quicker than applying for a visa as there is no need to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints), attend a visa application center or hand in your passport in advance of travel.”
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel said that “This visa waiver for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will better connect the people of our countries and boost economic prosperity. The electronic visa waiver is a quick, digital alternative to the regular visit visa and ensures all the necessary security checks are carried out in advance of travel. The visa improvements announced today will provide greater security for our citizens while making it easier and cheaper for visitors from the GCC to travel here for leisure and business.”
For her part, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that “this visa waiver will strengthen our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, making it easier for visitors from the Gulf to come to the UK. Our friendships with both countries are of great importance, built on shared priorities such as trade, investment and security.”
It is noteworthy that eligible individuals can provide notification of travel with an electronic visa waiver up to three months before travel and as late as 48 hours before travel.