Visa-free entry to UK for GCC

December 31, 20230 Comments

The UK government has declared its decision to provide visa-free access to travelers from several Arab nations starting February 22 of the coming year.

In a notable modification to its visa protocols, the UK aims to facilitate entry for residents of Jordan and all member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

Individuals from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, and Bahrain will no longer require visas for entry into the UK. Instead, starting from February next year, they will only need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) to visit the UK. Notably, residents of Qatar have been utilizing the ETA for travel to the UK since November 15, 2023.

A statement issued by the British government highlights the transition to an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system, which is expected to simplify the entry process by eliminating the need for obtaining a visit visa.

Under this revised system, tourists of all age groups will be mandated to electronically apply for a travel permit, priced at £10, valid for two years. This strategic shift in visa regulations is designed to streamline entry procedures, facilitating more convenient travel for citizens of these nations planning visits to the United Kingdom.

Earlier in the year, the UK government unveiled plans to implement a new ETA scheme as part of its digitization of the UK border by 2025, aimed at enhancing border security and customer experience.

An ETA serves as a digital authorization for travel, applicable to those visiting or transiting through the UK without the need for a visa during short stays or for those who do not presently hold another UK visa.

By reducing costs and simplifying visa requirements, the ETA scheme is expected to ensure that visitors from the Gulf states and Jordan experience seamless travel to the UK, fostering stronger business and tourism ties between these nations, as per a statement from the UK government.

Gulf visitors constitute a significant economic contribution to the UK, with over 790,000 Gulf visitors spending £2 billion during their stays in the UK in 2022.

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