Soon, you can travel across the Gulf countries with one visa, just like Schengen countries!
In an effort to boost tourism in the Gulf countries, the Gulf Cooperation Council, at the 40th meeting of the Interior Ministers, recently approved a unified tourist visa, just like the European Schengen visa, for the member states Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. When finally in place, this unified visa for the Gulf countries will definitely simplify logistics related to travel.
The Gulf Cooperation Council President Sayyed Hamoud bin Faisal Al Busaidi made the aforementioned announcement, which means one thing for travellers to the Gulf countries – now travellers will be able to travel across all the member states on just one visa.
This unified tourist visa will be, in theory, just like the Schengen visa in Europe which, at the moment, allows tourists to visit 27 member countries on one visa, the Schengen visa. The 27 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.
If reports are to go by, the unified tourist visa for the Gulf countries will be launched in 2024-25. It is expected that, from this, now for those who wish to travel to other Gulf countries as well, will be able to do so easily with simplified travel logistics. At present, travellers do need to apply for separate visas for each Gulf country in case they want to club multiple countries in one trip.
As of now, Oman and Qatar are the only Gulf countries in the Gulf that are visa-free for Indian passport holders. Indians travelling to Countries like Bahrain, Kuwait and United Arab Emirates require an electronic visa or e-visa at present.
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