GCC Supreme Council approves unified GCC Tourist visa in historic decision

Published on: 05 December 2023

On December 5, 2023, in a landmark decision, the Supreme Council of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has approved the agreed-upon measures for the unified GCC tourist visa. This pivotal decision, emphasized in the Council’s final statement during its Forty-Fourth Session, held in Doha, Qatar, comes as a direct endorsement of the proposals put forth by the Committee of Interior Ministers. Furthermore, the Council has authorized these ministers to take the necessary steps to implement the visa.

The unified GCC tourist visa is a groundbreaking initiative aimed at enhancing travel connectivity among the GCC member states: the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. Designed to enable travelers to visit all six countries with a single visa, this initiative parallels the concept of the Schengen Area in Europe. It will facilitate freedom of movement for individuals holding entry visas and residency permits from any GCC country.

The approval of the unified tourist visa marks a significant stride in regional cooperation and economic integration within the GCC. Expected to be operational between 2024 and 2025, as previously suggested by His Excellency Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE’s Minister of Economy, this initiative represents a major advance in regional collaboration.

The unified tourist visa is set to boost the tourism industry and facilitate seamless travel across the Gulf region. This landmark decision underscores the GCC’s commitment to fostering a unified and prosperous community, enhancing the ease and accessibility of travel for both tourists and residents within the member states.

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