Schengen-style GCC visa closer to reality - Emirates24|7

Schengen-style GCC visa closer to reality

The committee set up to by Gulf states to study possibility of issuing unified GCC visas to foreigners and businessmen has started working on putting together rules and regulations, said Abdulrahman Al Attiyah, Secretary General of the GCC.

Once this Schengen-style unified visa is introduced, foreign tourists and businessmen would be allowed to travel to any of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

The committee that was set up to study the possibility of issuing unified GCC visas to foreigners had now been asked to frame rules and regulations, Al Attiyah told Qatar Peninsula.

He said security would be an important aspect of these rules. Al Attiyah told Qatar News Agency (QNA) that the said committee had been urged to approve the new visa system.

He hinted that the earlier decision of the GCC countries to let their citizens travel in the region freely using their ID (identity) cards had borne fruitful results.

“Because of this policy of ours, trade within the region has grown immensely and Gulf citizens have come closer to each other,” the Secretary-General was quoted as saying by Qatar News Agency. He also recalled that expatriates accompanying GCC citizens such as drivers, cooks and maids, were being issued entry visas on the spot at the points of entry. They were earlier required to obtain visas prior to their travel and this was putting hurdles in the smooth movement of citizens within the region.

The Gulf business community hailed the move as it will help easier travelling for businessmen and also give fillip to tourism industry across the region.

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