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Homechevron_rightMiddle Eastchevron_rightEU grants five-year...

EU grants five-year Schengen visas for citizens of Saudi, Oman and Bahrain

EU grants five-year Schengen visas for citizens of Saudi, Oman and Bahrain

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell (left) and Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan at the EU-GCC Forum on Regional Security and Co-operation in Luxembourg. EPA

The European Union (EU) has revealed plans to issue five-year Schengen visas to citizens of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, facilitating multiple visits to the bloc.

During the inaugural session of the first high-level Forum on Regional Security and Co-operation between the EU and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, announced the harmonization of visa rules for GCC citizens.

The European Commission has decided to streamline the process of granting multiple-entry visas for citizens of all GCC countries requiring permits to enter the Schengen Area. This move aims to create uniformity in visa regulations across the region.

The standardization of visa regulations signifies a significant stride towards enhancing relations between the EU and Gulf countries. By facilitating easier travel for citizens, the EU aims to foster closer economic, cultural and diplomatic ties with the GCC.

While citizens of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Area, Qataris are required to obtain visas. However, exemptions from UK pre-entry visa requirements have been extended to citizens of all GCC countries.

In September last year, a new visa regime was introduced for Kuwaiti citizens, allowing eligible applicants to obtain five-year permits. This initiative aims to facilitate smoother travel experiences and strengthen Kuwait-EU relations.

The Schengen Area recently expanded to include Bulgaria and Romania, eliminating air and maritime border controls within the zone. This expansion offers greater mobility and accessibility to travellers across Europe.

Citizens from Gulf countries are exempted from pre-entry visa requirements when travelling to the United Kingdom, further facilitating travel and enhancing bilateral ties between the UK and the Gulf region.

Gulf countries have announced plans for a unified tourist visa akin to the Schengen permit. This initiative aims to promote tourism and boost economic cooperation within the Gulf region.

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