This article is reviewed regularly (on a monthly basis) by Wego’s editorial team to ensure that the content is up to date & accurate.

Updated May 2024

A common tourist visa for all GCC countries was approved during the 40th meeting of the Interior Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council. The meeting took place in the Omani capital, Muscat. This will allow tourists to travel across all six GCC countries with a single visa, and it is expected to come into effect by 2024 or 2025.

Bahrain new visa rules

The GCC is actively exploring a unified visa system to facilitate seamless travel among its six member countries. This initiative, unanimously approved by GCC members, aims to enhance travel for residents and promote regional integration and connectivity. You can learn more about this visa from our dedicated article on the topic by clicking the link below.

GCC Unified Tourist Visa 2024: What We Know About the Upcoming Schengen-Style Common Tourism Visa

GCC tourist visa launch date

The official launch date for the GCC visa is still undisclosed as ongoing discussions persist regarding its implementation. However, Minister of Economy Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri recently revealed that the visa is slated to commence between 2024 and 2025. For the specific date, please refer to the dedicated article linked above, as we’ll promptly update it upon release by the authorities.

GCC tourist visa application process

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are currently in the planning stages of the GCC visa program, aimed at attracting more long-haul tourists from Europe, the United States, and various Asian destinations. This initiative seeks to extend the duration of stay to up to 15 days within GCC member countries. It’s important to note that the application process for the GCC visa has not been released at this time. However, we will update the article as an when released by the authorities.

GCC tourist visa required documents and fee

The documents required to apply and price for the GCC visa are yet to be released. Please note that we will update the article as and when it is released by the authorities.

New visit visa rules

Starting 12 February 2024, Bahrain’s Interior Ministry Undersecretary for Nationality, Passports, and Residence Affairs (NPRA) introduced new regulations regarding visit visa conversions. Individuals can no longer convert their visitor visas to work visas or dependent visas without a sponsor. However, those holding a visit visa sponsored by a Bahraini entity can still convert it to a work visa (or dependent visa) from within Bahrain, provided they receive a job offer from the same sponsor (or qualify as a dependent of such an individual). The conversion fees have been raised to BHD 250 (approximately USD 663), previously BHD 60 (approximately USD 160).

This increase in fees and the added requirement of obtaining a sponsor for the work or dependent residence visa are in line with the government’s initiative to promote local hiring by employers. Furthermore, these new regulations aim to enhance government oversight and transparency, thereby reducing the potential exploitation of workers.

 

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