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Travelers from the Gulf region and Jordan have received promising news as the United Kingdom unveils plans to modify its visa prerequisites for individuals from these nations. This move aims to provide greater convenience and simplicity for visitors, ultimately bolstering the UK’s tourism sector and nourishing its economy. Recognizing the significant contributions made by visitors from these countries over the past year, the UK authorities have taken this decision to foster stronger ties with these valuable partners.
In a recent statement, UK authorities disclosed that citizens of the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, and Jordan will be among the first to benefit from the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme. As part of this scheme, the existing visa requirements for these countries will be gradually replaced, eliminating the need for travelers to obtain any additional documentation apart from the ETA.
Currently, individuals from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries must pay GBP 30 (USD 37.22) for an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW), while Jordanian nationals are charged GBP 100 (USD 124.08) for a visit visa to the UK. However, with the implementation of the new visa regulations, the cost for visitors from the Gulf and Jordan will significantly decrease. They will only be required to pay GBP 10 (USD 12.41) for the issuance of an ETA, making travel to the UK a more affordable option.
Moreover, the ETA will be valid for two years, allowing travel enthusiasts from the GCC and Jordan to make multiple visits to the UK within that timeframe. This provision offers a significant advantage, as travelers will no longer need to go through the complication of preparing separate entry documents for each trip. Instead, a single document, the ETA, will suffice for all their visits, streamlining their travel arrangements and providing a hassle-free experience.
Starting in October of this year, Qataris will be the first to benefit from the new visa policy, followed by the remaining GCC nations and Jordan in February 2024. By aligning their travel regulations with the United States and Australia, where citizens only need an ETA to visit the UK, these countries are simplifying travel procedures and facilitating easier access for their citizens.
The revised visa arrangement is expected to attract a larger number of visitors from the Gulf and Jordan. In the previous year, these visitors made a substantial contribution to the UK economy, spending approximately GBP 2 billion (USD 2.5 billion) during their trips. This program not only boosts the economy but also reinforces the entry process to ensure the security of UK citizens, making it a prudent decision to establish further partnerships with these countries.