The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), consisting of six countries, is exploring the possibility of implementing a single visa system that would enable residents to travel freely among member states. Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE Minister of Economy, has suggested that this system could be introduced in the near future.
At present, only citizens of GCC countries enjoy visa-free travel within the bloc, which includes the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. However, expatriates residing in these nations must apply for visas when traveling to other GCC member states, with some nationalities having visa-free or visa-on-arrival privileges.
The concept of a unified GCC visa, similar to the Schengen visa in Europe, has been under discussion. Earlier this year, Bahrain’s tourism minister, Fatima Al Sairafi, revealed plans for such a visa, stating that ministerial-level discussions were ongoing to implement this unified system, with expectations of a near-term launch.
The introduction of a single GCC visa system is expected to facilitate tourism and travel within the region, allowing tourists to visit multiple countries without restrictions under a unified package.