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Kuwaiti MP calls for adoption of unified GCC visa

Single Schengen-like visa to help boost Gulf travel, business activities

  • By Habib Toumi Bureau Chief
  • Published: 13:40 February 3, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: A Kuwaiti lawmaker has called for the adoption of a single visa for foreigners planning to visit the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

“A single visa will promote the GCC economy and will ease the movement of investors,” MP Kamel Al Awadi said. “The GCC countries can agree on two types of visas, a regular one and a golden one,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Al Watan on Sunday.

The “regular” visa will be issued to Arabs and foreigners and their families living in one of the six members of the GCC, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“Thanks to this visa, they can visit any of the other GCC member countries. However, the total number of days they can spend in the other GCC countries should not exceed three months,” he said.

Heads of companies, advisors and teachers could benefit from the visa scheme.

The “golden” visa is valid for one year and should be issued to foreigners holding advanced positions, including doctors, investors, agency owners and people working directly with ministers, the lawmaker said.

The GCC currently allows its citizens to travel between its member states using their identity cards.

However, most member countries allow GCC foreign residents who hold specific positions to enter fellow countries upon the presentation of their passports and without the need for a visa.

Business communities have been pushing for the adoption of a single Schengen-like visas to boost intra-GCC travel and local economies. However, several other considerations have hampered the adoption of the visa.

Currently, Oman and Qatar have a joint visa category where citizens of 33 mostly Western countries can travel freely between the two countries.

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