Dubai: Expatriate residents in the UAE have the benefit to travel to Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries – Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait on an eVisa or travel visa-free.
Travelling to GCC countries is easy for UAE residents because they can either get a visa on arrival or an eVisa based on their nationality or profession.
With the recent developments in Saudi Arabia, allowing GCC residents to apply for an eVisa irrespective of their profession, and with Oman expanding its categories eligible for visa on arrival and visa free entry, you may want to know your visa options for travelling in the GCC, as a UAE resident.
1. Saudi Arabia
According to visitsaudi.com, which is Saudi Arabia’s official tourism platform - these are the three categories of visitors that can get visa on arrival:
• Tourists from 49 eligible countries.
• Permanent residents of the United States, United Kingdom and European Union (EU).
• Holders of tourist or business visas from the UK, US or Schengen Area.
Saudi eVisa for GCC residents
On March 9, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Tourism announced that all expatriate residents in GCC countries, regardless of their profession, can apply for a Saudi electronic tourist visa or eVisa.
Additionally, all first-degree relatives of the GCC resident and domestic workers who visit along with their sponsors can also obtain an eVisa. However, the expats' dependents must have a valid residency visa from a GCC country, according to the website of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).
So, if you are a UAE resident, with this e-visa you can visit family and friends, explore the country and perform Umrah anytime, except during the Hajj season.
Important conditions for Saudi eVisa
Before you apply, these are the conditions GCC residents must meet to make sure they are eligible for the Saudi e-visa:
• The residency document should be valid for at least three months.
• A passport must be valid for at least six months.
• The minimum age of applicants is 18 - if they are travelling without their parents.
To understand how you can apply for the visa, click here.
According to the Visit Qatar website – visitqatar.com – which is the country’s official tourism platform, here are the visa options for visitors:
A. Visa on Arrival
Citizens of over 95 countries are eligible for visas on arrival to Qatar. However, it is important to note that the duration of stay and requirements differ depending on the nationality.
For example, some nationalities eligible for visa on arrival are allowed to stay up to 90 days while other nationalities may be eligible for a 30-day stay in the country.
You can find the list of countries eligible for visa on arrival to Qatar through this link: https://visitqatar.com/intl-en/practical-info/visas/visa-details
B. Visa Waiver for Qatar for specific nationalities
Nationals of India, Pakistan, Ukraine, Iran, and Thailand are eligible for a visa on arrival only if they hold a hotel reservation made through the Discover Qatar website - www.discoverqatar.qa and are allowed to stay in the country for 30 days.
According to Discover Qatar, the hotels available for reservation on the site are, “… exclusively available for those who are required by the Ministry of Interior [MOI] of Qatar to purchase a hotel booking to satisfy their Visa on Arrival request.”
You can find the list of hotels by visiting this link from Discover Qatar: https://www.discoverqatar.qa/mandatory-hotels-for-visa-on-arrival
Additionally, Indian, Pakistani, and Iranian nationals must have a return ticket.
C. Hayya Card Holders
On January 2023, the Qatari Ministry of Interior extended the Hayya Card’s validity for non-resident fans and organisers until January 24, 2024. The Hayya Card was a type of permit that allowed visitors to attend the FIFA World Cup in Qatar last year
If you are a UAE resident who has a Hayya Card, you can travel to Qatar visa-free if you meet the following travel requirements:
Have a confirmed hotel reservation or approved family/friend accommodation through the Hayya Portal.
• A passport is valid for three months or more upon arrival.
• Valid health insurance.
• Return tickets.
According to Visit Qatar, Hayya Card holders visiting Qatar will enjoy the following benefits:
• ‘Hayya with Me’ feature to invite up to three family or friends. This feature allows international visitors to invite three non-Hayya Card holders with them to Qatar.
• E-gate access at State ports
• No fees are required.
D. New Qatar GGC Resident Visa for all professions
Recently, Qatar announced that GCC residents of all professions can now apply for a ' GCC Resident Visa' on the new Hayya Portal - hayya.qa and stay in the country for up to 30 days.
To be eligible for the visa, you should have a valid residency of a minimum of three months, and the job title must the match the profession stated in the residence visa.
To find out more on how you can apply for the 'GCC Resident Visa' for Qatar, click here.
According to an announcement by Royal Oman Police (ROP) on Tuesday, March 14, tourists from over 103 countries can enter Oman visa-free for up to 14 days, and you can find the complete list of countries here.
Indian tourists can also obtain a visa on arrival, provided they have an entry visa for the US, Canada, the United Kingdom, Schengen countries, and Japan.
A. Visa on arrival for UAE residents
UAE residents are eligible for a visa on arrival, irrespective of their nationality, as long as they work in a profession approved by the Royal Oman Police. You can find the approved list of professions through this link: evisa.rop.gov.om
• Must have a valid passport of six months.
• A valid UAE residency permit of at least six months.
• Recent coloured passport-sized photograph.
The visa is also available as a single entry permit, valid for one month or a multiple entry visa valid for one year provided that their stay on each visit is not more than a month.
B. Oman eVisa for GCC residents
If you are a UAE-based expatriate planning to travel to Oman, you can apply for an eVisa that allows you to stay in the country for up to 30 days.
The ‘GCC Resident Visa’ issued by ROP is an unsponsored visit visa, which GCC residents can apply for through Oman’s official eVisa platform - evisa.rop.gov.om
Only professions approved by the ROP are allowed to apply for the online visa. There are over 30 professions eligible for the eVisa. If your occupation is not eligible for an eVisa, then you must apply for a sponsored tourist visa from an authorised travel agency.
Bahrain allows over 60 nationalities to receive a visa on arrival and can stay in the country for over 14 days, according to Bahrain’s Nationality, Passports and Residency Affairs (NPRA). You can check if your nationality is eligible for a visa on arrival through this link: https://www.evisa.gov.bh/list-of-onarrival-visa-country.html
Visa on Arrival for UAE residents
According to Bahrain’s NPRA, UAE residents of skilled professions are eligible for a visa on arrival and can stay in the country for up to two weeks on a single entry permit.
However, there are a few conditions you need to fulfil to be eligible for the visa:
• The UAE residency permit must be valid for at least three months.
• Must have a valid passport of at least six months.
• The applicant must work in a skilled profession.
• Must have a return ticket.
• Hotel reservation details.
Multiple eVisa for Bahrain
UAE residents who work in a skilled profession can also apply for a multiple-entry eVisa for Bahrain. These are:
• One month multiple entry visa
• Three-month multiple entry visa
• One-year multiple entry visa
You can apply for the multiple entry visa for Bahrain through the NPRA eVisa portal – www.evisa.gov.bh or through an authorised travel agent in your country.
According to Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior (MOI), over 50 nationalities are granted visas upon arrival. You can find the complete list here: https://evisa.moi.gov.kw/evisa/home_e.do
Kuwait eVisa for GCC residents
However, if you are a UAE resident, and your nationality is not on the list of countries eligible for visa-free entry, you can still apply for an eVisa or tourist visa for GCC residents.
Here are the documents you must submit for the eVisa:
• A passport and UAE residence permit must be valid for more than six months.
• Must have a return ticket.
• Must provide their residence details in Kuwait
Must have an approved profession, which includes - doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, judge, consultant, member of public prosecution, university teacher, journalist, press and media staff, pilot, system analyst, pharmacist, computer programmer, manager, businessman, diplomatic corps, owners, managers and representative of commercial companies and establishments, university graduates.
You can apply for a Kuwait eVisa for GCC residents through Kuwait’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) eVisa platform – evisa.moi.gov.kw or through an authorised travel agent in your home country.
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