Bahrain to grant visas to Qatar citizens

Bahrain will issue entry visas to Qataris who are members of mixed Bahraini-Qatari families, the interior ministry has said.

However, the visas will be allowed on humanitarian basis and under specific conditions that include “the monitoring of the movement of money, especially in such circumstances,” the ministry said in a statement late on Friday.

“The number of individuals who will be exempted will be limited as part of the framework to protect Bahraini society.” The statement said. “The special cases and application mechanisms will be determined later.”

Bahrain stoped issuing entry visas to Qatari nationals “in response to the irresponsible acts of Qatari authorities that do not consider the rights of neighbouring countries or the principles of the international law.”

The interior ministry said that Qatari students who are taking courses in Bahrain and Qatari nationals holding valid visas are exempted from the entry visa ban.

Nationals from the GCC countries — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates — can travel across the council just by showing their ID cards while foreigners holding GCC residence permits are eligible for a visit visa on arrival.

However, last year, Bahrain imposed entry visas on Qatari nationals and residents and said that the decision was to protect its security and preserve its stability.

The authorities launched a hotline to enable members of Bahraini-Qatari families to register their details and to have their travel requests related to essential matters such as deaths, weddings, studies, work and medical treatment processed.

Bahrain’s Foreign minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa attributed the decision to impose the entry visas for Qatari nationals and residents to the fact that several people coming from countries that sponsored terrorism had been given Qatari documents that allowed them to move across the GCC freely.

In August last year, Qatar announced a scheme to allow visa-free entry for citizens of 80 countries, including Lebanon.

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