Now that several pharmaceutical companies have announced that they’ve synthesised vaccines to COVID-19, it’s likely that we’ll all be inoculated in the foreseeable future. At this point, governments around the world will re-open their borders and international travel will be back on the menu again, including for visitors to the GCC. This is excellent news!
Of course, even with international travel available once more, you’ll still have to obtain your visa to enter the GCC states of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
So what’s the best way to go about this? What are the eligibility requirements to enter these countries and what supporting documents do you need? Well, in this article we’ll look at the visa options to enter these Gulf states, courtesy of visa website Byevisa. Read on, ahead of your next trip in 2021!
The great news is that all six of these countries now offer what’s called an eVisa (Electronic Visa). If this is the first time you’ve heard of this, it’s a totally digital method to apply for and obtain your travel document.
The clear advantage of the eVisa over a traditional paper visa is that you no longer have to visit your nearest GCC member embassy or consulate before your trip. Instead, you apply online from any internet-connected device, saving you time, effort and stress. All of these Gulf states have introduced the eVisa in recent years to stimulate their tourism industries.
Overview of the GCC States’ eVisas
Here’s a table of the eVisas available for these six Gulf states to guide you:
|Country||Visa Valid For||Permits Multiple Entries?||Government Fee|
|Bahrain||30 days||Yes||79 USD|
|Kuwait||90 days||No||10 USD (for some nationalities)|
|Oman (option 1)||10 days||No||13 USD|
|Oman (option 2)||30 days||Yes||52 USD|
|Oman (option 3)||1 year (up to 1 month each)||Yes||130 USD|
|Qatar||30 days||No||15 USD|
|Saudi Arabia||1 year (for 90 days each)||Yes||125 USD|
|UAE (option 1)||30 days||No||68.06 USD|
|UAE (option 2)||30 days||Yes||176.96 USD|
|UAE (option 3)||90 days||No||272.25 USD|
|UAE (option 4)||90 days||Yes||680.62 USD|
Steps to Apply for a Gulf State eVisa
To apply, you typically just follow these steps:
- Choose which visa you want.
- Type your personal and passport details into the online form.
- Make sure to provide a valid email address, as you receive your eVisa in your inbox.
- Enter the details of your journey to and from your destination country.
- Pay the government’s fee.
- Wait for your application to be processed and, when you receive your travel pass, take it with you. You’ll usually have to print the eVisa to show at the border.
Check Each GCC Country’s Requirements and Eligibility
Of course, each Gulf state has its own visa policy, so the specific steps to apply for each country’s eVisa may differ slightly. Moreover, the eligibility requirements and supporting documents needed vary too, both among the GCC members and according to your nationality.
For example, citizens of the USA, UK and most of Europe are eligible for the eVisas for Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
For Qatar, however, US, UK and European nationals can obtain what’s called a Visa Waiver on Arrival (VWA), in which case there’s no need to apply for a Qatari eVisa. Only citizens of countries who’re ineligible for Qatar’s VWA need apply for an online travel pass, such as Israelis and Egyptians.
So in brief, it’s worth checking each country’s visa eligibility requirements in advance. This will help ensure that you receive your travel document in time for your journey.
Other Useful Information About the GCC Visas
Here are some other things to keep in mind when you apply for your visa too.
First, it’s worth checking the expected processing time to make sure that your travel document arrives promptly for your journey. For example, the UAE’s online visa typically takes three days to process, so you’ll need to apply at least four days in advance.
In addition, be sure to enter your personal and passport details in the online form correctly. This will maximise the chances that your application is accepted the first time.
Lastly, if you wish to stay in the country longer, some Gulf states allow you to extend your visa’s validity period once you’re there. For instance, Bahrain enables you to extend your visa by two weeks by visiting the NPRA (Nationality, Passport & Residence Affairs) in-country. So this is also worth confirming before you go.
We hope that you’ve found this article useful. With the information we’ve provided, you’re in a great position to travel to these Gulf states once international travel returns in 2021!