“Implementation of the one-point procedure system between Saudi Arabia and Bahrain is in its final stages, and it will include all, expatriates, residents and citizens”, declared Director of Passports at the King Fahad Causeway in Saudi Arabia’s part of the causeway, Col. Duwaihi bin Wabdan Al-Sahli.
Under the one-stop concept, drivers will go through only one post for routine border crossing procedures that include passport control, car clearance and customs.
Currently, drivers have to go through the Bahraini and Saudi crossings, which often results in heavy traffic congestion. The new measure is expected to facilitate the rising figures of cross-border trade and movement of visitors between the two countries. It will also cover foreigners residing in both countries.
The much-anticipated one-stop border crossing post has been often cited in recent years amid growing hopes for its prompt implementation.
Al Sahli told Al Ayam daily that the inexorably increasing number of passengers using the causeway that reached 25.7 million last year was a major challenge for the passport authorities.
An average of 100,000 people used the causeway daily during the school holidays this month, he said. Bahrain reacted by allowing Saudis to come into the country after only one border stop on the Saudi side to ease congestion.
The boost in figures has prompted the authorities to think of new ways to deal with rushes that make passengers wait for extended periods of time to make the crossing.
The number of cabins to process travel documents for drivers reaching Saudi Arabia is to be increased from the current 22 to 38, Al Sahli said. Around 600 Saudi nationals, including 90 women, are employed by Saudi Arabia on the causeway. The number of women is expected to be increased to 160.
King Fahad Causeway, Bahrain’s only terrestrial link with another country, was officially inaugurated on November 26, 1986. It has become one of the busiest links in the Arab world, necessitating drastic improvements to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
Source: Gulf News