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EU Introduces Five-year Schengen Visas for Citizens of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain

UAE citizens enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Area for stays of up to three months

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Judith Mariya

Published on April 24, 2024, 13:03:18

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european union, eu, schengen visa, schengen visa for gcc

The European Union has introduced five-year Schengen visas for citizens of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain, allowing them multiple visits to the bloc during this period.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell announced this during the inaugural session of the first high-level Forum on Regional Security and Cooperation between the EU and the GCC in Luxembourg.

"I am pleased to announce a decision by the European Commission this morning to standardise rules for issuing multiple-entry visas to citizens of GCC countries," Borrell stated.

These visa regulations apply uniformly to all GCC countries whose citizens require permits to enter the Schengen Area, marking a significant stride in EU-Gulf relations.

UAE citizens enjoy visa-free travel to the Schengen Area for stays of up to three months, whereas Qataris must apply for visas.

In 2022, the EU unveiled plans for visa-free travel for Kuwaitis and Qataris.
Subsequently, a new visa regime was introduced last September specifically for Kuwaitis, featuring a "cascade" system enabling eligible applicants, including first-time travelers, to secure five-year permits.

The Schengen Area, encompassing 29 European countries, expanded in February to include Bulgaria and Romania, effectively abolishing air and maritime border controls.

Additionally, citizens from the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia are exempt from pre-entry visa requirements for the UK.

In November, Gulf countries revealed intentions to implement a unified tourist visa akin to the Schengen permit, aimed at streamlining travel for residents and tourists.

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