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Unified Visa in GCC Getting Closer to Reality

Middle East : 10 February 2011

Secretary General of the GCC states that committee has been set up to create applicable regulations

A committee put together by the GCC member states is looking at the possibilities of a unified visa for the GCC, applying to businessmen and foreigners. The committee has begun compiling the regulations and rules that would apply, according to the GCC secretary general Abdulrahman Al Attiyah.

The visa, set up in Schengan-style, would be introduced to tourists and businessmen coming in from foreign nations and would allow them to travel between the six GCC member states.

Al Attiyah spoke to Qatar Peninsula and stated that this committee originally created to discuss the possibility is now being asked to form the regulations and rules that would apply.

He also noted that security should play a major role in the rules. When speaking to the QNA, Al Attiyah stated that the committee was being urged to put forth an approval on the new GCC visa.

He also dropped hints that a past decision within the GCC member states allowing citizens to travel freely within the region with the use of the identity cards has been a success.

Al Attiyah noted that this policy had increased trade across the region and brought Gulf citizens much closer together. He also noted that the change in visa issuance for expats travelling with GCC citizens (such as cooks, drivers, others performing domestic services), which resulted in those people being issued visas right there at the point of entry instead of requiring those visas ahead of travel time, has smoothed the travel throughout the region.

This move is being welcomed with enthusiasm within the GCC area business community. It will ease travel for businessmen and should give the tourism sectors around the area a boost.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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