Schengen vs GCC Unified Tourist Visa: New Visa Plan to Revolutionize Gulf Travel
This historic development seeks to revolutionize the way people move within the Gulf region, both for residents and tourists, by seamlessly connecting all GCC member states.
Expected to become operational between 2024 and 2025, this unified visa marks the dawn of a new era characterized by convenience and accessibility for tourists and residents traversing the Gulf region.
GCC Approves Unified Tourist Visa for UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain
Drawing parallels with the Schengen visa, a regional visa program in Europe, the GCC unified tourist visa offers a distinct approach to borderless travel. Covering the GCC member countries, including Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, this unified visa harmonizes entry requirements and eliminates the complexities associated with multiple visa applications for travelers.
Key Differences: GCC Unified Tourist Visa vs Schengen Visa
- Geographic Coverage: The GCC unified tourist visa covers the six member countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. The Schengen visa covers 26 European countries.
- Visa Validity and Duration: The GCC unified tourist visa’s specific details regarding validity and duration are still being developed, as it is expected to come into effect between 2024-2025. The Schengen visa allows for short-term stays of up to 90 days within a 180-day period.
- Border Control: With the GCC unified tourist visa, residents and tourists will be able to move freely between the member countries without the need for passport control at each border. In the Schengen area, there are no internal border controls between the member countries.
- Purpose of Travel: The GCC unified tourist visa aims to facilitate ease of movement for both residents and tourists within the Gulf countries. The Schengen visa is primarily designed for tourists and short-term visitors.
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