GCC nationals will soon be able to enjoy trip to the United Kingdom without the hassle of obtaining visas.
Qatar and other Gulf Corporation Council nations will be allowed to enter the United Kingdom visa-free beginning in 2023, the country’s government has announced.
Starting next year, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, UAE, and Bahrain will move onto the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) scheme when it kicks off.
“This move means that Gulf states will be among the first countries in the world to benefit from ETAs and visa-free travel to the UK,” said the UK’s Home secretary Priti Patel.
“Our number one priority is the security of the UK border and by launching ETAs we can ensure that everyone wishing to travel to the UK has permission to do so in advance of travel and refuse those who pose a threat.”
In order to have a fully digital border by the end of 2025, a crucial component of the UK government’s plan is the brand-new ETA scheme. According to reports, it will mostly apply to travellers passing through the UK or those visiting for short periods of time who do not now require a visa or do not own another UK visa.
The application process, according to the Home Office, is “straightforward,” and the programme will “act as an additional security measure allowing the government to block threats from entering the UK, whilst also providing individuals with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel.”
Those who obtain their ETA can use it several times over an extended period, authorities highlighted. This makes travelling more affordable and efficient from the GCC countries to the UK.
In 2014, the UK Home Office launched a new visa waiver scheme for travellers from Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, and Kuwait. This encouraged millions of nationals to visit the UK throughout the years with ease, making it one of the most sought destinations for Gulf nationals.
Travellers from the Gulf can continue to use Electronic Visa Waivers, which enables people to complete an online waiver for each trip to the UK, until the introduction of ETAs in 2023.