IMPACT – Medium

What is the change? The U.K. and Ireland will waive visas for Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates beginning Jan. 1, 2014.

What does the change mean? Nationals of these three countries can travel visa-free to the U.K. and to Ireland for up to six months by obtaining an electronic visa waiver document online.

  • Implementation timeframe: Jan. 1, 2014.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor and business visas.
  • Who is affected: Nationals of Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates visiting the U.K. for less than six months.
  • Impact on processing times: The electronic visa waiver will reduce processing times. Visa applicants can apply online at least 48 hours before traveling.
  • Business impact: The program will facilitate business travel.
  • Next steps: The electronic visa waiver forms have been available online since Dec. 9, and can be used for travel to the U.K. on or after Jan. 1, 2014.

Background: The U.K. announced the visa waiver program for four Persian Gulf countries last month. The U.K. implemented the electronic visa waiver (EVW) on Jan. 1, 2014, for three of the countries – Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates. The fourth country, Kuwait, is expected to be phased in later this year.

The EVW is an online document that must be completed at least 48 hours before travel. It is available for visits lasting up to six months. Those applying to work or study cannot avail themselves of the EVW, and must apply for a visa. Nationals of the above countries also qualify for the Irish Short-Stay Visa Waiver program as long as they present their EVW when entering Ireland.

BAL Analysis: The visa waiver will boost tourist and business travel from Oman, Qatar and United Arab Emirates to the U.K. and Ireland by making it faster and cheaper and eliminating normal visa procedures.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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