The Emirati government has provided additional details on the new Gulf Cooperation Council tourist visa as well as announced a new gaming visa to boost tourism.

Key Points:

  • The new tourist visa will be called the GCC Grand Tours visa and will be available by the end of 2024.
  • The visa will be similar to the Schengen visa, allowing foreign nationals to travel on one multiple-entry tourist visa through the six GCC member states — Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
    • Additional details are yet to be confirmed, but it is expected that the visa may allow for an extended 30-day tourism stay — longer than the currently permitted maximum — and no additional fees to apply for eligible travelers who hold a passport valid for at least six months.
  • In addition, Dubai has launched a gaming visa initiative as part of the Dubai Program for Gaming 2033.
    • The long-term cultural visa is designed to welcome artists and creators under the creative and talented accreditation certificate.
    • Individuals must submit their applications via the official website, be at least 25 years old and are required to submit a copy of their passport along with their professional CV.

Additional Information: UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs also recently announced an update to its visa exemption policy that allows nationals from 87 countries to enter without a pre-entry visa. The full list of eligible countries can be found here. The government has undertaken several measures recently to expedite and attract foreign travel.

BAL Analysis: The announcement of a Schengen-style tourist visa for the GCC member states is a highly anticipated development. Foreign nationals are currently required to obtain separate tourist visas to travel to these countries, and the governments hope that a unified tourist visa will simplify travel for its citizens and boost each nation’s economies.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice Group.

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