UK electronic visa waiver status for Bahrain & Saudi Arabia

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Nationals of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will be able to apply to travel to the UK for tourism, business, study or medical treatment purposes for up to six months with a UK electronic visa waiver, from 1 June 2022. The UK government said the move will ‘help deepen Britain’s partnership with the two countries and enhance diplomatic ties and economic prosperity’.


Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will join other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with electronic UK visa waiver status, the Home Office announced. A statement posted on the official government website said: “The move will maintain security and effective border processes ensuring necessary security checks are carried out ahead of travel whilst enabling smooth transit through the UK border for visitors.”

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This visa waiver for Bahrain and Saudi Arabia will better connect the people of our countries and boost economic prosperity.”


Electronic UK visa waiver 

Holders of an electronic UK visa waiver can travel to Britain without a visa, provided they have completed an online waiver for each visit. A small fees applies, but it is quicker than applying for a UK visa because applicants are not subjected to biometric information requirements – such as photos and fingerprints.

Neither are electronic UK visa waiver holders required to attend a visa application centre or submit their passport in advance of travel.

Priti Patel said: “The electronic visa waiver is a quick, digital alternative to the regular visit visa and ensures all the necessary security checks are carried out in advance of travel. 

“The visa improvements announced today will provide greater security for our citizens while making it easier and cheaper for visitors from the Gulf to travel here for leisure and business,” Ms Patel said.


Strengthen relationships 

The UK’s Foreign Secretary, Liz Truss said: “This visa waiver will strengthen our relationships with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, making it easier for visitors from the Gulf to come to the UK. Our friendships with both countries are of great importance, built on shared priorities such as trade, investment and security.”

Back in March, the British ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Neil Crompton said that ‘his government was in the process of easing entry to the UK for the local Saudi population that would eventually lead to a visa-free policy’. Crompton’s comments came after UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, visited Saudi Arabia earlier this year.

At the time, Crompton told the Arab News: “There was a good exchange of views between two leaders. The British government and Saudi Arabia have been good partners for a long time.”


Long-standing commitment

Johnson’s visit to Saudi Arabia earlier this year ‘reflected the UK’s long-standing commitment to Saudi Arabia, as both kingdoms move toward bilateral cooperation across all fields and within the framework of the Saudi Kingdom’s Vision 2030.

According to a 2020 Statista report, Saudi’s make up a significant number of tourists who visit the UK every year, with most flocking to London. More than 100,000 Saudi tourists reportedly visit Britain every year.

Under current rules, citizens of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have to provide the following as part of a standard visitor visa: a visa application form, two passport sized photos, six months’ worth of bank statements, a reservation confirmation, place of residence and a valid passport for at least six months from the issuing date of the visa. can help with Sponsor Licences

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