UK Visa Requirements for GCC Nationals: Changes explained

UK Visa requirements for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals travelling to the United Kingdom are set to change soon. 

The UK Government has announced that it will remove visa requirements for GCC and Jordanian nationals and offer multiple entry authorisation for just £10. 

This new visa policy will apply to visitors from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, and Jordan. The change is expected to boost tourism and business travel between the UK and these countries.

UK visa requirements: What is changing?

The UK currently offers visa-free travel to citizens of some GCC countries for up to six months. 

However, the government of the United Kingdom has recently announced a UK ETA for GCC citizens, which will impact the visa application process and the types of visas available. These changes are part of the UK government’s efforts to strengthen its immigration system and maintain security.

Passport holders will be the first nationalities to benefit from the UK’s new visa-exempt scheme once it is implemented in 2023

The planned changes will affect GCC nationals travelling to the UK for work, study, or tourism. The new measures will introduce a more streamlined and efficient visa application process, making it easier for GCC citizens to apply for and obtain visas.

Additionally, the UK government will be introducing new visa categories, including a long-term visit visa, which will allow GCC nationals to stay in the UK for up to two years. The changes are expected to come into effect in the coming months and will apply to all GCC countries.

UK Visa Requirements for GCC Nationals

What Are the Planned Changes

The UK government has announced changes to the visa requirements for Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) nationals. The changes are aimed at boosting business and tourism between the UK and the GCC countries, which include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Simple Application Process – How to Obtain New Visa for £10

Under the new system, GCC nationals will be able to obtain a visit visa for the UK for just £10. The application process will be simplified, with applicants being able to apply online and receive their visa electronically. 

The new process will also include the use of an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA)scheme, which will allow for digital permission to enter the UK.

Difference between the UK ETA and the EVW

Many travellers currently apply for an electronic visa waiver (EVW). An EVW permits avisit the UK for up to 6 months for the purposes of tourism, business, study or medical treatment. If visiting for another reason travellers may need to apply for a difference visa. 

The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) and the EVW will have several key differences: 

  • The EVW only permits a single entry – the ETA will be valid for multiple entries
  • There will be no need to apply for an ETA before every visit 
  • ETA holders also do not need to notify UK immigration authorities if travel itineraries and times should change

Implementation in Stages

The changes will be implemented in stages, with the first phase beginning in the summer of 2023. The new system will be rolled out to all GCC countries by the end of the year.

Changes to UK Visa Requirements for GCC Nationals

GCC nationals will be subject to the same entry requirements as other visitors to the UK. This includes providing biometric details and a digital photograph, as well as answering suitability questions.

The aim is to ensure the security of the UK border while providing a smooth and efficient customer experience.

The changes have been welcomed by the tourism industry and are expected to boost business and trade between the UK and the GCC countries. The UK government has estimated that the changes could contribute up to £2 billion to the UK economy over the next five years.

Overall, the changes to the visa requirements for GCC nationals represent a significant step forward in the UK’s diplomatic ties with the Gulf countries.

The new system is expected to make it easier for GCC nationals to visit the UK for tourism, education, and business purposes, while also strengthening the partnership for the future.

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