Visa Free entry
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The government of the United Kingdom has revealed its decision to grant visa free entry to travelers from several Arab nations starting February 22 next year. This notable modification in visa policies aims to facilitate entry for residents of Jordan and all countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Citizens of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Oman, Jordan, and Bahrain will no longer require visas to enter the UK; instead, they will need an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) beginning in February next year. Qatar’s residents have already been utilizing ETA since November 15, 2023.

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Travel Simplification-According to an official statement from the British government, the shift toward an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA) system is set to simplify the entry process, eliminating the need for obtaining a visit visa. Under this new system, tourists of all age groups will be required to electronically apply for a travel permit, priced at £10, which will be issued for two years of travel purposes. This strategic adjustment in visa regulations aims to streamline entry procedures, facilitating smoother and more accessible travel for citizens of these nations intending to visit the United Kingdom.

UK Visa Policy-Earlier in the year, the UK government outlined plans to introduce a new ETA scheme as part of the digitization of the UK border by 2025, aiming to enhance border security and customer experience. An ETA serves as digital permission to travel for those visiting or transiting through the UK without the need for a visa for short stays or those who do not currently hold another UK visa.

The implementation of the ETA scheme, by reducing costs and visa requirements, is anticipated to ensure that visitors from the Gulf states and Jordan experience convenient travel to the UK, fostering stronger business and tourism connections between these nations, as highlighted in a statement by the UK government. Gulf visitors hold significant value for the UK economy, with over 790,000 Gulf visitors contributing £2 billion during their stays in the UK in 2022.

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