Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will join other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with electronic visa waiver status, the Home Office has announced. 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.
An electronic visa waiver allows the holder to travel to the UK without obtaining a visa provided they complete an online waiver for each visit. A small fee will be applied, and it is quicker than applying for a visa as there is no need to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints), attend a visa application centre or hand in your passport in advance of travel.
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.
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.
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.