Home Travel & Adventure Gulf Countries Pursue Visa Exemption Agreement with EU

Gulf Countries Pursue Visa Exemption Agreement with EU


Gulf countries have said that they are working towards reaching a visa-free travel agreement with the European Union.

The GCC Secretary General, Jasem Albudaiwi, will travel to Brussels next week, and during his visit, he will push for Schengen visa exemption for citizens of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman, SchengenVisaInfo reports.

Sharing plans for next week, Albudaiwi said that the GCC has “has a strong file to obtain the exemption.”

The same stressed that during the negotiations in Brussels with EU representatives, he will make the request for visa exemption on behalf of all the other GCC countries.

Will the meeting it yet to take place, Albudaiwi said that they are very positive that the visa-free travel agreement with the EU will be reached by this year’s end.

We will celebrate this year by obtaining the visa exemption for the first time.

GCC Secretary General, Jasem Albudaiwi

In addition to the above-mentioned, Albudaiwi said that these countries should have long been exempted from the requirement to obtain a visa in order to be permitted entry into the bloc.

Of all Gulf countries, only citizens of UAE are currently eligible to travel visa-free to the Schengen Area. However, the case is not the same for UAE foreign residents who need to follow the regular visa application rules.

GCC countries have highlighted that a visa liberalisation agreement would benefit both the EU and the citizens of the country.

The same have repeatedly said that the agreement would result in an increased number of Gulf countries’ citizens visiting the bloc.

This is How Many Schengen Visa Applications Gulf Countries’ Citizens Filed in 2022

In 2022, citizens of UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, and Oman applied for a high number of Schengen visas for the purpose of travel.

Data show that 357,764 Saudi Arabians applied for a Schengen visa in 2022. Of the total, 332,583 of them were issued a visa, and 18,292 received a rejection letter.

Qataris and Kuwaitis filed 79,859 and 147,694 Schengen visa applications in 2022, respectively. The approval rate for these two nationalities was high, too, with 69,434 Qataris and 138,057 Kuwaitis being granted visas in 2022.

Regarding Bahrain and Oman, data show that citizens of these two countries applied for 19,422  and 30,883 Schengen visas, respectively. A total of 18,086 Bahranians and 28,200 Omanis were granted visas in the same year.

As per UAE, foreign residents living in the country filed 187,196 Schengen visa applications, and 141,788 of them were granted visas in 2022.

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