UK to waive visa requirement for Saudi, Bahraini nationals from June 1
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UK to waive visa requirement for Saudi, Bahraini nationals from June 1

UK to waive visa requirement for Saudi, Bahraini nationals from June 1

They will need to fill out an online visa waiver application which will be processed within 48 hours and at a cost of GBP30

Uk visa

Starting June 1, 2022, citizens of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain can apply to travel to the UK (for tourism, business, study or medical treatment) for up to six months with an electronic visa waiver.

The electronic visa wavier system is already available to nationals of other GCC member states including Kuwait, UAE and Qatar.

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.

There will be a nominal fee applicable when applying for the waiver online, though the entire process does away with the requirements to provide biometric information (photo and fingerprints), visit a visa application centre or even hand in of the passport prior to their travel.

“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,” said UK Home Secretary Priti Patel.

In 2019, the UK saw 221,000 visitors from Saudi Arabia with those visitors spending GBP627m, according to figures shared by VisitBritain. Saudi Arabia is the UK’s 13th most valuable market for visitor spending.

Visitors from Saudi Arabia are believed to be among the UK’s highest spenders, spending on average GBP2,841 per visit in 2019, more than four times the all market average.

Visitors from Saudi Arabia also stay longer than other international visitors, an average of 16 nights compared to the all market average of seven.

Read: Special report: The power of the GCC as a source market for global tourism

With regards to Bahrain, in 2019, the UK saw 42,000 visitors from the kingdom with those visitors spending GBP76m. Visitors from Bahrain spend on average GBP1,828 per visit, almost three times the all market average. Visitors from Bahrain stay, on average, nine nights during their visits to the UK.

“It is fantastic news that travel to the UK will become easier for travellers from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain who will now be able to obtain their British visa in 48 hours and for GBP30. Saudi Arabia is one of our highest spending markets, we know there is strong pent-up demand for international travel from the Gulf and making it easier for visitors to get to the UK is crucial to our message of welcome and to our competitive tourism offer,” said VisitBritain director for Asia Pacific, Middle East, Africa (APMEA) and North Asia Tricia Warwick.

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