Muscat: The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will be the first to benefit from a new electronic programme for travellers to obtain a visit permit to travel to the United Kingdom (UK).
Visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries and Jordan will be the first to benefit from the new British electronic visit permit programme, before expanding its application globally in 2024.
Visitors can benefit from an easy and efficient travel experience by submitting an online visit permit request.
The application process will be fast, convenient and completely digital, with most visitors submitting their application via a mobile application and getting a prompt response on their application.
The cost of the e-visit permit will be in line with the costs of other similar international programmes, and travellers can make multiple visits to the UK over the two-year period the permit is valid.
As part of the application process, travellers need to provide biometric data and answer a series of questions regarding their eligibility for this permit.
UK Home Office Minister for Immigration Robert Jenrick said: “Strengthening our borders remains one of the UK Government's highest priorities. The electronic visitor permit enhances the security of our borders by increasing the information we know about those seeking to come to the United Kingdom, and preventing the entry of those who pose a threat to us. The electronic visitor permit programme also improves the experience of legitimate visitors to the United Kingdom, and visitors from the Gulf Cooperation Council countries will be the first beneficiaries.”
He confirmed that after initially applying this programme to Qatari nationals, visitors from the rest of the GCC and Jordan will be able to apply for an electronic visit permit from February 2024.”
“The new programme will completely replace the existing electronic visa waiver system that requires visitors to the UK from GCC countries to pay higher fees for a single visit,” he added.
His Excellency Minister for Middle East Affairs at the UK Foreign and Development Office, Lord (Tariq) Ahmed, said: “I am delighted that our partners in the Middle East are the first to benefit from the new UK programme. Making travel easier and more efficient for GCC nationals and Jordan will enhance trade and tourism links between the UK and the region.”
By the end of 2024, the e-visit permit will become a global requirement for short-term visa-free visitors, including visitors from Europe.
Currently, visitors from Europe and other countries, such as America and Australia, do not need to submit any form of application to visit the United Kingdom, but this will change with the introduction of the electronic visit permit.