By Staff writer
Gov't announces launch of second phase of visa updates in bid to attract more investors to Gulf kingdom
The government of Bahrain has announced a second phase of visa updates, which will allow business visitors and tourists to spend longer periods of time in the country.
Under the latest developments, both business visitors and tourists will now be able to spend longer periods of time in the Gulf kingdom, as the new policy dictates that business visas will be valid for a month and are multi-entry, whilst visitor visas are valid for three months and are also multi-entry.
In October, a new visa policy was implemented which allowed nationals from over 100 countries to obtain a visa either online ahead of travel, via the Bahrain government’s eVisa website or on arrival.
Data from October to February 2015 shows that over 1,400 visitors from the 32 new countries eligible for visa on arrival and more than 2,300 visitors from the 36 new countries eligible for eVisas benefited from the new policies
Under the new rules which came into effect on Wednesday, GCC residents of any nationality will be eligible to receive multi-entry visas on arrival or online making it easier for expatriates living in the region to travel to Bahrain.
Furthermore, nationals from countries that are not included in the countries eligible for eVisas or visas on arrival can still apply for eVisas if they have a visit visa for any other GCC country.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Isa Al Khalifa, assistant Undersecretary for the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs at Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior, said: “We are pleased that the data shows that a significant number of people are already benefiting from a greater ease of access into Bahrain, supporting the business and tourism sectors in the Kingdom.
"The second phase of updates will lead to further benefits for visitors, with increased flexibility and expanded eligibility.”
Khalid Al Rumaihi, chief executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), added: “The new visa policy is an important development that places Bahrain among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region.
"It enables expatriates who do business in Bahrain to easily travel in and out of the Kingdom, as well as boosting the tourism industry, and will help contribute to the continuing economic growth and development in Bahrain.”
The new policy is also being accompanied by improvements to the individual screening process, ensuring faster and more effective processing of applications.
How about a separate line at the airport for Bahrain Residents? Over a decade in Bahrain and we still have to line up forever while the GCC National terminals mostly sit empty. We are obviously much easier to process with Work and Residency Visas than someone who is visiting, yet after 10, 20, 30 years of living here, it is the same as if we just got off the plane to see the Tree of Life for a day.