Bahrain says new visa policy to launch on October 1

Gulf kingdom says relaxation of visa rules for more than 100 countries will give boost to tourism industry
Bahrain says new visa policy to launch on October 1
By Andy Sambidge
Sun 28 Sep 2014 02:41 PM

Bahrain's new visa policy that now allows nationals from over 100 countries to obtain a visa either online ahead of travel or on arrival will start to be implemented from October 1, it was announced on Sunday.

Under the new policy, visitors from 66 countries will be able to receive visas upon arrival in Bahrain, making it easier to visit the kingdom.

Visitors from a further 36 countries will also be able to obtain electronic visas, bringing the overall total of countries eligible to receive e-visas to 102, a statement from Bahrain's Economic Development Board said.

It added that he new visa policy is "an important development that places Bahrain among the countries with the most flexible visa policies in the region".

The new policy will also be accompanied by improvements to the individual screening process, ensuring faster and more effective processing of applications, the statement said.

"It will further enable expatriates who do business in Bahrain, to easily travel in and out of the kingdom, as well as boosting the tourism industry," it added.

From early 2015, both business visitors and tourists will be able to spend longer periods of time in the kingdom, as the new policy dictates that visas can be renewed for up to three months. Multiple entry visas will also begin to be issued.

Sheikh Ahmed bin Isa Al Khalifa, Assistant Undersecretary for Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs at Bahrain's Ministry of Interior, said: "This policy will provide easier and quicker access for businesses with operations in Bahrain and will also help to attract more tourists to the kingdom.

"During the build-up phase, we have worked closely with a range of stakeholders in the public and private sectors to ensure the new policy provides immediate benefits to visitors, and are pleased to be in a position to launch the new policy from October 1.

"The changes are being implemented as part of wider efforts to continually develop the passport and immigration processes and systems."

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