MANAMA, Bahrain – Following on from the new visa policy announced in September 2014, the government of Bahrain have announced a second phase updates, which will allow business visitors and tourists to spend longer periods of time in the country and also improves ease of access for GCC residents and visa holders.
In October 2014, 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 (www.evisa.gov.bh), or on arrival. Data from October 2014 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 latest developments, from April 1st 2015 both business visitors and tourists will be able to spend longer periods of time in the 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.
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.
Shaikh Ahmed bin Isa Al Khalifa, Assistant Undersecretary for the General Directorate of Nationality, Passports and Residence Affairs at Bahrain’s Ministry of Interior, commented: “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.”
Mr. 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.