Short on time? Here are the highlights:
- The UK has expanded its visa waiver programme to include Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, with the effect that travellers from all six Gulf Cooperation Council states can now travel to the UK for up to six months without a visitor or student visa
The British Home Office announced recently that the UK’s electronic visa waiver (EVW) programme will be further expanded to include Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
From 1 June, Saudi and Bahraini nationals will be eligible for the electronic visa waiver making travel to the UK quicker and easier. This means all nationals from 🇸🇦 & 🇧🇭 will not be required to apply for a Visit visa to travel to the UK for a period of up to 6 months. pic.twitter.com/H6us572u2P
— Home Office (@ukhomeoffice) May 13, 2022
The EVW programme allows travellers from the six member-states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to travel to the UK for up to six months for “tourism, business, study, or medical treatment.” Along with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, the other GCC members are Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.
Eligible visitors can apply up to 48 hours before departure for the UK. The process is completed online, carries only a negligible cost (£30), and is much easier than applying for a visitor or student visa.
“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 Home Secretary Priti Patel. “The visa improvements announced today will provide greater security for our citizens while making it easier and cheaper for visitors from the Gulf to travel here for leisure and business.”
As we noted recently, the UAE is one of the fastest-growing markets for undergraduate programmes in the UK.
English UK reports meanwhile that some of the GCC states, notably Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, were among the top sending markets for the country’s ELT sector for the first quarter of 2022. In fact, and as we see in the following chart, Saudi Arabia is far and away the leading source market for Q1 2022.
For additional background, please see: