UK to launch new visa system for GCC countries in February 2024

The United Kingdom announced that all countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council will move to the electronic travel authorization system as of February next year 2024.

The British government indicated that citizens of the Gulf countries will not need visas when visiting the United Kingdom, as the British authorities will work to improve border operations to facilitate the entry of tourists, students and businessmen.

While the British Ambassador to the country, Belinda Lewis, told Al-Qabas daily that the new visa system will be introduced from the beginning of 2024, specifically next February. She indicated that the application of the ETA for Kuwaiti citizens will make travel to the United Kingdom much easier and more flexible, and there will be no need for a visit visa.

British Ambassador Belinda Lewis confirmed readiness to implement the new visa system, expressing her hope that this new system will encourage more Kuwaiti visitors to visit the United Kingdom, explaining that tourists can apply for an electronic travel permit valid for two years worth 10 British pounds, i.e. It is equivalent to 3.7 Kuwaiti dinars, whether for adults, children or infants, starting from February 1 of next year, and it takes about three working days to complete the application.

She added: A large number of people have applied for the old Visa Waiver Scheme (EVW) but the Home Office does not keep figures on the number of people from each country.

Lewis praised the depth of bilateral relations between the two countries, explaining that the United Kingdom and Kuwait will continue to benefit from the close friendship we share to develop new areas of cooperation, noting that the volume of trade has witnessed remarkable growth after reaching 5.1 billion pounds sterling, an increase of 66.8% over last year.

She continued: Our defense and security partnerships have also flourished, including cybersecurity, air and maritime security, military cooperation, and counter-terrorism cooperation, and ties between individuals have strengthened, which is reflected in the presence of about 10,000 Kuwaiti students in world-class UK universities.

She added: “Locally, the British Council continued to provide training and testing in the English language in partnership with local schools and colleges, as more than 6,000 students took IELTS exams through the Council.

She said that British officials are currently working to agree on a new date for holding the tenth meeting of the Joint Steering Committee during the first three months of 2024 in London, explaining that many events have been postponed due to the death of the late Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad.

She pointed out that the nineteenth meeting of the Joint Steering Group between the United Kingdom and Kuwait (JSG) was held in Kuwait City last February of this year, and the joint working group, chaired by Deputy Foreign Minister Sheikh Jarrah and the United Kingdom Minister for the Middle East, Lord Ahmed, made progress in the group. A wide range of bilateral issues.

She pointed out that the first strategic dialogue between the United Kingdom and Kuwait was held last March, and it was a good opportunity for our Foreign Minister and the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister to discuss important matters and foreign policy topics.

The British Ambassador praised the four visits made by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Mishal Al-Ahmad to the United Kingdom, the last of which was in October to attend a special meeting with the King of Britain, considering that these visits represent a prominent and important point.

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