Schengen Visa: EU Introduces 5-Year Schengen Visas For Citizens of Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia

Schengen Visa: EU Introduces 5-Year Schengen Visas For Citizens of Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia

European Union (EU) announces a new five-year Schengen visa for citizens of Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia boosting travel and strengthening ties between the EU and GCC.

The announcement was made by EU foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, during the opening session of the first high-level Forum on Regional Security and Co-operation between the bloc and the GCC in Luxembourg.

“I welcome a decision adopted by the European Commission this morning to harmonise the rules for granting multiple-entry visas for the citizens of the GCC countries,” he said.

Josep Borrell, EU Foreign Policy Chief

The EU Commission has decided to start issuing visas with longer validity for nationals of these countries as part of its attempt to strengthen the relations and harmonise the rules applying to all Gulf countries.

While the EU authorities have yet to make an official statement on the matter, it is believed that five-year multiple-entry Schengen visas will be issued to all Saudia Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain passport holders who meet the requirements, including first-time applicants.

Nationals of Saudi Arabia, Oman, and Bahrain who obtain a five-year multiple-entry Schengen visa are permitted to enter the Schengen Area multiple times within a year.

However, they must follow the 90/180-day rule, which means that they are not permitted to stay in the Schengen countries for more than three months within any six-month period.

Currently, citizens of the UAE are the sole beneficiaries of visa-free entry into the Schengen Area among Gulf nations. This is due to the bilateral agreement signed in 2015. Discussions are ongoing between the EU and other Gulf countries for the EU to fully drop the visa requirements and instead permit free movement without the need to obtain any additional documents.

Notably, the Schengen Area expanded its boundaries in March of this year, partially embracing Bulgaria and Romania effectively eliminating air and sea border restrictions inside the EU.

In an identical attempt to streamline travel for both residents and visitors, Gulf countries earlier announced plans for a unified tourist visa similar to the Schengen permit, indicating a larger commitment to lowering travel obstacles and improving tourism exchanges.

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