Bahrain relaxes visa restrictions for 64 countries

Visas on arrival for visitors from India, Pakistan and South Africa

The policy could boost the tourism industry
The policy could boost the tourism industry

Nationals from 64 more countries will be able to obtain a visa on arrival into Bahrain, the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB) has announced, in an effort to boost the tourism industry and drive investment.

The new visa policy, which will extend visa on arrival to countries such as India, Pakistan, Brazil and South Africa, means visitors from almost 100 countries will now have this option.

The policy allows visitors to obtain a one month visa on arrival, with the ability to renew it for a further three months. According to the EDB, it will further enable expatriates who do business in Bahrain to easily travel in and out of the Kingdom more easily.

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His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, first deputy prime minister and chairman of the EDB, presented the new visa policy in a Cabinet meeting last week, emphasising that reforms such as this, which support the business environment in the Kingdom, will help to continue to attract inward investment and drive forward economic growth and job creation.

"Throughout history, Bahrain’s economic progress has been built on a tradition of openness, based around its role as an established hub for trade and investment,” said H.E. Kamal bin Ahmed, minister of transportation and acting chief executive of the EDB.

“The new visa policy - one of the most flexible visa policies in the region - follows that tradition, enabling citizens from more than 100 countries to enjoy easier and quicker access to the Middle East’s most open economy, as ranked by the Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom."

The EDB said the decision to revise the visa policy was taken based on key trends in the investor base in the Kingdom, including a 58% increase in international investors who own businesses in Bahrain between 2005 and 2012, and 50% increase in Arab investors with 17% in non-residence equity owners.

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