UNITED KINGDOM: Bahrain and Saudi Arabia to Join Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) Scheme

May 16, 2022

From 1 June 2022, all nationals from Bahrain and Saudi Arabia intending to visit the UK (for tourism, business, study or medical treatment) for a period of up to six months will no longer be required to obtain a Visit visa in advance of travel; instead, they can choose to apply for an Electronic Visa Waiver (EVW) to travel to the UK.

The move will deepen the UK’s partnership with Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and enhance diplomatic ties and economic prosperity. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain will join other Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states with electronic visa waiver status, the Home Office has announced. The move will maintain security and effective border processes ensuring necessary security checks are carried out ahead of travel whilst enabling smooth transit through the UK border for visitors.

An EVW offers a faster, easier, and cheaper process to visit the UK than a Visit visa. An application can be made between three months and 48 hours in advance of travel and costs £30. There is no requirement for applicants to provide biometrics, attend a Visa Application Centre or surrender passports in advance of travel for an EVW as there is with visas. The visa requirements for work, study and settlement in the UK remain in place.

Customers who have applied for a Visit visa and have not submitted their biometrics (fingerprints) can withdraw their application and receive a refund on their visa fee. Withdrawals can be made here: www.gov.uk/cancel-visaIndividuals and organisations impacted by this development are encouraged to contact a Newland Chase immigration specialist for case-specific advice.

For general advice and information on immigration and business travel to the UK, please contact us.