Kuwait welcomes dropped UK visa requirements

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KUWAIT CITY, June 27, (Agencies): Kuwait’s embassy in Britain welcomed on Monday a new travel scheme that would exempt Kuwaitis and other Gulf Arab nationals from visa requirements, saying the measure will save both time and effort. Under the new rules, Kuwaitis will only need to acquire an electronic travel permit in advance before visiting Britain, a move that encapsulates “long-standing and enduring” bilateral relations, according to an embassy statement.

On the new scheme, which comes into effect next year, it said it was the culmination of strenuous work on the part of the Kuwaiti foreign ministry, aiming to simplify travel to a country long considered a hotspot for citizens. Kuwait’s embassy will continue to work with relevant bodies in the UK to finalize the remaining details of the new travel plan, added the statement. Gulf Arab nationals will no longer need to obtain a visa before visiting Britain starting next year, making travel procedures simpler for one of the country’s most ardent visitors, Home Secretary Priti Patel said on Monday.

Travel permit
Under the new scheme, Gulf Cooperation Council citizens will need to acquire an electronic travel permit in advance, replacing the conventional visa requirements, while the new measure will not apply to students or those on prolonged visits, the minister told the press. She went on to describe the measure as a step towards a more “digital border” that will allow for an accurate counting of people who enter or leave the country, in addition to keeping any potential security threats at bay. On these travel requirements, the UK minister said Gulf Arab nationals will be among the first “beneficiaries” of these simplified procedures, while Britain’s ambassador to Kuwait Belinda Lewis hailed the rules as a “testament” to long-standing bilateral relations.

All six Gulf states – Qatar, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain – by moving to Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA)s will become non-visa nationals, meaning they will not require a visa to visit the UK. ETAs enhance the Government’s ability to screen travellers and stop those who pose a threat to the UK by ensuring everyone wishing to travel to the UK (except British and Irish citizens) has permission to do so in advance. The ETA scheme is an important part of the UK Government’s move to a fully digital border by the end of 2025. It will broadly apply to passengers visiting or transiting through the UK who do not currently need a visa for short stays (for example, because they can already use the EVW scheme), or do not currently hold another UK visa. The ETA will not apply to students attending courses or other categories of travellers who wish to visit the UK for longer than a short stay.

measure It is a straight-forward application process and will act as an additional security measure allowing the government to block threats from entering the UK, whilst also providing individuals with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel. Once granted, an ETA will be valid for multiple trips over an extended period.

British Ambassador, Belinda Lewis said: “Waiving the visa requirement for Kuwaiti nationals making short visits to the UK next year is fantastic news. It will bring our two countries even closer together, reflecting our longstanding bonds of friendship, trade and cooperation across a wide range of areas. With so many direct flights between Kuwait and the UK, including Kuwait Airways’ new route into Manchester, it will be easier than ever to keep in touch and enjoy the best that each country has to offer.”

The Civil Aviation Authority said on Monday that it informed the airlines of the new arrival conditions that will come into effect starting from next July as the Thailand Pass system needed for entry has been removed. The Thai authorities mentioned that they will completely cancel the COVID-19 testing requirements for the vaccinated to enter the country by air. Fully vaccinated passengers can enter by air without the need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test upon entry, it stated, pointing out that those who are not vaccinated or partially vaccinated must get a negative test 72 hours before arrival.

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