EU introduces 5 year Schengen Visa for Saudi travellers

EU introduces 5 year Schengen Visa for Saudi travellers

The multiple entry visa for Saudi citizens was announced this week by European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell Fontelles
23 April 24
جديد الشنغن تأشيرة للسعوديين لمدة 5 سنوات Image source: Shutterstock

This new, extended Schengen Visa is set to make business and travel within the European Union (EU) easier for Saudi Arabian nationals.

Announced in Luxembourg by Josep Borrell Fontelles, Vice President of the EU Commission and foreign policy chief during the inaugural High-Level Forum on Regional Security and Cooperation, the new visa policy is set to solidify relationships between the EU and the Gulf States of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Bahrain.

Under the updated visa rules, citizens of Bahrain, Oman, and Saudi Arabia will now be eligible for a multiple-entry Schengen Visa, with a validity of five years. This groundbreaking initiative will allow GCC nationals to visit EU countries multiple times within the visa's duration, helping to streamline travel logistics and aiming to enhance and enrich people-to-people exchanges.

“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,” said Josep Borrell Fontelles.

Saudi Arabia was represented at the forum by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan.

It has been speculated that the implementation of the new five-year visa opportunity could be seen as a preliminary step towards a potential Schengen waiver for the GCC region, reflecting a broader trend toward enhancing regional integration and facilitating cross-border mobility.

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The Schengen Area began in 1985 with just six countries, and now comprises of approximately 29 European countries. The Schengen Area currently stands as the world's largest free-travel zone, allowing for travel between states with no additional border checks or controls.

The group of Schengen Countries include the majority of mainland Europe, and increasingly popular destinations for GCC travellers such as Austria, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland and Sweden.

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According to the EU definition, a Schengen Visa is; " authorisation issued by a Schengen state that allows travellers to enter the Schengen area for intended short stays in or transit through the territory of a Schengen state (short stay visa), or transit through the international transit areas of airports of the Schengen states (airport transit visa)." And importantly, with regards to the Schengen Area, and visas, "short stays" refer to periods of no longer than 90 days within a span of 180 days.

Citizens of the UAE are not required to obtain a visa for travel to the Schengen Area and are permitted to stay for a maximum of three months per visit.