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Kingdom Of Bahrain The Council The Means of Creating a Unified VISA System Among all Member State Countries “The abolition of internal border controls in most European Union member states is rightly considered a blessing to EU citizens” Angela Merkel, Germany’s Chancellor once stated. This quote could one day be applied on an Arab Union where all the citizens in it would have a unified visa system which can benefit all Arab countries economically, socially, and politically. Although this step is farfetched in the near future, however, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a supporter of an Arab integration and a unified visa system which can allow an easy access to all Arabic countries and a great step to flourish. Nationally, in October 2014, the Kingdom of Bahrain executed a new visa policy which allows incoming travelers to get a visa easier. Travelers from approved countries can get a visa on arrival or one online. People that wish to visit or work in Bahrain, can know if they are eligible for a visa by applying online and knowing if they are accepted electronically without visiting the embassy. Some of the countries that this policy has been implemented on are all the European Union countries, the United States of America, Venezuela, and Australia. A total of 38 countries can only apply for an e-visa which will permit them to visit the country for up to14 days. Some of those countries are Antigua and Barbuda, Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan. This has caused the country to issue more visas since the policy was implemented. On the other hand, other countries need a guarantor which is a Bahraini commercial entry or a Bahraini individual in order to obtain a visa. Some of these countries are Lebanon, Algeria, and Belarus. Internationally, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been ranked as 65th most powerful passport among 199 countries. Bahraini citizens have visa-free or visa on arrival to 73 countries. This is quite powerful for a country as small as the Bahrain. The country has gone into a treaty with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) in order to have a unified visa system among the six member states which are the Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, and Qatar. The unified visa will be available in the middle of 2016 and it will allow foreigners to enter all GCC countries with one visa. A unified tourism policy will thus apply regarding this proposal. This will promote culture, economy, tourism, and awareness of other nations. A unified visa between the GCC countries will have a positive effect economically and socially on the GCC, thus moving onwards, a unified visa between the Arab Union will create a better economy and society, especially since this union have a central location and a common culture. As an initial step, the Kingdom of Bahrain is ready to start applying visa on arrival on countries that are within the Arabic Union, and then continue with having a unified visa after studying the results of the first step. Also, a specific time constraint can apply on the visa on arrival in the beginning, and then that time constraint can decrease or even disappear if a unified visa is present. References: Bahrain E-Visa. Kingdom of Bahrain, Ministry of Interior, 2013. Web. 6 Mar. 2016. “Doing Business in Bahrain A Tax and Legal Guide.” PWC, 2016. Web. 7 Mar. 2016. . Esther Ademmer, Toman Barsbai, Matthias Lücke, and Tobias Stöhr. “30 Years of Schengen Internal Blessing, External Curse?” Kiel Institute for the World Economy, June 2015. Web. 7 Mar. 2016. . Khan, Ghazanfar Ali. “‘Schengen-style’ GCC Visa Likely by Mid-2016.” Arab News. 11 Oct. 2015. Web. 6 Mar. 2016. . Maria Van De Poele, Anne Robrock, Patrice Emmanuelle Schmitz, and Pedro Torrinha. “Study on the Feasibility of the Creation of a European System of Border Guards to Control the External Borders of the Union.” Europa. ESBG, June 2014. Web. 7 Mar. 2016. . Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Kingdom of Bahrain, 2016. Web. 6 Mar. 2016. “The Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index 2016.” Henley and Partners, 2016. Web. 6 Mar. 2016. U.S. Passports & International Travel. United States Department of State., 24 Sept. 2014. Web. 6 Mar. 2016.

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