Australia mulls UK-style visa waiver for GCC
Dubai, April 14, 2014
Australia may grant Gulf nationals a visa waiver similar to what the UK introduced last year in bid to boost tourism, said a report citing the country's trade and investment minister.
“We haven’t made a decision but we’re looking at all the countries that we can give visa waivers-the Gulf countries are in that group we’re looking at,” Andrew Robb was quoted as saying in the Gulf News.
Currently, leisure and business travellers from the GCC can apply for a two-year multiple entry visa online, which they can receive electronically within 48 hours, stated the report.
Robb agreed that the visa waiver would be similar to what the UK introduced last year. Under the UK waiver, nationals of some Gulf countries, including the UAE, Oman and Qatar, can travel to the UK visa-free starting from this year.
Visitors will need to fill up an electronic visa waiver (EVW) application free of charge at the UK Border Agency website at least 48 hours before they are due to travel. With an EVW, there is no requirement to provide biometrics, visit a visa application centre or hand in passports prior to travel.
Meanwhile, Australia is looking to extend the age of applicants of the working holiday visa, which is a temporary visa for young people who want to holiday and work in Australia for up to a year, he added.