No passports needed to visit Saudi

Bahraini ID Card

Finally, after 25 years or so of establishing the Gulf Cooperation Council, citizens of both Bahrain and Saudi will soon be able to visit each other’s country by just using their identity card rather than a passport. This will take effect in 30 days due to an agreement signed at the Interior Ministers’s meeting in Riyadh yesterday.

Thanks! That should make things a bit easier. You wouldn’t believe the number of times that I found out that I didn’t have my passport with me when I reached the border point on the causeway! Soon, I won’t have to worry about that.

One thing they could do is unify the visas throughout the Gulf so that residents in one country can easily go to another without having to go through the onerous steps of getting a recurrent visa from one country or another. For instance, we go through hell (and a lot of begging) to get our engineer a visa so he can visit our customers in Saudi.

Ah well, one step at a time I guess. As allowing citizens to travel to each other’s country has taken 26 years to achieve, to get residents to do so will probably take oooh, another 260 years. Not bad.

Incidentally, did you know that there is a page listing the lost and found ID cards on the Ministry of Interior’s website? Quite nifty isn’t it!


  1. amjad

    They just thought of this? 😕 And I thought it’s already there since a long time ago considering that it’s only a bridge which separates Bahrain from KSA ..


    yes, i was reading that and thinking, FINALLY OUT OF THE STONE AGE!

    Shengen visas in Europe allow non-european nationals to travel between the shengen countries (ie, italy, france, etc), and we should have the same here. After all, whats the point of the GCC if we have nothing to hold for it?

    I mean, we can travel throughout it without getting a visa? Is that it?

    And dont even think about the whole currency thing. We wont see that for AT LEAST another 7 years or so unless some SERIOUS shaking is done.

  3. Moclippa

    I agree with you about the fact that we should unify visas around the gulf… but since regionally we are some of the worst human traffickers in the world I would not be happy with legislation passed in that regard until we first develop some sort of unified regional migrant protections and rights first.

    I realize it hurts locals, primarily small business owners, not to have a unified visa law… but it would be severely damaging to the status of migrants and other persons who are targets of trafficking if we legislated laws that made their movement easier before we prepared legislation protecting them.

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  5. Grace

    I agree with Moclippa, a unified visa would not to justice to our different legal frameworks not to mention policies in terms of being eligible.

    Could you imagine everybody who gets a visa into Dubai, be able to travel all over the Gulf states without being cross-checked first? Its not a matter of loose freedoms its a matter of national security and the preservation of our culture and the safety of our streets.


    providing such a regional visa should be subjective in the sense of why it was given; ie, tourist visa? employment? long/short term?

    but honestly, it wont happen anytime soon. Saudi is blatantly going to reject having people step into their country without their specific approval first. Hell, its hard enough getting a visa for saudi through their embassy unless you know someone there!

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  10. Jade

    No passports required – congratulations!

    Does this now mean that even more Saudis are going to flood over to the “Happy Island” watering holes every weekend?

    With the additional benefit of Mahmood’s promotional Bahrain Babes campaign, the island’s tourism industry is certainly going to take off.

  11. Post

    With or without passports they will come, and are welcome! And my few pictures of beautiful people are only a micro selection of what we see day in and day out in Bahrain. All you have to do is take a stroll in any of the malls.

    Can you imagine what life will be like in Bahrain without the huge income generated due to Saudi?

    Yes, the stereotypical view is that they’re like randy inebriated goats (and that brush paints all Arabs in any case) but they do have decent people who come here to do business, take part in cultural events and other non-sex-alcohol related pursuits.

    What the removal of the need for the passport will do is help people like me for instance who do business in Saudi and would benefit more if I can go there on the spur of the moment to conduct a transaction rather than have to continuously plan the trip unnecessarily.

    To reiterate my points:

    1. Saudis are more than welcome in Bahrain, the more the merrier.
    2. Doing away with passports for traveling to Saudi is long overdue and it too is welcome.
    3. Should any visitor to Bahrain break our laws, out judicial system should see to it that the laws are applied evenly which will deter anyone from breaking it.
    4. The Ministry of Interior should concentrate much more on road safety and provide much more officers on the road who actually do bother stopping cars and drivers who break the law rather than just let them go for fear of doing more paperwork, or fear of being shouted at and humiliated by those who consider themselves high and mighty!

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