On January 6, 2021, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, and the UAE resumed diplomatic relations with Qatar
Those countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar on June 5, 2017
Air, land, and sea borders were previously closed between the disputing countries
Some entry and travel restrictions are still in effect as the countries restore relations
Restrictions are expected to be lifted as the countries normalize relations and operations
Independently issued COVID-19 restrictions may still affect travel and mobility in the region
In 2017, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. All land, marine, and air borders closed as a result. The affected nations recently signed an agreement to restore diplomatic relations on January 6, 2021.
Some travel and entry restrictions remain in place for Qatar that limit regional mobility. The restrictions have been in place for the past two weeks following the Gulf Council summit in Saudi Arabia.
What are the Changes?
The most recent Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit in Saudi Arabia was an initiative by Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to restore and normalize diplomatic relations with Qatar.
Following the summit, multiple entry and travel restrictions remain in place. These restrictions are separate from co-existing COVID-19 restrictions that still affect the region.
Currently, the following entry permissions and restrictions apply:
Land borders between Saudi Arabia and Qatar are currently open
Marine borders are open between the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain
A visa and pre-authorization are required for Qatari nationals to enter Egypt
Visa-free entry is permitted for Qatari nationals into Saudi Arabia and the UAE
Foreign nationals who have residence visas from Qatar may encounter challenges receiving visit visas for entry into Egypt and Saudi Arabia
Foreign nationals traveling to Bahrain through the e-visa program cannot obtain an entry permit at this time, as the e-visa program does not recognize Qatari residence permits
Immigration restrictions do not apply to foreign nationals entering the UAE
Immigration restrictions do not apply for foreign nationals entering Qatar with residence permits from Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia
Air travel is now open among the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar
Entry and travel restrictions are expected to improve as the countries continue their diplomatic relations. However, travel to the affected nations may still be impacted by COVID-19. Updates will be provided as they become available.
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The Arab states of the Persian Gulf are the seven Arab states which border the Persian Gulf, namely Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).This excludes the non-Arab state of Iran. All of these nations except Iraq are part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).