ETW Staff– Mumbai
The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) has highlighted details of a new visa policy which enables residents of India, along with 35 other countries, to apply for electronic visas as of October 2014. This will bring the overall total of countries eligible to receive e-visas to 101. These can be obtained ahead of travel to the Kingdom of Bahrain through a simple online application process.
Starting in 2015 residents of India will now be able to spend longer periods of time in Bahrain. Under the new system visas will be valid for a month and can be renewed for up to three months, multiple entry visas will also be available.
Kamal bin Ahmed, minister of transportation and acting chief executive of the Bahrain EDB, said, “Throughout history, Bahrain’s economic progress has been built on a tradition of openness, based around its role as an established hub for trade and investment. The new visa policy – one of the most flexible visa policies in the region – follows that tradition, enabling citizens from more than 100 countries to enjoy easier and quicker access to the Middle East’s most open economy, as ranked by the Heritage Foundation’s 2014 Index of Economic Freedom.”
In particular, the new visa policy will further enable expatriates who do business in Bahrain, to easily travel in and out of the Kingdom more easily, as well as boosting the tourism industry. The new visa policy will have a particularly significant impact on ease of travel for Indians due to the large numbers that live, work and travel to Bahrain. Indians make up the largest expatriate population in Bahrain with more than 300,000 residing in the Kingdom. India is also one of Bahrain’s most important trading partners. In 2011, total trade between India and Bahrain exceeded US$ 1.7 billion.