Citizens and expatriates in GCC may soon be able travel between the six member countries with just electronic identity cards, instead of passports and visa.
They will be able to use smart cards issued by their own countries to pass through electronic gates at GCC airports.
Plan to be presented at GCC meeting
A senior official in Kuwait has proposed the plan to allow citizens and expatriates residing in GCC countries to travel between the GCC member-nations using a smart card, Arab Times has reported.
Assistant Undersecretary for Citizenship and Passport Affairs in the Interior Ministry Major General Sheikh Mazen Al-Jarrah confirmed the project will be presented in the upcoming meeting of GCC Interior Ministers for deliberation.
Linking smart card databases
The logic behind the idea is that every GCC country has an e-gate system and countries that has issued smart ID cards to residents can be linked together by sharing the residents’ database.
Earlier, there were talks about creating a joint GCC visa, so that if someone acquires a visa to enter one country, it will also be valid to enter the other member states.
With the falling oil prices, many GCC countries are remodelling their economies on the tourism revenue. In such a scenario, changes like these are required to allow residents and tourists to move freely in the region.
However one major hindrance to this free movement idea is the rising security concerns and terror-linked activities in the region.
For the new proposal to be successful, GCC nations would have to come up with fool-proof systems that can successfully filter criminals and law-breakers from sneaking through.
– Originally published on 3 May 2016