The American Chamber of Commerce in Bahrain (AmCham Bahrain) is very pleased with the recent announcement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the U.S. Embassy that the Kingdom of Bahrain and the United States of America have reached an agreement to extend the validity of tourist visas granted to citizens of both countries from five to ten years.
Qays Zu’bi, AmCham Bahrain President, stated “On behalf of the AmCham Bahrain Board of Directors, we thank the governments of Bahrain and the United States for their good work to further the close ties that have long been enjoyed between our two countries with the new soon to be issued 10-year multiple entry visa.
“The 10-year visa promotes easier access for eligible citizens to travel between our two countries and this is good for all business sectors as it will further support the use of the U.S.-Bahrain Free Trade Agreement (FTA) as citizens travel to establish business opportunities. Since the FTA was initiated, bilateral trade between the U.S. and Bahrain has more the tripled from $782M in 2005 to $2.5B in 2019. AmCham provides a platform that highlights information, introductions, and opportunities to encourage trade and help businesses use the FTA and the 10-year visa will support our effort.”
“Applying for a visa can be time consuming – the 10-year visa will save time, money and stress – which is beneficial for both business and tourism. Encouraging more travel between our two countries is a win-win and will enhance goodwill and opportunity. Tourism and trade are vitally important to both economies and the new 10-year visa will certainly enhance both countries as preferred travel destinations.”
Facts about the new 10-year visa:
- It is for Bahraini and U.S. citizens only, and it applies to B1/B2 visas, which are for business and tourism trips. It does not apply to other visa types.
- The cost of the visa is the same as it was for the 5-year version of the visa.
- If someone currently has a 5-year visa, it cannot be converted to a 10-year visa. They will need to make a new application for the 10-year visa and pay the usual fees. They can do that at any time after the 10-year visa is implemented. Bahraini citizens with valid B1/B2 business & tourism visas will be able to get a 10-year visa via the Interview Waiver Program (drop box) as soon as normal visa operations resume at the U.S. embassy.
- The new visa does not change the length of stay permitted for a trip to the United States or Bahrain – it only changes the validity of the visa, allowing travellers to make as many trips as they like over the course of 10 years.
- The date of implementation is not yet confirmed, but it is expected to be effective within a month or two.