Visa Waiver For Six Gulf States

  • John Delamare

Citizens from six Persian Gulf states will now be able to visit New Zealand for up to three months without needing a visa, the Immigration Minister, Hon Tuariki Delamere and Trade Minister Lockwood Smith announced today.

Trade Minister Lockwood Smith has announced the visa waiver at a luncheon today with senior private sector representatives in New Zealand's second most important trading partner in the Arab World, the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The six Gulf states are Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. During 1998 the six Gulf countries covered by the visa waiver arrangement imported $344 million of New Zealand goods. Imports from these countries in the same period totalled $577 million, largely of oil and related products.

From 1 July 1999, business and tourist visitors from the six Gulf Cooperation Council states will no longer require visas to visit New Zealand.

The Ministers said the decision has been made in order to foster closer contacts with the Gulf States involved, particularly in trade and tourism.

The Ministers said that it was particularly appropriate to announce the Government's decision during the visit to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emerites by the Minister for International Trade, Lockwood Smith.