Bahrain offers region's first eVisa

The Kingdom of Bahrain has announced the launch of the eVisa, the first electronic visa in the Middle East, which allows visitors to Bahrain to apply for a visa electronically using the internet.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  May 10, 2004

The Kingdom of Bahrain has announced the launch of the eVisa, the first electronic visa in the Middle East, which allows visitors to Bahrain to apply for a visa electronically from anywhere in the world using the internet. The General Directorate of Nationality, Passports & Residence (GDNPR), Kingdom of Bahrain said that besides the convenience of online application, the eVisa will mean quicker processing at Bahrain International Airport and removes the need for visitors to pay for the visa in local currency on arrival. In order to apply for an eVisa applicants require a secure internet connection, a credit card, their passport and point their browser to www.evisa.gov.bh. The eVisa, which costs US$19 or 7 Bahraini Dinar is currently available only for standard-type visit visas for nationals from Western European, North American and several South East Asian countries, but the system will be gradually expanded so that most travelers will be able to apply for visit visas and other categories online say the authorities. The eVisa site, which is co-developed and operated by iBorders, an alliance between CPS Systems, SITA, and the Bahrain Government’s eBorders team aims to provide a wide range of border management and control solutions to governments throughout the world. iBorders offers a similar online visa service for Australia in conjunction with the Australian government. Progress of the application can be checked online using the eVisa website. Once the eVisa is approved, a printout can be downloaded from the website, although this is not necessary for entry as approval will be shown on the computer at the arrival counter at the Bahrain International Airport. Initially the applications will be processed manually within 72 hours, although as the system is developed further, the approval of applications will be automated. The visit eVisa stay in Bahrain for up to two weeks, with an extension service available for another two weeks at GDNPR office in Bahrain. Both the eVisa and eBorders initiatives are part of the Kingdom’s e-government strategy to establish an government network. Other initiatives include the creation of a new smart card, which contains all government information and allow the payment of bills to replace the old ID cards; an eInvestorproject for all government-related business activity and the ‘Business Intelligence’ project to create national databases for the Ministries of Health, Labour and Commerce.

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