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Saudi Arabia-Kuwait sign passport accord

Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have signed an accord allowing citizens travelling between the two to do so without a passport.

Following an agreement signed in Bahrain immigration officials will now accept local nationals’ personal identity cards.

“This signed joint statement pleases all Kuwaiti and Saudi citizens, and facilitates the movement of the nationals of both countries without any restriction,” said Prince Naif bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Saudi Arabia’s interior minister and second deputy premier.

Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states have recently implemented plans that allow their citizens to travel to fellow nations without passports, with the UAE leading the way.

In July this year it was announced that UAE nationals holding identity cards could travel to all other GCC nations except Saudi Arabia without having to show a passport at border crossings.

This includes Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, and Kuwait.

Last year, Saudi Arabia stopped accepting UAE ID cards at border crossings due to an objection over a map on the back of the card, which it argued did not correspond to the border agreed by the two countries in 1974.

Saudi Arabia

At the same time Saudi Arabia has confirmed it will offer a six-month amnesty to the hundreds of foreigners illegally staying in the country, thus paving the way for their return home without punishment.

An Interior Ministry statement called upon all illegal residents to complete the necessary formalities for their departure by reporting to the nearest Department for Foreigners’ Affairs (Wafideen) before March 23rd, 2011.

The amnesty would cover those who arrived in the Kingdom on a Hajj visa or any other type of visa which had expired or violated Passport Department regulations before the date of the pardon.

“Violators caught after the grace period will receive tough punishment including jail and fine,” added the statement.