List of GCC countries
List of six GCC (or AGCC) countries, citizen nationalities, nations, or member states is Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE. Yemen is not one of the GCC countries.
- Bahrain - or Kingdom of Bahrain
- Oman - or Sultanate of Oman
- Saudi Arabia - or Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)
- UAE - United Arab Emirates
||Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa
||Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah
||Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said
||Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani
||King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud
||Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan
||King, since Mar 1999
||Emir from Jun 2013
||King, since Aug 2005
||President, since Nov 2004
||728,709 (July 2010, CIA)
||1,106,509 (July 2008, CIO)
||741 sq km
||Saudis or Saudi Arabians
- Population figures are often unreliable, a second source might be given for comparison.
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
- GCC is the acronym for Gulf Cooperation Council (or Gulf Co-operation Council). Full name is Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (CCASG). Also referred to as the Arab Gulf Cooperation Council (AGCC).
- Secretary General of the GCC is Dr Abdullatif Bin Rashid Al Zayani (Dr Abdulattif Al Zayyani) (last checked 26 Jul 2013).
- The GCC was founded on 26 May 1981.
- Yemen (or The Republic of Yemen) is not included although geographically it lies in the same region, sharing a land border with Oman and Saudi Arabia.
- The "Gulf" refers to the body of water known as the Arabian Gulf in GCC countries, or the Persian Gulf as referred to in many other places.
- Using the term "Persian Gulf" is impolite at least for GCC countries and nationals, whereas, Iran and many Iranians find the term "Arabian Gulf" offensive. Most other people or countries probably don't care that much one way or another.
- All GCC countries have part or all of their coastline on the Arabian Gulf. Part of the Musandam Peninsula belongs to Oman.
- GCC citizens can usually travel freely between member states without the need for visas, or sometimes passports - a national identity card might be sufficient, at least at land border crossings.
- Arabic for Gulf is Khaleej. The term "Khaleeji" is sometimes used to describe Gulf Arabs, or maybe just UAE Arabs?
- The GCC countries are in discussion (during 2011 ... 2012) about forming a political, economic, and military union similar to the European Union (EU). A customs union and common currency have been agreed upon, at least in principle. Implementation timeline unknown or undecided.
- 02 Sep 2012 - GCC foreign ministers met in Jeddah after studying a plan for GCC unity and said it would need more discussion.
- 08 May 2012 - at a GCC summit, a proposed plan for greater unity was discussed but GCC members said it would need further study.
- Dec 2011 - King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was reported to have said during a speech that the six GCC countries should move towards a "stage of unity in a single entity," apparently as a response to the Arab Spring uprisings in the region, and the perceived threat from Iran towards GCC countries.
GCC countries shared economics, politics, culture, religion
- GCC countries have a significant economic dependence on oil export. Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Abu Dhabi in the UAE in particular. Qatar has a large natural gas industry, Oman and Bahrain have much less dependence on oil.
- All GCC countries are Islamic states with all citizens (or almost all) belonging to the Muslim faith. Citizens who are not Muslim probably keep that fact to themselves as it is possible they run the risk of punishment from the state (the penalty for apostasy is death in some or all GCC countries). Expat residents of other faiths are accepted to varying degrees depending on the country - the UAE allows churches and other religious buildings to operate, Saudi does not for example.
- Most citizens of Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE are Sunni Muslims but there are significant proportions of Shia (Shiite) Muslims in all countries. Bahrain has a majority of Shi'a Muslims? Oman has a majority who are Ibadi/Ibadhi Muslims.
- All GCC countries political and legal systems are based on the Islamic religion. Sharia / Sharia'a / Shariah law is in place for the most part, and applicable to citizens but sometimes not to expatriate residents.
- Citizens of GCC countries usually share the same or similar dress code - a black abaya for women, a white dishdasha for men. The style might vary amongst individuals and/or countries, and the dishdasha might be a different color, especially in Oman.
- All GCC countries operate as a monarchy of some sort with an autocratic system of leadership. Governments and parliamentary bodies are usually unelected although some GCC nations are introducing a greater degree of democratic government - for example the Council of Representatives (or Chamber of Deputies) in Bahrain, the National Assembly in Kuwait, and the Federal National Council (FNC) in the UAE.
GCC tourist visa
- 26-27 Aug 2013 - news reports said that the GCC was considering a unified tourist visa valid for all GCC member nations. An unknown source was quoted by the Al Rai, a Kuwaiti newspaper, as saying "The plan to have a GCC tourism visa, similar to the Schengen visa in Europe, is about to be implemented after obstacles have been cleared." The source (or another one) also said "... the GCC visa could be issued in mid-2014" which some reports interpreted as more likely than indicated by the quote with headlines similar to "Unified visa for GCC countries by 2014" or "GCC visa expected in mid-2014"
- 26 Aug 2013 - Emirates 24-7 clarified or confused the time-frame for the unified visa, saying The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is headed towards a unified tourist visa as early as 2014
... According to Al-Shobaily, no timeframe has been set for the implementation of this single visa for the region. Referring to Abdullah Al-Shobaily, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Matters at the GCC, who apparently said to Al Hayat, a Saudi newspaper, "The GCC is currently striving to set up a computer system to exchange data in order to facilitate the issuance of a unified tourist visa for the entire region."
- Given the restrictive entry requirements for visiting Saudi Arabia, the largest, and arguably the most influential GCC country, it sounds optimistic to us that a unified GCC tourist visa will become reality for most nationalities as soon as 2014. Perhaps 2024 is a more likely target date for such a scheme. Or a unified visa agreement between some of the GCC countries - for example the UAE, Oman, and possibly Bahrain and Qatar.
- GCC nationals can already travel between GCC countries without needing a passport or visa.
GCC nationals in the UAE - data and statistics for 2009
From report issued by the GCC and Arab Countries Affairs Department at the UAE Ministry of Finance (MOF) (press release 28 August 2010):
- Number of GCC nationals living in rose from 5,608 in 2008 to 7,650 in 2009.
- Government loans granted to GCC nationals to establish industrial projects rose from AED 5.5 million in 2008 to AED 20 million in 2009.
- Number of GCC nationals owning property in the UAE - 22,706 in 2009.
- Number of licenses for professional and commercial activities granted to GCC nationals - 1,884 in 2009.
- Number of commercial GCC banks operating in the UAE - 4 in 2007, 7 in 2008 and 2009
- Number of GCC nationals working in the UAE private sector up from 2,117 in 2008 to 3,080 in 2009
- Number of GCC nationals employed in UAE federal government entities - 605
- Number of GCC nationals employed in local governmental bodies - 1,932
- Number of GCC nationals employed in UAE semi-government sector - 207
- Number of GCC nationals benefiting from insurance protection increased from 2,992 in 2008 to 3,589 in 2009
- Number of GCC students studying in UAE schools rose from 15,476 in 2008 to 16,463 in 2009, of which 12,892 were in public schools and 3,571 in private schools.
- New emir from Jun 2013 - Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, replacing Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani.
Last update Sunday 23-Feb-2014. Page development 4L 5C.