Pan-Arabism has been an intriguing topic in the MENA: Middle East and North Africa for decades, with various leaders like Saddam, Gadhafi putting concerted efforts to champion the cause.
However, despite the slogan of Arab unity and Arab cause, the reality has always been a little less attractive than the rhetoric. From regional conflicts to domestic policies, economic and trade issues and political snubs Arab countries definitely don’t always stand united allowing others to jump into their issues for settlement.
With the escalating refugee crisis in the aftermath of Syrian civil war, many regional countries have shown their support either through aid and approval of special grants or by hosting refugees within their borders. But, just how open are Arab countries to each other is a tough one to answer?
How freely can Arabs travel from their land to a next door neighbor or any other Arab country in the region is a good question to ask. Here’s a look at the visa policing of the Arab nations rated from most to least welcoming. The countries are ranked on the basis of number of Arab nations whose people they allow to enter either visa free or with a visa on arrival.
Note: Arab League is a summit of 22 countries, however, as Palestine does not have control over its borders, hence not included in the rating.
1) Comoros, Mauritania and Somalia
These three countries topping the list actually allow anyone from any part of the world with a passport to get entry with a visa on arrival. Granting all 21 Arab states free entry. However, Somalia is the only one that demands a letter from a sponsor within the country for the visa to be issued.
Djibouti grants rights to 19 Arab countries to have a free entry on Visa with the exception of Syria and Yemen mainly because of the refugee crisis and security issues as both are bothered with civil war.
Nationals of 18 Arab countries can enter Lebanon without a visa or with a visa on arrival. However, extra conditions may apply for the people of some of the countries such as revealing hotel reservations and showing a certain amount of cash before the visa upon arrival is granted. These conditions can be met without having to contact a Lebanese embassy or consulate before travelling.
Amman allows citizens of 12 nations to enter freely.
5) Tunisia and Yemen
Tunisia and Yemen allow a citizenry of 11 Middle East nations.
Authorities in Damascus grant visa free or visa upon arrival entry to a number eight (8) countries.
The North-African nation at #7 grants seven (7) Arab nations free visa access.
8) Egypt and Oman
Egypt and Oman dipping the bottom half offers 6 countries the ease on immigration.
9) Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan and UAE
Gulf Cooperation Council countries Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the UAE only permit people of 5 (five) GCC nations the facility to roam without visa. Sudan happens to tie with the other five, however it only gives free access the people having citizenship of Egypt, Yemen, Qatar, Syria and UAE.
Algeria cornering the Europe and lying in the North Arica lets in the residents of 4 Arab countries.
11) Iraq and Libya
Iraq and Libya are at the bottom with least welcoming regulations as each grant free visa to only two (2) countries. Iraq Permits the nationals of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia the visas upon arrival at specific entry points. Visa protocols differ for the Kurdish region and are more relax overall. While Libya only favors Tunisians and Jordanians to enter their land.