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Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

GCC Countries

Politically, the Arabian Peninsula consists of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. Together, these countries constitute the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Founded on 26 May 1981, the aim of this collective is to promote coordination between member states in all fields in order to achieve unity. In this summary the countries of the GCC will be introduced.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)

UAE is a federation of seven sheikhdoms located in the southeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Bordered by the Sultanate of Oman and the Gulf of Oman to the east, Saudi Arabia to the south and west, and by the Arabian Gulf to the north, the total land area, including 20 islands, is 83,000 sq km (32,278 sq mi). The seven emirates are Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Qaiwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah. The capital and the largest city of the federation, Abu Dhabi, is located in the emirate of the same name.

The estimated population of the UAE was 5.6 million in 2007. Arabic is the official language and Islam is the state religion. The currency is the Arab Emirates Dirham ($1 US is equivalent to around 3.6 dirhams). The UAE has one of the world's highest standards of living and the average life expectancy is 72 years.

The UAE was formerly known as the Trucial States or Trucial Coast. From 1820 onwards, Britain established its presence in the region with the signing of several agreements including a maritime truce, which gave the area its name. In 1968, having maintained its presence in the Gulf for well over a century, Britain declared its intention to withdraw by the end of 1971.

 Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA)

Saudi Arabia is the largest country on the peninsula. Located in the southwestern corner of Asia, Saudi Arabia covers an area of about 2,240,000 square kilometres or 864,900 square miles (estimates vary) of which more than half is desert. The country is bordered by the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba to the west, by the Republic of Yemen and the Sultanate of Oman to the south, the Arabian Gulf, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar to the east, and Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait to the north. The richest oil fields in the world are found in the eastern region. Riyadh, the capital and largest city, is located in the east central region of the country. Jeddah, the second largest city, is the country's main port on the Red Sea. It is also the main port through which pilgrims enter to perform Umrah, Haj, or to visit the holy cities of Mecca and Medina.

Oil is the most important industry in Saudi Arabia . The Kingdom has the world's largest proven reserves and is the largest producer in OPEC, totalling one-third of output. Saudi Arabia has the capacity to produce 10 million barrels per day (bpd).

Facts About Saudi Arabia

Area: 27.163.977 sq km

Population: 29,195,895 (2012)

Capital: Riyadh

Main cities: Riyadh (The capital)
Makkah: (The most sacred place to Muslims, and their praying direction)
Al Madinah: (Second most sacred place)
Jeddah: (Saudi capital of business, an important port, and a major gateway to pilgrims) .
Dammam: (Capital of Eastern region, well-off oil, and an important port) .
Dhahran: (A military city, the location of Saudi Aramco`s headquarter which the largest oil company in the world .
ArAr: (Capital of Northern region)

Overview of Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia is located in the South-west of Asia.
Bounded by the red sea from the west. Jordan, Iraq, and Kuwait from the North. Arabian Gulf, Bahrain, Qatar, and United Emirates from the East. Yemen and Oman from the South.

Climate: Continental weather
Summer: very hot
Winter: cold

Judicial law: The constitution of Saudi Arabia is Quran and Sunnah, all legislative regulations have been derived from these two sources. The regime in Saudi Arabia is a monarchy system.

Language: Arabic

Currency: Saudi Riyal

National day: 23rd, September. (1932 A.D)
Symbol: Two crossed curved swords which symbolize strength and justice. A palm tree on the top symbolizes prosperity.

Timing: GMT + 3:00

Internet code: sa

Phone code: 00966

Calendar: Saudi Arabia follows the Muslims Hijra calendar, which is the day when Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon him) migrated from Makkah to Al Madinah corresponding to 622 A.D . Hijra year has 12 months. However, it's ten or eleven days less than the calendar year.
In the hijra calendar, the month ranges between 29 to 30 days .

Working days: Sunday to Thursday (Regarding to public sector).
Public Sector: 7:30 a.m to 2:30 p.m

Banks: 9:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m

Weekends: Friday - Saturday

Kingdom of Bahrain

An archipelago of thirty-three islands, the largest island, Bahrain (from the Arabic word for "two seas"), is believed to have separated from the Arabian Peninsula around 6000 BC. Located in the Arabian Gulf, the islands are about twenty-four kilometres from the east coast of Saudi Arabia and twenty-eight kilometres from Qatar. The total area of the islands is about 678 square kilometres or 262 square miles (estimates vary). The capital, Manama, is located on the northeastern tip of the
island of Bahrain. The main port, Mina Salman, and the major petroleum refining facilities and commercial centers are also located on the island. Causeways and bridges connect Bahrain to adjacent islands and to the mainland of Saudi Arabia. Al Muharraq, the second largest island, is linked to Bahrain by the oldest causeway, originally constructed in 1929. The country's second largest city, Al Muharraq, and the international airport are located there.

Bahrain is an independent state with a traditional monarchy. On 14 February 2002, a new constitution was published and Bahrain declared itself a kingdom. The ruling family of Bahrain, the Al Khalifa, arrived in the islands in the mid-18th century after they first established a settlement in the peninsula of present-day Qatar. Sheikh Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa is the King, and has ruled Bahrain since 6 March 1999. Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa is the prime minister.


Kuwait is located in the northeastern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Bordered by Iraq on the north, northwest and by Saudi Arabia on the south, southwest, it fronts the Arabian Gulf to the east. A small state of 17,818 square kilometres (6,880 square miles), Kuwait includes nine gulf islands within its territory. In addition to being the country's capital and centre for trade and commerce, Kuwait City is an important port for oil and the production of petroleum products. A prominent geographic feature is Kuwait Bay, which extends for 48 kilometres (30 miles) inland.

Kuwait is a constitutional monarchy governed by the Al Sabah family, the ruling family since 1756. The constitution, which was approved on 11 November 1962, authorizes the Al Sabah family council to select the Emir, traditionally from the Al Sabah line. Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah is the current Emir of Kuwait.

State of Qatar

 Qatar occupies a peninsula, which extends northward for about 180 kilometres (100 miles) into the Arabian Gulf from the Arabian Peninsula. The country is bordered to the south by Saudi Arabia for a stretch of 56 kilometres or 35 miles. The total area of Qatar is 11,437 square kilometres or 4,260 square miles. Doha, the capital city, is located on the east coast.

A traditional monarchy, the State of Qatar is ruled by the Al Thani family. The Al Thani family arrived in Qatar in the early part of the 18th century, originally settling in the northern region of the country, and moving to Doha in the mid-19th century. Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani has been Emir since early 1995. Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifah Al Thani is the prime minister. In 1999 the country's first elections were held, to elect a 29-member municipal council. Women were allowed to vote and stand for office in this election.

The State of Qatar produces less than 1% of the world's oil output. Crude oil and liquefied natural gas account for about 80% of the country's exports. The banking sector also plays an important role in Qatar's economy.

 Sultanate of Oman

Occupying the southeastern coast of the Arabian Peninsula, the Sultanate of Oman covers an area of about 212,457 square kilometres (82,030 square miles); however, estimates do vary considerably. Oman proper is bordered by Yemen to the southwest, Saudi Arabia to the west, the United Arab Emirates to the northwest, the Gulf of Oman to the north, and by the Arabian Sea to the east and south. Muscat, the capital of Oman since 1741, is located on the Gulf of Oman coast. The country was known as Muscat and Oman until 1970.

Oman is a monarchy. The ruling family, the Al Said, first came to rule in 1744 after the expulsion of the Iranians from Muscat. Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said has ruled since 1970. The sultan also holds the posts of prime minister, minister of defence, minister of foreign affairs, and minister of finance. There is a Council of State for consultation purposes.

Oman's principal natural resources are petroleum and natural gas. The proved petroleum reserves (4 billion barrels) are not substantial, and the government is aiming to transform Oman into a major natural gas exporter. Manufacturing is growing in importance. Major products include textiles, cement blocks, furniture, fertilizers, and fibreglass products.
Related Pages
About UAE & Dubai
Family Visa Procedures in Saudi Arabia
Maid Visa Procedures in Saudi Arabia
Police Clearance Certificate-Dubai
Police Clearance Certificate-Qatar

Visa on arrival in Qatar
Visa on arrival in Dubai
Visa on Arrival in India


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