In 2010, Michael Karam had written an article for Abu Dhabi’s The National about the Lebanese love affair with foreign passports. He goes to mention the “nationality hierarchy” in that, for Lebanese, certain passports are above others (in his anecdote, a British or French passport trumps a Canadian or Australian one).
However, after reading the latest news that the Lebanese Ministry of Tourism has allowed any GCC resident to obtain a visa on arrival at Beirut International, it seems Lebanese officials are aware of this “nationality hierarchy” and actively use it:
People with UAE residence visas can obtain tourist visas on arrival in Lebanon for the next three months under new rules issued by the Lebanese ministry of tourism to encourage more visitors to the country.
The tourist visas would cost between Dh130 (US$35) and Dh200 (US$54), depending on nationality, and would be valid for a minimum of 30 days.
Now why would there be a difference in price? Its the same visa. Unless the ink from the stamp drys differently depending on where the passport was produced I really can see no reason for this price differential.
Update – July 15, 2011
According to Gulf News, this is not a blanket visa to all GCC residents:
According to a circular published on the Lebanese General Security Department (GSD) website, entry visas are being granted to those who fall under the categories of businessmen, directors/general managers, employers, physicians, engineers and lawyers who are legal residents of the GCC.
These same ‘categories’ were able to get a visa to Lebanon in three working days from the local embassy for Dh130 (US$35). Less ‘respectable categories’ such as teachers, nurses, administrators, accountants and sales representatives require 45 working days to receive a visa to Lebanon from the consulate because their passport needs to be physically sent to the General Security office in Beirut to decide whether an entry permit will be given.
From the Gulf News report, it seems those GCC residents will not be affected by this new rule.