Planning a European holiday this summer? Expect an unprecedented delay
Thousands of UAE residents and expats seek to travel to cooler climes, especially during summer and spring. However, lately, it’s been a long road from wanting to travel to getting a visa appointment. Contrary to what many people might think, airport rush is not the only reason. Even the embassies and consulates are reeling under the resurgence of travel post-pandemic, leading to endless delays in Schengen Visa Appointments. So, is it too late to plan your international holiday this summer? Will you get your visa in time? Let’s take a closer look!
Reality Check: Schengen Visa for UAE Residents Can Take Months
In the wake of easing travel restrictions following the pandemic, the travel industry is experiencing a ‘revenge travel’ boom. Destinations like Germany, France, Switzerland, and many European countries under the Schengen region are among the preferred travel destinations by UAE expats. No wonder, Schengen visa applications are in high demand in the UAE travel industry.
Consequently, visa appointments for many Schengen countries are either unavailable or applicants are facing long wait times to get a Schengen Visa Appointments. The processing time taken to receive a Schengen Visa can last from three months to six months. Many UAE Residents cannot visit the EU because of the lengthy Schengen visa application process and the lack of appointment slots at the embassy of their travel destination.
Schengen News reports that UAE Residents wishing to travel to Schengen countries may have to wait months for visas to some European countries. “Schengen countries allow you to make an application up to six months in advance, so while you’re in peak season, it’s always advisable to book Schengen Visa Appointments well in advance”, quoted Monaz Billimoria, the Deputy Regional Head at UAE & Qatar, VFS Global.
A Word Of Advice:
Book visa appointments in advance
Schedule appointments for Schengen visa at least THREE MONTHS before travel to avoid disappointment.
Look beyond Europe’s great escapes
Your best bet is to travel to countries that either offer a visa on arrival or do not require a visa to enter the country. Here’s a list of countries that offer visas on arrival.
Check for visa interview slots before booking tickets
While you require confirmed tickets to apply for a Schengen, UK or US visa, it is best to check for available slots and the processing time with your travel agent or on the official website, before you book your tickets and accommodation.
Book an appointment in nearby cities
In cases where you’ve already booked your flights and accommodation, try getting an appointment in the neighbouring cities. There’s a higher chance of getting an appointment due to a larger quota of appointments available.
Avoid making dummy reservations
Ensure that all your flight tickets and accommodation booking is on the official airline or the hotel’s website. If you book using a third-party website, ensure there’s a confirmation number to show that the booking is genuine. Otherwise, your visa could be rejected and off you go to the back of the queue.
About Schengen Visa:
Schengen Visa is a short-stay visa that permits travellers to stay in the Schengen area for up to 90 days. The Schengen area is composed of 26 European countries that have agreed to abolish border controls between one another. Once you have a Schengen visa, you can travel freely within this area without additional paperwork or restrictions.
The 26 Schengen countries are Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.