The Schengen visa regime governs that the inhabitants of the United Arab Emirates, who are residents of one of the countries would encounter prolonged waiting intervals for getting a visa to visit Europe, which could extend between three weeks to three months.
Monaz Billimoria, the Deputy Regional Head at UAE & Qatar, VFS Global, the visa processing consultancy stated that earlier the Visa Application Centre (VAC) saw a clear peaks and troughs when it came to summer and the holiday seasons, but now people are willing to travel throughout the year. Billimoria further stated that there could be some countries that are so fully booked up that applicant could get an appointment for a visa as later as September.
Bring forward appointments
Schengen countries allow you to make an application up to six months in advance, so while in peak season it is always advisable to book appointments well in advance, stated Billimoria.
UK situation adds to delays
Billimoria said that the UK, which is a main market for UAE airlines, is also taking longer to process new visa applications. Earlier, those UAE travellers put off by delays with Schengen visas saw UK trips as the best option. The UK usually has a standard processing timeline of 15 days, but now they take anywhere close to six weeks. She further stated that at VFS Global the team has been constantly working to return to the standard timeline of three weeks.
Nevertheless, travellers flying to the UK are not dealing only with visa appointments as some of the country’s biggest airports are subjected to flight cancellations. Such a situation has prompted London Heathrow, one of the world’s busiest airports to impose controls on flight capacity. Billimoria acknowledged to the fact that these scenarios are not as serious as they are made out to be and that she is not hearing about people changing their itineraries or destinations simply based on these circumstances.
Owing to the restraints on ticket sales, flights from London to Dubai have been operating in full capacity. Most flight choices presented involve numerous stops in destinations such as Tel Aviv and Amman.
Emirates, which initially declined Heathrow’s demand for airlines to make capacity cut off at short notice, later agreed. Emirates has capped additional sales on its flights out of Heathrow until mid-August to support Heathrow in its resource ramp up and is working to modify capacity the airline mentioned in a statement.
Tickets for flights from Dubai to London cost around AED2,000-AED2,500 right now, while the return trip can surpass the AED3,000 total.
In the Asian market, Singapore is the leading destination of interest for numerous UAE residents, with the majority Filipino expats considering travelling back home.
In the UAE, all the travel from the Arab countries is headed to the western destinations such as Europe, Canada, the UK, and Turkey.
Schengen visa categories for short-term visits in Europe
The traveller needs to apply for a Schengen visa if he/she intends to visit one or more European countries of this zone for the following purposes:
- Official stay
- Business purposes
- Visiting family and friends
- Holidays and tourism
- Medical reasons
- Cultural and sports events
- Airport transit and transit for seafarers
- Short-term study and research purposes
Varying on the traveller’s reasons for visiting the Schengen countries and the frequency of his/her visits, the Schengen consulate can issue a single-entry visa, double-entry visa, or multiple-entry visa.
The traveller ought to consider that one cannot continue staying within the Schengen zone for more than 90 days in a 180-day interval even if they hold a multiple-entry visa for Europe valid for up to 5 years.