UAE tourists look for alternative summer travel destinations as Schengen visa appointments take 6 months - GulfToday

UAE tourists look for alternative summer travel destinations as Schengen visa appointments take 6 months


Residents apply for Schengen visa at the VFS office in Dubai.

Gulf Today, Staff Reporter

With the summer vacation approaching, residents of the UAE tend to travel abroad for tourism and leisure purposes. Europe is one of the most popular destinations for summer travel, and with the increased demand for visa applications, some people struggle to book appointments provided by consulates, embassies, or visa application centers.

Residents said that requests for an appointment to obtain a Schengen visa reached 3 to 6 months for some European countries.

Residents said that the appointments only cover the entire summer vacation period, making it difficult to travel.

Residents also said that they are looking at other travel options to countries that receive UAE residents without a prior visa.

Tourism and travel agencies confirmed that the appointment dates for Schengen visas for some countries are difficult, due to the large amount of travel document processing, and therefore some may choose summer tourist destinations that provide a visa upon arrival.

Atul Marwa, Chief Operating Officer for the Middle East and North Africa at VFS Global, said: “From Dubai and Abu Dhabi centres, we witnessed an increase in visa applications, and the traditional peak seasons extended beyond the summer and winter months, as a result of the high demand for travel.” After a long interruption and easing of policies related to the spread of Covid-19, and the reopening of international borders.

Marwa added, in statements to Gulf Today, “Europe has always been a popular destination for travellers, especially due to its geographical proximity to the UAE, which has led to a high demand for travel to it, especially during the summer months.

Travel to the countries of the world, including the countries of the Schengen agreement, witnessed an unprecedented rise in the post-pandemic stage, which led to a higher volume of visa applications than ever before.

VFS Global is cooperating closely with the relevant embassies and consulates to meet the growing demand.

He continued: We continue to urge applicants to apply for their visas early, as the Schengen countries accept applications up to 6 months before the date of travel.

He said that the dates and timetables for processing applications and decisions related to them are the prerogative of the concerned embassies and consulates.

VFS Global only manages the administrative side of the visa application process. All dates are reflected when available on our website.

He added, “We ask all travelers to regularly check our website for availability and plan their trips accordingly. Timetables for processing visa applications can be found on our website or on the website of the relevant country.

He said, “Requests for international travel, including to Schengen countries, have witnessed an unprecedented turnout, which has led to an ever-higher volume of requests.

This created unprecedented pressure on the order schedules. The main element to avoid obstacles remains in applying in advance, as we are keen to book flights, hotels and tourist attractions in advance, to avoid delays and obstacles that we may face at the last minute.


He stressed the need to plan in advance and submit the application as soon as possible to avoid any inconvenience, check the visa requirements for the destination country on the “VFS Global” website, which provides information about visa applications and processing schedules, and book an appointment for a visa application via the “VFS” website.

The VFS also warned, “Beware of fraudulent third parties claiming to provide priority/expedited appointment booking services for additional fees.

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