UAE: foreigners enjoy faster Schengen visa processing times

by Catherine Carey | January 10, 2024
European Union flag

Foreigners who reside in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are able now to experience faster Schengen visa processing times and lower airfares. These UAE residents can wave goodbye to lengthy visa application processes of up to two months, and welcome shorter waiting periods of around two weeks. European embassies in the UAE have streamlined the Schengen visa application process by offering booking slots.

Although individuals holding passports from the United Arab Emirates are not obligated to get visas, this waiver does not apply to non-citizens living in the country. Foreign residents in the UAE are obligated to request visas to visit Schengen countries. 

In addition to this measure, there is another positive forecast for this year. Given that Europe is one of the most beloved tourist destinations for UAE citizens and residents, there is increased competition among airlines. This competition has resulted in decreased airfares. For example, flights to major European cities now cost below USD 301.70 or €276 (AED 1,108).

Destinations like Spain, Switzerland, Italy, France and Germany are the main destinations for UAE travelers and have the most travel demand.

Despite the improved visa processing times, it is strongly advised to book their Schengen visa processing appointments well in advance to avoid potential delays.

These new measures are aimed at enhancing travel opportunities to Europe. The forecasts are promising, as during the recent winter travel season, there has been a surge in UAE and GCC residents traveling to Europe, according to Gulf News. In the last year alone, travel demand to Europe increased by 40-50%, surpassing even the levels seen in 2019. Additionally, there was a 12% rise in visa applications in 2023 compared to 2019, as reported by the Regional Head at VFS Global.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain

What is the Schengen Visa? 

The Schengen visa is a travel and entry permit for short-term visits to some European countries.The schengen area includes 23 of the 27 EU member countries, along with associated neighbors Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein.

The countries that you can travel to with the Schengen visa are: 

  • Germany
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Norway
  • The Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Czech Republic
  • Slovakia
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland