UAE: Top reasons why residents’ Schengen, US visas get rejected

Top VFS official reveals best time to apply for the visas and how to ensure your application is processed successfully


Waheed Abbas

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Published: Sun 17 Sep 2023, 10:04 AM

Last updated: Sun 17 Sep 2023, 10:23 PM

Outbound travel from UAE is exceptionally strong as a large number of citizens and expatriates travel around the world for the world.

While Emiratis have one of the world’s most powerful passports which grants them visa-free access to several countries, expatriates usually require visas. They can apply for these through the outsourcing and technology services firm VFS Global.

In an exclusive interview with Khaleej Times, a top official of VFS Global revealed that the visas are rejected due to mistakes applicants make while submitting their visa applications, as well as problems with the bank statements.

US visa rejection rates in 2022

Monaco: 0 per cent

Hong Kong: 5 per cent

India: 7 per cent

UAE: 10 per cent

Singapore: 10 per cent

Philippines: 12 per cent

Saudi Arabia: 14 per cent

UK: 16 per cent

Norway: 17 per cent

Pakistan: 31 per cent

Afghanistan: 53 per cent

Source: World of Statistics

Common mistakes

According to the World of Statistics, the US visa rejection rate was around 10 per cent in 2022 in the UAE, which is less than rejection rate in most of the developed countries.

Monaz Billimoria, regional head, VFS Global, says document checklists for each category of visa for the relevant countries are available on the company’s website as well as the websites of the respective embassies and consulates. Applicants must go through these in detail and have all the necessary paperwork ready for the application.

“Incorrect details in the visa application form, such as name (as on passport), passport number and date of birth are other common errors. This includes sponsor details, where applicable, which are crucial to the visa decision,” said Billimoria.

She adds, “Select countries require applicants to submit their bank statements, duly attested. While it is common to submit bank statements, and most applicants are aware of this step, not having these bank statements attested is another common error.”

Apply up to 6 months prior to travel

Every embassy or consulate has a different turnaround time for processing a visa application, which in turn varies depending on the peak/lean travel seasons.

“We often see travellers leaving their visa applications to the last minute/too close to the travel date. We urge all applicants to apply well in advance, especially ahead of holiday seasons, to ensure there is no delay in getting the visa,” said Billimoria.

Applicants should visit the VFS Global website to find out the documents checklist carefully to ensure they have all the necessary paperwork.

“Book an appointment online for free on the VFS Global website and do not fall for third-party entities posing as VFS Global partners who offer early appointments for a fee. Apply for your visa well in advance; most countries accept applications 3-6 months ahead of the intended date of travel,” advised the VFS Global’s regional head.

CSR initiatives

As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and to drive sustainable development programmes that have a long-term positive impact aligned with local government priorities, VFS Global has identified three focus areas to support local communities – education, environment and empathy.

“We deliver on these priorities through community investment and employee volunteering… We work with partners/organisations that believe in inclusivity and do not favour any beneficiary groups based on religion, race or ethnicity. Partners are onboarded through a thorough due diligence process that involves screening the organisation's information, certifications and documents, including financial reports,” she said, adding that all charitable contributions are also cleared by the anti-bribery and corruption aspect.

VFS Global has partnered with 70 governments and operating a global network with more than 3,300 application centres in 147 countries.


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