UAE flights: Your visa guide for travelling this summer, Eid Al Adha holiday

Explained: How to avoid application rush due to higher demand



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By A Staff Reporter

Published: Thu 9 Jun 2022, 12:28 PM

Last updated: Thu 9 Jun 2022, 10:19 PM

Less than a month remains for schools in the UAE to close for the summer break. Residents are also likely to get a four-day weekend for Islamic festival Eid Al Adha from Friday, July 8, to Monday, July 11. With the Covid situation stabilising around the world and travel restrictions being eased, residents are looking to take that much-deserved break.

Travel industry executives told Khaleej Times that the demand is strong for travel as this would be the first summer break in three years without most Covid-19 restrictions.

“The world is on the move again after nearly two years of lockdowns and travel restrictions. With many countries opening international borders and easing travel restrictions, travellers across the globe are planning international trips,” said Monaz Billimoria, deputy regional head - UAE & Qatar, VFS Global.

Monaz Billimoria, deputy regional head - UAE & Qatar, VFS Global.
Monaz Billimoria, deputy regional head - UAE & Qatar, VFS Global.

The visa outsourcing and technology services company has shared a quick visa guide for travellers planning their holidays this summer.

What is the demand like for visa applications?

With international borders opening up and Covid restrictions reducing, we have seen a good demand from travellers. The number of visa applications has risen significantly after Q1 2022 and in Q2 & Q3 we expect around 85 per cent of pre-pandemic counts to return.

When must travellers apply for their visa, given the huge demand for appointment slots?

When planning your travel, you always book flights and hotels in advance. Do the same for visas.

Most countries accept visa applications up to 90 days (three months) before your date of travel. According to the revised Schengen Visa Code, effective February 2, 2020, you can apply for a visa up to six months before your date of travel. Particularly this year with higher demand and limited appointment slots available, we urge applicants to apply for their visa as early as possible.

How long does it take to process visas?

Each country has a different timeline for its visa processing, and these are mentioned on VFS Global websites, providing you the information required to apply for your visa well in advance. Be aware that during peak season, visa processing can take longer than anticipated, hence apply early. Each application is unique and thus the processing time may differ for each case.

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What is the appointment allotment process?

Appointment slots are offered online based on volume of demand or forecast, and in conjunction with the embassy’s own internal capacity planning. Once scheduled, we highly recommend being at the centre 15 minutes prior the appointed time to avoid missing your slot. Appointments are free, beware of fraudulent parties selling appointments in exchange of money. We urge applicants not to pay for any appointments being offered.

Can you explain the Emirates ID/passport validity rules?

Check your passport’s and Emirates ID’s validity. Many countries require a valid passport six months beyond your return date.

Do travellers to the UK with stopover in EU member states need Schengen airport transit visa?

Yes, Schengen airport transit visa is mandatory for travellers with a stopover. This requirement has been in place for many years.

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Can VFS Global offer advice and guidance on visa categories and vaccination?

VFS Global is strictly not authorised to provide advice or guidance on visa category or any other visa requirement that the customer may need. VFS Global manages the administrative and non-judgmental aspects of the visa process only, such as visa application submission and biometric enrolment. VFS Global does not comment on vaccine requirements. All travellers are requested to check the destination/transit country guidelines for the same.

Can travellers expedite the process? Does availing any of the value-added services guarantee a faster visa outcome?

The time taken for visa processing differs with each mission. Please check the turnaround timelines before applying. Opting for any optional, value-added services does not guarantee a quicker or more positive decision by the embassy/consulate concerned.

sahim@khaleejtimes.com


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