UAE holidays: Residents may face Schengen visa delays as travel demand soars ahead of long Eid breaks

Travel agencies are flooded with enquiries as families start planning their overseas trips for the next long weekends

A view of tourist hotspot Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, near the peak of Mount Rigi. — Reuters file
A view of tourist hotspot Lake Lucerne in Switzerland, near the peak of Mount Rigi. — Reuters file

SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 1:38 PM

Last updated: Sat 4 Feb 2023, 3:54 PM

Residents wanting to fly to Schengen countries may have to wait until March for appointments, even though the processing time has decreased. Slots are fully booked, with many UAE residents now finalising their overseas holidays for the upcoming Eid breaks, experts told Khaleej Times.

Multiple long breaks are lined up this year in the UAE, including one that may last for six days. Families are advised to scout for tickets and deals early as airfares usually soar by as much as 150 per cent in the run-up to big holidays.

The travel demand for Schengen countries — which include France, Germany, Italy, Greece, Sweden and Switzerland — has been skyrocketing in recent weeks, agents said. Galadari International Travel Services, for example, said they are receiving nearly 20 enquiries per week.

By the end of last year, the processing time for Schengen visas took up to two months for some countries. “Now, it has dropped and can be completed in just a month or a few days extra,” said Libin Varghese, operational director of Rooh Travel and Tourism.

Though approvals are faster, travellers are finding it difficult to secure appointments.

“In many consulates, the appointment time has been delayed due to many applications. Residents are now planning their trip to Schengen countries for the Eid Al Adha break,” said Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari International Travel Services.

Varghese said it could be easier to get appointment slots for Greece, Netherlands, and the Czech Republic, compared to other countries.

“Appointments for a few countries like Greece and Germany are available in the next 10 days,” added Ranju Abraham, operations head at Tours on Board.

For those who are looking to fast-track the visa procedures, some agencies are offering premium services. "They can opt for the service by paying Dh400 extra,” said Abraham.


The travel agents said all applicants must ensure that they all the visa requirements ready.

Here's a guide to applying for a Schengen Visitor Visa:

>> Fill out the application form

>> Gather all the required documents (see below)

>> Schedule a visa interview

>> Attend the interview

>> Provide biometric data

>> Pay the visa fee

Required documents

>> One should complete the Schengen visitor visa application form online and print two copies

>> Two photographs in accordance with the Schengen visa requirements. They should be no older than 6 months, 35–40mm in width

>> Valid passport: It should have at least two empty pages in order to affix the visa and should have been issued within the last ten years

>> The passport must be valid for three months beyond the intended stay in the Schengen area

>> Clear photocopies of the first and last page of the passport

>> Personal cover letter on the purpose of visiting the EU, the countries you plan to travel to, the dates, where you plan to stay, and other details of your trip

>> No Objection Letter from your employer or education institution

>> Schengen area medical insurance, which covers emergency medical, hospitalisation, and in case of death, repatriation

>> Proof of booked flight tickets without buying them. However, the embassy wants you to purchase a flight reservation in order to prove your intended entry and exit dates. One-way tickets are not accepted.

>> Proof of accommodation for the entire period of stay in the Schengen area

>> Proof of financial status: The traveller must show evidence that he or she possesses sufficient funds for the visit and will be able to financially sustain themselves during the stay in the Schengen territory

>> The traveller should also submit documents to prove their working status.

Please take note that you may have to submit some additional documents depending on the country where you are applying from, and the country you wish to visit.


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