UAE: No Schengen visa appointments till September as residents rush to book overseas holidays for Eid Al Adha break

Even premium visa services — which residents could opt for by paying Dh400 extra — are no longer available

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SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Fri 2 Jun 2023, 12:55 PM

Last updated: Fri 2 Jun 2023, 12:57 PM

UAE residents who are seeking Schengen visa appointments may have to wait until September due to a sharp spike in demand, say travel agents, who added that they have been getting as many as 700 enquiries every day.

Though visa processing time has been slashed, slots are fully booked, as several UAE residents are now finalising their overseas holidays for the Eid Al Adha break, said Mir Wasim Raja, manager for MICE and holidays at Galadari Brothers International Travel Services.

Another agency confirmed the huge demand and the long wait for appointments.

“We are receiving an overwhelming number of nearly 700 daily enquiries, with over 200 calls and 500 by e-mail, chats, and website enquiries” said Subair Thekepurathvalappil, senior manager for inbound and outbound operations at Regal Tours Worldwide.

Even premium visa services — which residents could opt for by paying Dh400 extra — are no longer available. "People are ready to pay even double the amount just for an appointment, but sadly, it is not in our hands,” said Subair.

Residents of various nationalities are looking to travel to Schengen countries — but most of them earn a salary of Dh5,000 and above.

Many of those who planned ahead were able to get their visas. Most applied at the start of the year, around January to February. Once the visa is issued, a traveller is given a time period of six months to enter the country for which he/she has applied a visa for.

Europe's Schengen area has long been a popular destination for tourists from UAE as it allows them to visit several countries without having to apply for separate visas.

Demand has shot through the roof these days since "summer is approaching, and clubbed with the Eid Al Adha break, residents are eager to travel," said Subair.

“The pent-up desire to travel, the gradual lifting of travel restrictions, reduction in the quota or slots of visas, and the holidays have also created a sense of urgency among the GCC residents,” he added.

Agents have called on residents who got the visa to plan their trips well in advance. “It is important to stay in touch with us for the latest updates and guidance on their travel,” Subair said.


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